The one thing you’ll find at most Elgin restaurants is friendly service and delicious food in unpretentious and beautiful surroundings. And if you haven’t discovered The Pool Room at Oak Valley wine estate, you’re in for a real treat. The chic glass-fronted tasting room, restaurant and deli overlooks an immaculate turquoise swimming pool and manicured lawns with spectacular views of the valley through the old oaks that line the pathway. On sunny days tables are set outdoors around the pool and chaises longues are set out for those happy to linger.
Oak Valley’s delicious wine is the drawcard here – in particular the juicy, soft and elegant Oak Valley flagship pinot noir (R200), while the 2009 Oak Valley Mountain Reserve blend of sauvignon and semillon (R130) is just as delicious. Tastings are R20, which falls away if you make a purchase.
The restaurant is renowned for steaks and charcuterie, artisanally made from 100% hormone- and antibiotic-free pork from acorn-fed pigs and grass-fed free-range beef reared on the farm (and can also be ordered in bulk in advance from firstname.lastname@example.org). Waitresses arrive with trays laden with various cuts for you to choose from, before whisking them off to be prepared to your liking by resident chef, Jacques Theron. Sides of chips, salads, oven-roasted beetroot and a seasonal garden side salad are charged for separately. Starter specials of crispy pulled-pork in a mustard sauce with a truffle mayo; beef brisket pie with carrot purée and pickled baby carrots; and roasted bone marrow with baguette crisps were also on offer on the day. Baker Emmanuel January produces the most divine breads fresh from the wood-fired oven and kept adding to our bread basket as needed.
Vegetarians and non-meat lovers can choose from a wide range of vegetarian platters, salads and starters, although mains are mostly meat-oriented. Four delicious desserts complete the menu. Kiddies are catered for with a choice of beef, fish cakes or pasta.
OTHER GOURMET GEMS IN THE AREA
If you can’t get a table here, try Fresh at Paul Cluver Wine Estate where new owner Niki Hall-Jones sets out tables under the trees (or in the cosy restaurant on cooler days) and retains some of former owner Joan Lancefield’s prized recipes, such as prosciutto-wrapped baked figs with gorgonzola and fresh cream.
Or pop in at Dre Johnson’s Victorian-styled Platform 1 Eatery at Winter’s Drift winery where you can enjoy an excellent cappuccino with a slice of homemade cake, or a tasty dish from the blackboard menu, which changes daily.