Be it a desire this season to hide away for a while, enjoy an exceptional culinary experience, savour a fine wine, or stir up a rockstar cocktail, we present to you a silver tray laden with haute summer hedonism!
BASALT RESTAURANT (Melrose, Johannesburg)
Basalt by Chef James Diack is an intimate fine-dining restaurant located at the boutique Peech Hotel (see elsewhere in this post). Here, you’ll enjoy true ‘farm-to-fork’ culinary philosophy where provenance from chef James’ kitchen is harvested from his family’s farm Brightside in the Magaliesburg.
Dinner only: Wednesday to Saturday
BELLY OF THE BEAST (Cape Town City Centre)
One of Cape Town’s most popular culinary experiences. With only 30 seats, chefs Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart offer a tasting menu that is often updated. As the restaurant’s name suggests, here every part of the ‘beast’ is used to create adventurous and very moreish dishes.
Lunch served at 12h30, Tuesday to Saturday: R650 per person
Dinner served at 18h45, Monday to Saturday: R850 per person
BOSJES (Breede Valley)
This is a Cape farm visit at its finest, and also off the standard Winelands beaten track. Be it a staycation at the refurbished Herehuis accommodation or a day’s road trip well spent, BOSJES makes for an ideal exploration. There are two restaurant options: The Kombuis (‘kitchen’) with its signature exterior mural offers country lunches; while The Spens (‘pantry’) offers all light meals that are great for young families who want a rest-stop in between exploring the 2-hectare gardens.
The Kombuis: Lunch from 11h30 to 15h30 (advance bookings essential via email@example.com)
The Spens: Wednesday to Sunday from 08h30 to 16h00 (last orders taken at 15h00)
Season’s need-to-know: Pop into the farm’s Winkel (‘shop’) for some clever and carefully considered gift ideas including baked-daily Christmas cakes laden with cherries and currants and topped with nuts. The farm is open to the public every day during the festive season except 25 December when it will be closed to day visitors.
CARNE (Cape Town City Centre and Gardens)
Cape Town’s very own Italian maestro of premium meat cuts, Chef Giorgio Nava, owns and personally manages two CARNE restaurants and a vendor eatery at the V&A Waterfront. The original, CARNE on Keerom, is a seductive subterranean space set within a 17th-century building in the heart of the old city. Here, you’ll enjoy fine dining with a sprig of Milanese flair. Expect sumptuous cuts, beautiful house-made pastas and a cellar of fine local and Italian estate wines. CARNE on Kloof is your friendly neighbourhood eatery situated on vibey Kloof Street in Gardens. The menu is similar to the Keerom shop, but the ambience is more attuned to casual dining with the family. CARNE @ Time Out Market is the latest offering from Chef Giorgio and his CARNE collection at the V&A Waterfront.
CARNE on Keerom: Monday and Saturday (dinner only)
CARNE on Kloof: Lunch on Friday and Saturday, and dinner between Monday and Saturday
Season’s need-to-know: Order the Il Fondente al Cioccollato dessert at CARNE on Keerom – Giorgio’s original chocolate fondante recipe. It takes 20 minutes to prepare, but it’s oh so worth it! And, head to Time Out Cape Town on Sundays for your Italian fix, which is when the other two restaurants are closed.
CHEFS WAREHOUSE BEAU CONSTANTIA (Constantia, Cape Town)
The culinary home of chefs Liam Tomlin and Ivor Jones. The venue has true ‘beau’ credentials thanks to its vertiginous location at Beau Constantia Wine Estate that shows off the views of terraced vines and the Constantia valley beyond. Dishes on the 5-course set menu change often, making it all the more reason to return this season. Go large and order the Oysters Beau Constantia as an extra course – and good luck with that idea of avoiding dessert!
Lunch and dinner: Monday through to Saturday
Lunch only on Sunday (summer season schedule)
Season’s need-to-know: On the morning of your booking date, call the restaurant at 10h00 and ask for a table on the terrace. And, if you don’t have a booking, then give the restaurant a call at 10h00 and you may just clinch a last-minute table at one of South Africa’s finest restaurants!
This is no dwindling light of a restaurant! DUSK is the masterminds of chef duo Darren Badenhorst and Callan Austin. Here, the stiff boundaries of international fine dining are pushed aside and replaced with a pioneering and thought-provoking culinary experience. Inspirational dishes include the Second-hand Shellfish: pota squid, prawn barigoule, arerated pomodoro bisque, smoked red pepper and sesame.
Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday
Season’s need-to-know: Chefs Darren and Callan are serving splendid Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve menus. Hopefully, you can still clinch a table if you don’t dawdle!
GALJOEN (Cape Town City Centre)
Owners of Belly of the Beast, chefs Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart, opened GALJOEN earlier this year. Both restaurants that authentically promote sustainable dining are located on Harrington Street in the heart of the city. You’ll only find South African, responsibly caught seafood here, which is delivered each morning and, hence, the tasting menu changes daily.
Lunch served at 12h30, Thursday to Saturday: R650 per person
Dinner served at 18h45, Monday to Saturday: R850 per person
GRANDE ROCHE HOTEL & RESTAURANT (Paarl)
A signature Winelands destination, Grande Roche epitomises authentic South African hospitality with a splash of understated country elegance. In recent years, new verve has been instilled into this iconic Paarl address, including the appointment of highly respected executive chef and mentor Christiaan Campbell – making the hotel and restaurant a must-visit. Be it a country chic staycation or a visit for the day to enjoy a beautiful al fresco lunch or tasteful dinner, be sure to add Grande Roche to your list of go-to places.
Open times: always!
LE cOIN FRANÇAIS (Franschhoek)
Le coin Français, opened in 2017 by Chef Patron Darren Badenhorst, is arguably Franschhoek’s finest restaurant. Together with his head chef Miguel de Caries he offers a sublime eight-course menu. This includes a remarkable signature dish of de-shelled langoustine atop a silky velouté of aerated Gruberg cheese and West Coast snoek, alongside wild vineyard shoots garden pea and pancetta risotto. Bon appétit!
Lunch: Friday to Sunday
Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday
POT LUCK CLUB CAPE TOWN (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Set atop the old silo of the Biscuit Mill in design-centric Woodstock, Luke Dale Roberts (LDR) and his executive chef Jason Kosmas have been serving global small plates for over a decade to aficionados and non-aficionados! It’s quite simply THE foodie address to add to your holiday bucket list.
Lunch and dinner: Monday to Saturday
Sunday: Pot Luck’s Apex Brunch
POT LUCK CLUB JOHANNESBURG (Rosebank, Johannesburg)
Joburg now has its very own Pot Luck Club dining experience. Located in humming Rosebank and with an ambience of edgy industrial chic, expect familiar favourites and exciting new dishes to be ordered as guests please, and enjoyed as a small plate sharing experience for the whole table. It’s an energetic, fun atmosphere with a formidable wine and cocktail list that keeps diners well entertained.
Lunch: Tuesday to Saturday
Dinner: Monday to Saturday
Season’s need-to-know: Open for New Year’s Eve – only a few tables left! R1 750 per person (excluding beverages).
SALON (Woodstock, Cape Town)
The latest world-class dining experience by Luke Dale Roberts of The Test Kitchen fame. Under the helm of executive chef Carla Schulze, diners can expect a multi-course dining journey influenced by the smorgasbord of kitchens where LDR has worked.
Lunch: Thursday to Saturday
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday
Season’s need-to-know: LDR’s much-anticipated cookbook “The Test Kitchen” is now on the shelves of fine bookstores and @Home stores nationwide. Also available via takealot.com and Loot.com. It makes for a beautiful gift this season for the foodie aficionado. And if you’re quick at the draw, you may just clinch one of the last few tables available this New Year’s Eve.
SHORTMARKET CLUB JOHANNESBURG (Rosebank, Johannesburg)
Part of the LDR’s fine stock of dining destinations, the Shortmarket Club is a European-style brasserie serving delicious easy-dining modern European cuisine with distinct Asian influences.
From the décor to the choice of water glasses, Shortmarket Club Johannesburg is the place for a unique and bespoke experience. Diners can expect elements such as rich deep tones, warm lighting, old-fashioned touches and accents of leather, brass and fluted glass all artfully staged in a heritage brasserie and smoky cigar lounge–type setting.
Season’s need-to-know: Open for New Year’s Eve! Only a few tables left – R1 750 per person (excluding beverages).
MAJEKA HOUSE & SPA (Stellenbosch)
A boutique hotel with lashings of design credentials, Majeka House is ideally located within the Stellenbosch valley. Rooms and suites have all been individually decorated, the manicured gardens include no less than four swimming pools – and there’s a spa and hair salon, too! Breakfast and all-day meals are served in the Majeka Kitchen as well as in the Mbar. It all makes for sublime easy holidaying.
MELOZHORI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE (Overberg)
A 2 300ha predator-free private reserve in the Overberg. Melozhori has in recent years become a local bucket list destination thanks to the opening of two pod-style accommodations as well as one romantic treehouse for two. Now, the four-bedroom en-suite lodge on the reserve has been afforded a comprehensive renovation and refurbishment. The Lodge offers a signature pool with sunken fire pit, luxurious interiors, a gourmet kitchen together with a private chef. This is a veritable dream destination deep in nature and within an easy drive from Cape Town.
MIRAGE (V&A Waterfront, Cape Town)
This is no shrinking sea anemone! MIRAGE is the largest privately owned day-sail catamaran in South African waters and can host up to 130 passengers. Located near the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront, daily scheduled trips are available (11h00, 13h00, 15h00 and 19h00).
Season’s need-to-know: Reserve MIRAGE for a private charter and spend the day on the Atlantic Seaboard enjoying epic vistas, mega fun on the water and fabulous cuisine. PS: Bring your best 100 friends!
PEECH HOTEL (Melrose, Johannesburg)
Arguably the most inspiring place to stay in Johannesburg, the Peech Hotel is located in trendy Melrose and offers stylish Afro-chic accommodation set within lush indigenous gardens. Accommodation is über-stylish with a nod to local artisanry. There are two swimming pools and two restaurants, one being the signature Basalt Restaurant by Chef Diack.
Season’s need-to-know: Book the two-bedroom Villa and enjoy a bliss family staycation.
WINES AND SPIRITS
Not even a year old, and Nocturne is already considered one of the finest mixology bars on the continent. The latest venture by culinary maestros Darren Badenhorst and Callan Austin, Nocturne is an innovative fusion between gastronomy and mixology.
Tuesday to Thursday: 17h00 until late
Friday to Sunday: noon until late
Season’s need-to-know: Savour a cognac like an oligarch! You can now order a glass of Louis XIII Cognac, which is served with a Tsar-quality snack of duck liver and porcini mushroom Rocher: a luxurious sphere filled with a sumptuous liver and earthy porcini mousse, cold smoked under a glass dome and served with a stone fruit and tonka bean palate cleanser to be enjoyed halfway through the bite. Priced at R4 950 per serving. Go forth and order a dozen!
Plus! Should you be planning to be in the Winelands over New Year’s Eve, then you’re going to want to spend it at Nocturne. It’s going to be lavish with endless bubbly, fine wines and signature cocktails accompanied by an array of delicious canapés and small plate dishes. The party is from 20h00 until 01h00. R2 500 per person.
RADFORD DALE WINES (Elgin, Overberg)
Celebrating 25 years of making wine differently in South Africa, Radford Dale combines a keen pursuit of innovation with a healthy respect for tradition. Under the leadership of winemaker and viticulturist Jacques de Klerk, the team produces refined and often elegant wines directed by an ethos that reflects a profound leaning toward the respect of nature.
Season’s need-to-know: Stock up on the recently launched Radford Dale Organic range. Produced from the winery’s farm, the maiden vintages of Touchstone Chadonnay ’22, Revelation Semillon ’22, Freedom Pinot Noir ’22 and the Higher Purpose Cabernet Franc ’22 are on shelf nationwide and also online. PS: If you’re smart, become a Radford Dale Bacchanalian Wine Club member – you’ll receive awesome discounts and first access to new-release wines.
SIMONSIG WINE ESTATE (Stellenbosch)
Home of South Africa’s first producer of Cap Classique! Known throughout the land for their delicious Kaaps Vonkel Cap Classique, the Malan Family has been producing wines for three generations. The Stellenbosh terroir holds true throughout wine range.
Season’s need-to-know: The Malan family have launched Needless to Say, a delicious rosé still wine, ideal for summer days. It’s a refreshing blend of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, which were the first white and red wines to be released by Simonsig. And if you’re fortunate, source a bottle of the recently launched Kaapse Vonkel Satin Royale, too! Only 1 500 bottles have been produced for the maiden release. Purchase online (only three bottles available per customer).
Keen to improve your DIY mixology skills? Impress your guests this holiday season with a significant cocktail by taking a squizz at all the recipes freely available to you via the South African Brandy Foundation’s website.
Season’s need-to-know: The House of Sydney Back has just launched a 25-Year-Old Limited Reserve Potstill Brandy. Luxuriously packaged in black, this is the ultimate holiday gift for an aficionado of international quality potstill brandy – available via Norman Goodfellows. Follow the SA Brandy Foundation on Facebook and Instagram this December for beautiful festive season gift ideas ideal for the brandy aficionados.