Created by acclaimed chef, Dale Stevens and Avondale’s proprietor, Johnathan Grieve, Faber equates to a truly memorable fine-dining experience, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve left…
A place of culinary magic
From the moment you make your way up the drive – towards the quaint Cape Dutch building and bubbling fountain – you will feel yourself transported to a place where the natural beauty of a Cape wine farm and pure culinary magic merge.
Everything from the far-reaching, sprawling garden – which is like a real-life Secret Garden – to the shaded verandah, with its vineyard pergola, whisper of something special… and that’s before you’ve even sat down.
Where quiet sophistication and warmth reign
The service at Faber is probably the best I’ve thus far encountered – and I do not say that lightly. Everything runs like clockwork – cutlery, for example, is cleared with astonishingly subtle unobtrusiveness, while food is presented with down-to-earth warmth and helpful introductions.
Chef Dale Stevens and Celeste, front-of-house general manager – are no exception to this natural amicableness, going out of their way to make guests feel at home.
Inside and out, quiet sophistication prevails, for Faber is a beautiful blend of country charm and state-of-the-art elegance. The modern, open kitchen allows a wonderful view of the magic as it happens, while the indoor tables and chairs are as charming as the verdandah’s garden-facing ones.
Crockery, too, is elegant, yet earthy, sourced from The Potter’s Gallery (Kleinmond), while many of the table tops, bar counters and wooden cases were made from the estate’s stone pines, after a fire felled them roughly a decade ago.
Faber’s fabulous food
After being asked if we had any special dietary requirements, we chose five-course Chef’s Menu (R595), which we enjoyed in the lovely, relaxed verandah space. Dishes such as veal sweetbreads, cold smoked yellowtail (with cucumber, pomegranates, herbs and flowers), butter-roasted crown pumpkin (with Beatrix buche de chevre, dukkah, fried basil and mint), fire-cooked free-range chicken and chalmar sirloin, as well as Avondale plum tart and lavender macaroons were presented with a useful introduction, ensuring we knew exactly what we were tucking into.
Faber’s seasonal, wholesome offerings are both delicious and visually stunning. Where possible, Chef Dale sources from the farm and garden – including edible flowers that are tastefully strewn across the food, herbs, vegetables and free-range eggs – a practice they are fiercely proud of.
Yet, for me, possibly the highlight of the Faber experience was when chef Dale personally presented some of his dishes to us. Although I nearly fell off my chair in delighted shock, this again shows the humbleness of the offering. At Faber, great reputations and awards temporarily take a backseat, while food – and the entire guest experience – becomes the central focus.
Chef Dale switched up the dishes nicely, ensuring we each got to try both meat and vegetables, after he noticed I hadn’t sampled a meat dish at one point. Chef Dale’s fabulous food tempts you into trying new and bold things you mightn’t ordinarily do – and when you do, you’ll find yourself enjoying them thoroughly.
Before leaving, I asked Dale if he ever tires of cooking, and received the response expected from someone with true passion for their craft: “No, not ever, no matter the mood or occasion.”
For this reason, and many others besides, Faber is wonderful in virtually every way and is so clearly devoid of the snootiness or stiffness, which sometimes haunts fine dining establishments.
At Avondale Estate, Chef Dale Stevens and the Faber team await, readily welcome, and wow you at a food experience that is pure magic.
We recommend the five-course Chef’s Menu, paired with Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009 or Avondale Cyclus 2013.