Happiness is lunch at De Grendel

Visiting the Winelands doesn’t have to mean a (fairly long) drive to Stellenbosch, Paarl or Franschhoek. We also love the Durbanville area and fabulous wine estate, De Grendel, a mere 20-minute drive from the centre of Cape Town.

De Grendel’s restaurant (it opened in 2012) nestles on top of Tygerberg Hill with sweeping views over Table Mountain, the City of Cape Town and the seaboard.

A fabulous view of Cape Town and the ocean
The fabulous view across Cape Town

The farm dates back to 1720 and has been in the Graaff family for five generations. Yet another wine dynasty! We’ve visited several times in the last year and have always come away happy. Today we booked for a post-golf lunch (after a round at nearby Durbanville), and invited friends who had never visited De Grendel before. No pressure then!

The fabulously elegant, light-filled restaurant is decorated in blues and whites and has wrap around views of the nearby city as well as great kitchen views, where you can stick your nose in and watch chef Ian Bergh produce his dishes of deliciousnes.

┬áStarter of the year? Here I go again, I can’t tell you how many amazing starters I’ve been lucky enough to sample this year. This time it was this beautiful plate of beef biltong, spring onion salad, smoked goat’s cheese, and gorgonzola mayo. Gorgonzola mayo! Say no more! A truly wonderful dish and one that I’ve decided I need to come up with my own version of for the Cook with Biltong Club. Watch this space.
Ingeniously delicious starter with biltong
Ingeniously delicious starter with biltong

The duck breast was served with baby leaf, apple, red onion, litchi, honey and mustard on a vibrant blue plate.

Tender duck breast with a cornucopia of flavours

And then the dilemma of mains! I used to be a huge fan of pork belly but recently have had several dishes in restaurants that simply have not been up to much. So much so that I developed a new mantra “Don’t order the pork belly”. Our lovely waitress did wax lyrical about today’s pork belly choice, but I had my doubts. Clive (who, luckily, was sitting next to me) didn’t and ordered what turned out to be a plate of spectacular tastes and textures. There was pork belly and fillet, figs, broccolini, cranberry, chorizo, cabbage and rooibos apple as well as the crunchiest of crackling. A heavenly dish.

pork belly
The most amazingly conceived of pork dish

Although I did feel strong pork-belly-envy, I have to say my main was also wonderful. The linefish today was kingklip, my absolute favourite and it was served with smoked mackerel samosas, black eyed beans, fine beans, pineapple caviar and a deliciously light curry-style sauce. A very clever combo taking a mix of Indian flavours but making sure nothing overpowered the wonderful sweetness of the kingklip. And it all looks so pretty, too.

A fabulous fish dish with a clever curry twist

And then for the steak. Candy ordered the beef fillet with broccolini, pearl onions, potato and a white peppercorn sauce. Perfectly cooked, tender and flavoursome fillet complemented by the most amazing of sauces.

Flavoursome fillet with a delightful white peppercorn sauce

Good news, dessert lovers. Today our table went sweet. I think I’ve been remiss in not ordering a pud every time I go out, even if it’s just so I can share with you all. Will have to try harder. These pictures are so lovely…and the dishes tasted even better.

The cinnamon cheesecake was served with grapefruit, orange and almond crumble.

Melt-in-the-mouth cinnamon cheesecake

This dessert is called Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and it involves, well, a lot of chocolate. The Rocky Road (a kind of crunchy mix of icecream, nuts and marshmallow) was a revelation to me.

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

And how’s this for a masterpiece of a plate? The baked farm yogurt came with fresh berries (including gooseberries, which I love), meringue, biscotti and pistachio. Yum!

Heavenly baked yogurt with a plateful of tasty morsels

I can’t talk about lunch at De Grendel without mentioning De Grendel Rose. Our favourite of roses, it costs R50 a bottle in the restaurant. So fabulous to have such great food and drink that’s also such great value. We’ll be back, and this time I may well be back to the pork belly!

De Grendel is off the Plattekloof Road, which is off the NI from Cape Town heading towards Paarl.

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