The Bistro at Brookdale: Irresistible Dining in a Secret Valley

The Bistro at Brookdale: Irresistible Dining in a Secret Valley

A serene slice of heaven above Paarl.

Brookdale Estate is a world apart: a secret valley in a fold of the mountains above Paarl, delightfully discovered as you dip steeply down to a little bridge over a mountain stream past indigenous gardens and vines new and old. The brick road then climbs past the Cape Dutch Manor House (now a six-suite boutique guest house) to reveal the restaurant, tasting room and wine cellar.

Brookdale Bistro Interior

Harmoniously built of stone, the Bistro at Brookdale is unostentatious but elegant. A canvas wall mural reaching to 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 hear is birdsong, and perhaps a tractor in the distance – this is a working wine farm after all.

Meet the chef

Brookdale Bistro Chef

Chef Gary Coetzee and his wife, Yvonne (the GM), are warmly welcoming, and have been immersed in the life of the farm since they joined owner Tim Rudd here in 2020. Cooking for guests in the Manor House, it wasn’t long before Gary had bigger ideas. “I told Tim, ‘I can’t just look after 12 guests and cook breakfast every morning. Why don’t we build a restaurant?’ I never thought he’d agree!”

Gary has a wealth of experience in intuiting the food people want to eat (having spent 10 years at Singita Sabi Sands, and 10 years as private chef to the Kerzner family. Serving beautifully presented, unpretentious dishes that you could happily eat day after day, he calls his approach “chic bistro”, and says “I’m curious. I want to be on a food journey with my guests: changing the menu often and reflecting the farm setting.”

A new winter menu

Brookdale Bistro Winter Dishes

Gary’s mastery of full-on flavour makes the ingredients sing on the winter menu, where you might heartily tuck into a flavour-packed dish without even noticing it’s plant-based… such as in the red lentil soup with fermented cashew nut cream and onion bhaji, or the char-grilled miso-glazed aubergine. Then there are the simple pleasures of West Coast mussels meunière, prawn and fish croquettes, or a classic deeply warming bouillabaisse loaded with fish, prawns, mussels and octopus.

And there’s lots to keep die-hard meat-eaters happy too (with meat from Ryan Boon): bobotie tortellini; slow-braised oxtail in red wine and rosemary; sous-vide lamb rump with minted pea purée. There isn’t a separate kids’ menu, but the kitchen is happy to adapt any dishes on the menu to suit children – such as the coq au vin, a tasty crowd-pleaser for all ages.

View the menu

Just desserts

Brookdale Bistro Desserts

Pastry chef, Marinèsha Moore, balances sweetness and acidity beautifully… on the new menu she plays with milk tart soufflé, adding spiced rum anglaise and a Grand Marnier gelato with burnt orange. Then there’s a deconstructed tiramisu, and apple strudel with honeycomb gelato.

Fire and Wine dinners

Brookdale Bistro Fire and Wine Dinner

Through winter locals will be delighted with the simple dinners by the fire offered on Thursday evenings. Food will be grilled over the fire (think steak or prawns), paired with a glass of the estate’s Mason Road wine (perhaps the crisp chenin blanc or the seductively sultry syrah).
When From 23 May 2024
Times Thursday, 6 pm – 9 pm
Cost Varies weekly

Father’s Day

Dads get a little extra spoil on Father’s Day. Lunch à la carte from the new winter menu and get a complimentary glass of Mason Road syrah and a special homemade take-home gift from the chefs.

When Sunday 16 June 2024

Linger longer

Brookdale Bistro Exterior

With the beautiful vineyard views from the terrace and roaring fires to cosy up to, it’s tempting to settle in for the whole day at Brookdale. Make the most of your visit with a leisurely session in the wine-tasting room before (or after) lunch. Or spoil yourself thoroughly by booking into one of the luxury suites of the Manor House for a tranquil and restoring break (it’s also available as an exclusive-use villa, sleeping 12 adults and 2 children).

A delightful discovery brimming with satisfying flavours.

Good to know No cash payments.
Opening times Wednesday, 12pm – 3.30pm
Thursday, Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 9pm
Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm
Contact 087 183 3919,
Where to find it Brookdale Estate, Hawequa Bos Pad, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl
Book through DinePlan

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 13 May 2024