Established over 20 years ago, on an estate founded by the Cape’s first governor, Simon van der Stel, Buitenverwachting’s restaurant was a precursor to the gourmet Winelands dining experience that has now become de rigueur in the Cape. Although it may not have garnered as much pomp and prestige as some of its Winelands cohorts, regular patrons would call it a lesser-known gem, and one that has consistently delivered for more than two decades.
Setting the Scene
You will want to arrive at the restaurant before darkness falls, so you can enjoy the majestic views. As such, we recommend booking for lunch or an early dinner.
The road into the estate takes you through sprawling vineyards, and around a paddock where horses trot about and cows graze. Upon entering the restaurant from the parking area, you’ll pass through a courtyard with a fish pond (occasionally some ducks can be found wallowing around in here). It all serves the overall experience, transporting you to an idyllic countryside setting without requiring you to drive too far from town. By the time you sit down for the meal, your troubles are firmly behind you.
Rustic and Refined
Guests have the option of sitting on the mountain-facing terrace outside, or inside, where glass walls offer spectacular views of the vineyards. While the surrounding landscape adds another dimension to the experience, the stylish and recently refurbished interiors could have been plucked from the pages of a top interior-design magazine – with an impressive wine collection on display at the entrance, slick yet warm furnishings, and a large fireplace presided over by some kind of African-style statuette that gazes down enviously at guests as they enjoy their meals.
Beauty in Simplicity
The menu is inspired by traditional rustic cuisine, with options such as springbok and pork belly on offer, each enriched by a variety of other superbly prepared accompaniments. The presentation is elegant, as you’d expect of a top-class restaurant and, more importantly, everything on the plate tastes wonderful and possesses a great variety of flavours without ever overwhelming. Austrian chef Edgar Osojnik is at his strongest when tackling the classic dishes, which he executes to perfection.
You’ll definitely want to partake in the restaurant’s excellent wine selection, which includes the estate’s speciality sauvignon blanc that benefits from the cooler Constantiaberg climate. The sommelier advises opting for the wine-pairing menu, and the restaurant’s professional and highly knowledgeable staff will be happy to walk you through the various options available.
All the things that appeal about dining in the Winelands this restaurant delivers in spades, without actually requiring you to venture too far from the city. Add to that a slick and sophisticated dining experience at reasonable prices, and it’s clear why Buitenverwachting has been a mainstay in the Constantia Valley for over 20 years running.