Dave and I arrived at The Restaurant At Gabriëlskloof in Bot River, earlier than our 1pm booking and we were warmly greeted by Mariaan who was expecting us, as Leanne from Random Hat Communications had facilitated our booking. I watched her greet each person that entered with the same warmth and enthusiasm, and I must say that the smile did not leave her face for the entire time we were there. Dave and I walked around the Deli, which Mariaan runs and stocks and at the end of the meal I bought some Gabriëlskloof olive oil to take home with me.
I am more observant of what is happening around me when we eat out at a restaurant when the owners know we are coming in to do a review.
After being shown to our table, Bradley (our waiter) brought us menus and told us that Frans wanted us to please make ourselves at home and order anything we wanted. Bradley’s service was impeccable and he spoke about menu items with true passion, making recommendations as to what we should try. I could hear his banter throughout the restaurant and service overall from everyone who dealt with us, was a pleasure.
The restaurant serves breakfast until 11h30 and has two of my favourites on the menu – grilled kippers and eggs Benedict. The menu is seasonal and small, which I really like. With just 6 starters and 6 main courses to choose from, there should be something to suit your palate, and freshness is guaranteed. One of the main courses is the plate of the day – rolled pork belly when we went – and is priced SQ. The average price of the main courses is R121 and includes fish and a vegetarian option. Most notable, vegetables come standard with main courses and Dave and I were served a plate between us of lightly pickled beetroot, carrots and kale. You may add a sauce to your steak for R20. Out of the 7 desserts, including ice cream at R20 a scoop, I really wanted to try the souskluitjies (R55) but after our main course there was no space! We have told Frans we will stop for that part of our meal when next we return from Sedgefield after seeing Dave’s mum. For the not so hungry there is a deli menu, and the hamburgers we saw coming out of the kitchen looked amazing.
Wines are sold at cellar door price with an addition of R15 per bottle. We chose The Blend (R100), a Bordeaux style wine with hints of cinnamon on the nose and dried peach on the finish. As soon as Bradley had brought the wine, we were served a choice of bread – I had the vetkoek which was not oily at all, and Dave had the whole wheat bread. For those of my readers who are not familiar with vetkoek, they are deep fried bread balls. They were served with a choice of two homemade butters – herb and sun dried tomato. The sun dried tomato did not overpower the butter which is a plus point in Dave’s opinion. I loved the herb butter and had we wanted, more bread would have been brought to the table.
Our amuse bouche was a thick, silky potato and artichoke soup that was garnished with truffle oil and deep fried proscuitto. You could smell the oil as soon as the bowl was set down, and the soup made a great start to a winters day meal, together with the fire burning in the fireplace.
Dave started with the bone marrow and oxtail combination (R60) which was succulent with a rich beef smell. I had the Patagonian calamari (R50) which came with an egg yolk rich aiolli which was lightly curried. It was the taste of this aiolli that led to my purchase of the olive oil, as Frans uses this in his kitchen. The calamari was divine and the lemon zest was the perfect addition to the dish.
For mains, Dave chose the slow roasted Overberg lamb (R130) which looked like a shank, served off the bone, and it was moist and delicious. My main course was the free range duck “au vin” (R130) which was so soft, and had a deep red wine flavour. It was served with dauphinoise potatoes which were exquisite. Both the main courses were very generous, and served with vegetables, over and above the side dish.
To end the meal, Frans came over to chat and brought with him his signature Irish coffee. It was a single espresso sized coffee, served in a tall liqueur glass with a hint of alcohol and a dash of cream. That and the amazing chat we had with Frans and Mariaan was the perfect way to complete our visit. We left 4 hours later with happy hearts, a full belly and a new place to visit again.
Contact them on: +27 28 284 9865
Disclosure: The review of this restaurant was facilitated by Leanne of Random Hat Communications. The meal was on the house and for this we thank Frans and Mariaan. This post is in line with my blogging policy.
On the 30th of August, Dave and I went with Eric and Bev for lunch. We skipped starters so that we could enjoy dessert. This time we had the Shiraz to drink. The amuse bouche was a spring roll and for my main course I had the lamb rump which was the plate of the day. I had the souskluitjies for dessert and they were soft and sweet and a great way to end our meal. Frans kindly did not charge us for desserts, and we had another round of his signature mini Irish coffees on the house. Service again was brilliant and we are looking forward to a return visit.
What I blogged August 26:
- three years ago – Interview With Bruce Palling
- four years ago – Roast Vegetables
- five years ago – Kabeljou with Caper Lemon Butter Sauce