The breathtaking splendour of Constantia Glen reveals itself the moment you begin your meander up the fynbos-lined driveway, past paddocks and generous stretches of treed lawns, before arriving at the packed parking area of this heritage estate in the Constantia Valley.
And though the busy carpark hints at the venue’s popularity, it is by no means an indicator of the pace once inside, which is decidedly civilised, unhurried and intimate.
Surrounded by 360-degree panoramas of towering mountains and sloping vineyards, the large 300-seater venue is divided into a series of intimate spaces created around the perimeter of the building, maximising what are some of the best views in Cape Town. When we arrived my awestruck partner, semi-jokingly, asked: “Why do we trek all the way to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, when we have all of this on our doorstep?” Indeed, Constantia Glen’s valley-hugging location on the northeastern slopes of Table Mountain offers some of the most magnificent vistas (and wines) around.
Dating back to Simon van der Stel’s arrival in the Cape in 1685, this 60-hectare estate was once part of the oldest wine-producing farms on the continent, though it was only registered as a property in 1813. The Austrian Waibel family bought it in 1960, farming Angus cattle for decades before returning the farm to its grape-growing roots in 2000. In 2007, the first wine was produced in the reincarnated winery, which now produces 110 000 bottles of cool-climate sauvignon blanc and Bordeaux-style reds per annum.
Sip and savour in style
Take your pick of where to sit; there’s not a bad seat in the house. We arrived at sunset to take advantage of the restaurant and tasting room’s newly introduced extended hours – 10am to 9pm. Though the verandah, with its wicker chairs and tables, looked like the best spot to soak up the sun-drenched valley, we opted for a booth in the equally stylish indoor area where our sleeping four-year-old could nap while we sipped and savoured to our heart’s content.
The menu is divided into five sections – Platters, Flammkuchen, Mains, Salads and Dessert – each of which covers a gamut of tastes from meat-heavy to plant-based. In the Platters section, for example, there are Biltong & Droë Wors, Cheese, Charcuterie and Antipasto options, as well as an all-new Vegan offering. Mains include seared beef fillet, beer-battered kingklip and slow-roasted lamb shank, while there are Vegan, Caprese and classic Pancetta flammkuchen.
All of the above are best enjoyed with a glass or two of the estate’s award-winning wine, available from R60 per glass. Better still, book an afternoon wine-tasting in the stylishly converted stables (R90 for four wines; R120 for seven) and then settle in for a light dinner afterwards.
The clincher? This quintessential Winelands experience is just a hop, skip and a jump away.
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