If you’re off on a road trip to Ceres or beyond, then do yourself a favour and stop in at Waverley Hills Wine and Olive Estate for lunch on the way. Located a rather scenic 90 minute drive from Cape Town, off the R46 near Wolseley, between Tulbagh and Ceres, Waverley Hills is the ideal place to stretch your legs and escape the winter chill. It’s one of those special spots you’re most likely to discover when on a road trip but the beautiful estate also serves as one very good reason to spend a weekend in the Tulbagh wine region. In addition to a delicious range of wines and olive products, Waverley Hills boasts a rather impressive casual dining restaurant. Thanks to his adventurous take on traditional South African food, Chef Francois du Toit has turned the restaurant into a popular destination restaurant for foodies and wine lovers alike and there’s no doubt that his new winter menu, which offers comfort food at its best, is going to draw in the crowds.
In winter a crackling fire and the smells of the on-site bakery will draw you into the restaurant and beg you to stay a while (an easy task once you try a few of their delicious red wines) while in summer the wrap-around balcony, with striking views of the valley, and plenty of summer-ready whites wines will provide a welcome escape from the sweltering heat. No matter when you visit, you’ll love the easy going, homely vibe created by the minimalist decor, completed by tables and chairs made from old wine barrels and reclaimed wood. Of course, depending on what season you visit in, the menu will be slightly different. Chef and his team are constantly changing and updating the dishes on offer according to ingredients available in season, giving you plenty of reasons to come back again and again.
This winter Chef Francois du Toit invites visitors in for a traditional “bord kos” inspired menu infused with plenty of country-style hospitality. The menu is packed with comfort foods that will delight your taste buds on a cold winter’s day. On the menu, hungry customers can expect to find a wide selection of pizzas as well as delights like Spicy Butternut “Kluitjies” (served with a Thyme Butterscotch sauce – R48), homemade Chicken Porcini Pie (served with truffle cream, butternut puffs, and green beans – R120) and 12-Hour Slow Cooked Oxtail Tomato Bredie (served with Basil Jasmine Rice – R155). From the kids to meat lovers, seafood fanatics, and fussy eaters, there’s something for everyone on this menu.
Waverley Hills is well known for their handmade pizzas and once you to try them you’ll understand why. The Peking Duck Pizza (with cucumber noodles, Hoisin dressing, and a coriander base – R145) is an Asian-inspired taste sensation that won’t disappoint on a cold day. I loved the flavour combination of the Hoisin dressing with the duck and the thin crust, coriander base gave it a rather refreshing flavour twist. As for the rest of the menu, my favourite so far is definitely the Oxtail Tomato Bredie. Growing up, Tomato Bredie was a regular dish on our family dinner table during the winter months and while we were never lucky enough to be treated to an Oxtail version at home (you’ve got to cut costs when feeding 4 kids!) Chef Francois du Toit’s luxuriously delicious take on this traditional staple took me right back to my childhood and the joy of winter evenings spent huddled up with a warm bowl of my mom’s tomato bredie, a blanket, and a good book.
We all like a delicious main course but I’d like to head back to the starters for a moment because if there’s one thing you simply must order when you visit it’s the Pampoenkoekies (or Butternut “Kluitjies”) starter. These spicy little delights served with a sweet Butterscotch sauce are what winter dreams are made of. Heck, if they’d left me in front of the fireplace with a bowl of these fritters, and a jug of sauce while everyone else had lunch I would have been as happy as a clam. Pumpkin and Butternut fritters were also a firm favourite in our house growing up and eating these made me feel like a kid again.
Once you’ve pigged out, don’t forget to leave space for dessert. The menu offers treats like homemade ice creams in all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours, Dutch Apple Cake, and Banana and Peanut Butter Bread and Butter Pudding. The winter menu also offers suggested wine pairings with each main course dish and I’d highly recommend you try one of their wines with your meal – the EcoCert certified organic wines offer lower-sulphate varietals with 50% less sulphur added, than to conventional wines making them softer and less tannic. Waverley Hills also produces a “No Added Sulphite” Cabernet Sauvignon that is a foodie’s dream come true.
The Waverley Hills’ restaurant is open six days a week for breakfast and lunch, as well as twice a week for dinners on Wednesdays and Fridays. For more information visit the Waverley Hills website or say Hi to Waverley Hills on Facebook.
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After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.