Review: The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal Keeps it Fresh with Farm-to-Fork Menu

Boschendal The Werf

Since it was first founded in 1685, Boschendal Farm in the Stellenbosch winelands has become world-famous for its food, wine, farm produce and generous country hospitality. Today, after a decade of rejuvenation, reinvention and refinement, this iconic Cape farm has evolved into a landmark winelands destination offering a variety of food, wine and outdoor experiences with sustainability at its heart.

While Boschendal Farm has evolved into one of the leading hospitality spots in the Western Cape winelands, it takes pride in celebrating its three centuries of history as a humble working farm. Across the bustling farm, you’ll find the agricultural heritage of the estate woven into every aspect of the guest experience. A working farm, Boschendal boasts an abundant food garden, bountiful fruit orchards, as well as free-range chickens, forest-reared Duroc pork, and pasture-reared Angus Beef.

Boschendal
Boschendal. Credit: Claire Gunn

From farm to fork

It is this open-air pantry that provides fresh produce for Boschendal’s two restaurants — The Werf restaurant and The Deli — as well as the Farm Shop & Butchery at Boschendal. Most of the ingredients you find on your plate at both restaurants are sourced by Executive Chef Allistair Lawrence and his culinary team from Boschendal itself. The menus are greatly informed by the seasons, and the result is a collaboration with nature on every plate.

While The Deli offers hungry visitors a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, The Werf is where guests go for a more refined, and trendy dining experience. The Deli restaurant is famous for its farm breakfasts and generous bistro-style plates, but, guests who enjoy the finer things in life will no doubt gravitate towards the more contemporary small-plate dining experience at The Werf.

Boschendal Farm Shop

I recently visited Boschendal, as part of a group of media, to enjoy lunch at The Werf Restaurant and absolutely loved the experience. It was my first time visiting Boschendal, and it certainly won’t be my last. There is so much to do and see at the farm that I felt like I had just scratched the surface of this gem in the winelands.

Exploring the menu

Situated in the beautifully revamped original cellar of the Manor House, The Werf Restaurant offers guests soil-to-fork dining using the best available local, seasonal and ethically sourced ingredients. The Werf’s sharing plate menu changes regularly and offers a first and second flight, with meat, plant-based, and seafood options served with side salads and vegetables. Guests can opt for two plates at R260 (choose one per flight set) or four plates at R480 (choose two per set).

I decided on the two-plate option for lunch and chose the Smoked Potato & Garlic Soup to start and the Braaied Angus Steak for mains. The first flight was served with garden lettuce, herb dressing, and shaved Parmesan salad and the second flight was paired with crispy fried potatoes. We also shared a few of the pre-meal snacks and bites from the wine tasting menu before the main event.

Boschendal The Werf

This included the farm baked bread plate (with vegetable spread, farm butter, and garlic emulsion, R40), local olives (R40), Werf Butchery Charcuterie Plate (with pickles and crostini, R130), Local Cheese Plate (with onion marmalade and crostini, R140). It was a great way to start the meal and prepare our stomachs for the feast to come.

A taste of The Werf restaurant

The Smoked Potato & Garlic Soup with charred leeks, chimichurri, and sautéed baby marrow was simply divine. Rich, thick and bursting with flavour, this soup had a lovely freshness and herbaceous flavour, thanks to the chimichurri, and was the perfect winter treat. The soup was served hot and was just the right portion size for a light lunch.

Boschendal The Werf

Of course, the real star of the show for me was the Braaied Angus Steak with charred beets, caramelised baby onions, and foraged garden herbs. The steak was cooked to perfection and the sweetness of the caramelised baby onions paired with the sweet/savoury depth of flavour from the charred beets made this dish a true taste sensation. Coupled with the perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fried potatoes, the second flight was a home run of note.

For afters, I decided on the Dark Chocolate Sponge with orange and rosemary salad served with an orange ice cream (R60). I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts, so this sweet and sour flavour bomb was right up my alley. A classic combination, the dark chocolate flavours in the sponge paired beautifully with the zesty orange in the salad and orange ice cream. A biscuit crumble added a nice crunchy texture to the dish, while dark chocolate mousse brought a delightful added bitterness to further complement the zest of the orange.

Boschendal The Werf

Sip, sip hooray

In between bites, I also found the time to enjoy a few sips of Boschendal’s legendary wines. Guests are invited to indulge in various wine tasting options at The Werf but rather than confuse my palate too much, I opted to stick to the Boschendal Brut Rose NV MCC (R180 per bottle) for most of my meal. Lovingly crafted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinotage, this fresh and subtly sweet bubbly offers hints of strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavours on the palate. It’s brilliant when paired with cheese or even a creamy sweet indulgence.

If you’re looking for a stand-out farm lunch experience, you can’t go wrong with The Werf at Boschendal. The food is outstanding, and the setting is to die for, with most tables offer sweeping views of the food garden below. If the weather is good, then do yourself a favour and book a seat on the sun-soaked terrace overlooking the garden. It’s a great spot to while away the hours with friends and family and enjoy a taste of the good life.

See Also
Prawn Bisque

Boschendal The Werf

More to discover at Boschendal

For visitors looking to take home a taste of Boschendal, a visit to the Farm Shop & Butchery located at The Deli is a must. I popped into the shop on my way out and was blown away. Boschendal has taken the idea of a classic farm stall and elevated it to new heights with this divine space. The shelves and fridges of Boschendal’s Farm Shop & Butchery are piled high with fresh vegetables from the food garden, farm salads, handcrafted estate products and artisan breads baked on-site each day.

If you’re not careful you’ll easily blow your budget shopping up a storm at this boutique grocery haven. Even better news? The prices are super competitive. I eyed a few of the meat and vegetable prices to compare to my local supermarket, and they’re not very far off what you would be paying at the big-name grocery shops — which is amazing, considering the quality of the produce you’re getting from Boschendal’s Farm Shop.

Boschendal Farm Shop

Even better news? To help locals tap into the rich array of produce, crafts and gifts available at the Farm Shop, Boschendal has launched an online shopping experience! This new online presence allows lovers of fine food and décor to seamlessly access the array of produce and products grown, crafted, and created on the estate and in the surrounding winelands whenever the mood strikes.

Whether you’re craving homemade jams from farm-fresh fruit, or the flaky pasteis de nata from the farm’s bakery, the online portal puts some of the Cape’s finest fresh produce a few clicks away. Alongside the delicious produce and farm-to-fork food items, visitors can also shop a beautiful collection of bespoke homeware, crockery and cookbooks.

The online shopping service is only available in Cape Town for the moment but the powers that be at Boschendal are looking at ways to create a national footprint for the online shop so keep your eyes peeled!

Click here to shop online with the Boschendal Farm Shop & Butchery now.

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