The latest destination pop-up restaurant at Vergelegen Wine Estate, named The River Café, is making a splash among diners in search of a stunning setting and fresh, local ingredients.The River Café is housed in an elegant, beautifully decorated glass marquee located on the banks of the ancient Lourens River, which flows through part of the estate.
The menu is inspired by this sublime riverside setting, the kitchen garden, and the estate itself, says Executive Chef Michael Cooke.
“Our aim has been to create a relaxed lunch experience near the water’s edge, with the flow of the picturesque river beside you creating the natural music and ambience. The feedback has been terrific, it’s definitely giving guests something truly special – the restaurant setting, plus the food offering that complements the breathtaking scenery.”
The compact, unfussy menu concentrates on maximum flavour and quality. Key dishes are fish and seafood such as whole roasted trout, Saldanha Bay oysters, prawn cocktail, smoked Franschhoek trout and West Coast mussels.
Vergelegen’s recently launched, limited edition rosé wine – the first rosé from the 321-year-old estate – has been a popular choice on the wine list, says sommelier Christo Deyzel. A lovely rose-gold colour, with a long, dewy aftertaste, the wine is named ‘Florence’ after Florence, Lady Phillips, owner of the estate with her husband Sir Lionel Phillips from 1917-1941.
“We are delighted with the response to The River Café since it opened in September, and plan to continue welcoming guests here until the end of March next year.”