If the idea of lunch in the winelands conjures up thoughts of country dishes accompanied by crisp white wine all enjoyed in a beautiful garden setting in the shadow of Cape Dutch architecture, you won’t be disappointed by the Red Table at Nederburg.
Located in the old Manor House, the Red Table is the first restaurant at the 213-year-old estate. Set up by Cape Town foodie Andrea Foulkes (of Dish Food & Social fame) the menu has been designed to complement Nederburg’s extensive wine list although visitors are urged “not to let wine rules get in the way of fun”.
After an hour’s journey up the N1 from Cape Town, we found ourselves seated at red tables under ancient oak trees outside the magnificent Manor House. We were a little breathless as we took in the view of the rose garden in full bloom and the extensive vineyards set out at the foot of the Drakenstein mountains.
Ingredients for the country-style food are sourced locally and there’s a fresh zing to the dishes available on the manageable menu. Starters include duck confit salad with baby spinach, roasted beetroot and orange segments (R60); and a smoked salmon trout on bruschetta (R50).
As we were there for a quick lunch, we went straight on to the mains, where we could choose from dishes such as the very popular venison burger served with avo and caramelised onion (R95); or an aromatic sweet potato and butternut bake served with peanuts and an avo and goats’ cheese salad (R75).
I settled on the kingklip, cooked with a light touch and served on fondant potato with a warm leek and red onion salad, R120; while my partner enjoyed a free-range sirloin steak, done to a turn and served with a béarnaise sauce and perfectly crispy skinny fries, R125.
The reasonably priced wine list is exclusively from the estate – and you can order most by the glass. We were served large, if not overly generous, glasses of Nederburg wines, especially enjoying the tropical yet tart 2012 sauvignon blanc and the full-bodied 2010 shiraz.
Both children of the eighties, we were pleasantly surprised to rediscover Nederburg wines – although the labels on their manor house wines remain surprisingly dated and uninspired.
The crème brûlée (R45), served with a mini strawberry milkshake, was disappointing, but after such a pleasant afternoon, we decided not to judge this kitchen by this one lapse.
Large, well-tended lawns and games such as skittles and croquet make Nederburg a wonderfully child-friendly venue. There’s even a children’s menu offering a steak roll, pizza or chicken skewers (R40 to R50), or a specially packed kids’ picnic for R75.
Service was warm and friendly, but cannot be described as slick. We expected the waiters to have a deeper knowledge of the wines, and to be more confident in their descriptions of the food, especially the day’s specials.
But those small quibbles aside, the food and, of course, the wines, are well priced and up to scratch, and lunch at the Red Table is a perfectly relaxing way to spend a summer’s afternoon. I’d recommend it as somewhere to take overseas visitors, or to while away a long weekend afternoon with your family.
by Anne Taylor
The Red Table at Nederburg:
Where: Nederburg Wines, Sonstraal Road, Daljosafat, Paarl
Hours: 11am to 4pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays; 12 noon to 4pm on Sundays.
Buffet on the first Sunday of every month: R195 per person.
Credit cards accepted. Licensed. Ample parking.
Bookings: 021 862 3104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
While you’re there…
Nederburg also offers tastings and tours of the cellar and the old cellar museum. Contact email@example.com for more info.