Nestled in a secret valley above Paarl, Brookdale Estate is a world apart. As you dip steeply down to a little bridge over a mountain stream past indigenous gardens and vines, new and old, you can’t help but be delighted by the stunning scenery.
The Bistro at Brookdale
Harmoniously built of stone, the Bistro at Brookdale is unostentatious but elegant. A canvas mural reaching the high peaked ceiling depicts tall pine trees and woodland, echoing the view from the wide verandah over a slope of vines backed by a steep bush-clad escarpment topped with pines. All you can hear is birdsong and perhaps a tractor in the distance, as this is a working wine farm, after all.
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be warmly greeted by Chef Gary Coetzee and his wife, Yvonne (the GM), who has been immersed in the life of the farm since they joined owner Tim Rudd in 2020. Gary has a wealth of experience, having spent ten years at Singita Sabi Sands and ten years as a private chef to the Kerzner family at their Leeukoppie Hout Bay property. He calls his approach “chic bistro,” serving beautifully presented, unpretentious dishes that you could happily eat day after day.
On the opening menu, dishes referencing the grape harvest, such as mosbolletjies with the bread course, grapes in a divine yellowtail Veronique, and an intriguing vine-leaf gelato cutting the richness of a heady chocolate fondant with grape-scented acidity.
The starters are impressive, including fragrantly spiced beetroot pavé with onion bhaji and cling peach and chargrilled lettuce with creamy wakame (kelp) and cashew dressing reminiscent of a Caesar salad. Both dishes are plant-based, and the kitchen is happy to adapt any dishes on the menu to suit children.
There’s plenty to choose from for die-hard meat-eaters, including oxtail tortellini, chargrilled pork chop in a smoky cider jus, confit duck with sweet potato and ginger, and beef rib-eye with onion soubise. The desserts are equally impressive, with the pastry chef, Marinèsha Moore, balancing sweetness and acidity beautifully. The coffee hazelnut tart is decadent, slipping down seamlessly with grapefruit compote and rum gelato. The mind behind the delightful vine-leaf gelato is also worth noting.
Good to Know
The Bistro at Brookdale is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates good food and breathtaking scenery. With Gary’s mastery of full-on flavor and ideas brimming for the future, this restaurant is one to bookmark for many return visits.
There has yet to be a sign for Brookdale from the Main Road, so watch for the Hawequa Bos Pad road sign and follow the dirt road into the mountains.
Address: Brookdale Estate, Hawequa Bos Pad, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 12pm – 5pm; Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 10pm; Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
Contact: 087 183 3919, email@example.com