Jewell’s Restaurant at Spice Route: Nose-To-Tail Dining in Paarl

Jewell’s Restaurant at Spice Route: Nose-To-Tail Dining in Paarl Claire Gunn

The perfect spot for a lazy summer lunch in the Winelands.

Location is everything at this gem of a destination, an easy 45-minute drive from Cape Town. (Well, that’s before you’ve had your first bite of food.) Perched on a hill at the bustling Spice Route destination, but tucked away so it feels like a private experience, Jewell’s Restaurant flaunts generous views of the surrounding farmlands, with the Simonsberg Mountains and Table Mountain framing the scene.

Whether you choose to sit indoors in the spacious, beautifully designed dining room, or outside on the view-soaked verandah, you’re guaranteed a cool, shady respite from the blistering heat. It’s kid- and dog-friendly – but that shouldn’t deter dogless and childless diners – as there is more than enough space for them to run around so that it doesn’t feel like a kid- (or dog-) friendly restaurant.

A pair of Jewells

But that’s all just background; you come to Jewell’s Restaurant for the food. Run by husband-and-wife team Neil and Tina Jewell (who successfully ran Bread & Wine at Môreson in Franschhoek for 19 years), the restaurant serves fresh, local and seasonal food, most of which is made on the premises. As in, they make the best olives I’ve ever tasted on the premises, along with the most flavourful ciabatta, red-wine-cured droëwors, and an array of incredible charcuterie, all made right here. You get the idea.

Of course, being on a wine farm means the wine list is exceptional, too – and much of it is available by the glass (R48), including Charles Back MCC. So you can quite easily while away a few hours tasting different wines paired with lovingly prepared, fresh, local, seasonal food. It’s the best elements of a South African summer, rolled into one!

A menu for all palates

Jewell's Restaurant Menu
Claire Gunn

We started with Tina’s breadboard: warm, straight out of the oven and accompanied by farm butter I could have eaten with a spoon, cauliflower hummus that was packed with flavour, and chicken liver pâté that melted in the mouth. Because we planned on spending a few hours here, we somehow found space for Neil’s famous charcuterie board: a variety of excellent cured meats – both classic and surprising – as well as twice-baked Klein Rivier cheese soufflé (like eating a cheesy cloud) and West Coast mussels cooked in CBC Amber Weiss (which has now ruined all other mussels for me).

And that was just the first course! That’s why it’s a good idea to spend a few hours here, so you can digest between courses…

For mains, we had local Red Angus sirloin, served with mushroom velouté and straw potatoes; and Fairview lamb belly with black garlic, celery and butter bean elements. Both superb. What’s so exciting about the dishes at Jewell’s is that even though you have an idea of what you order from the menu, when it actually arrives, it is even more exciting and carefully put together than you imagined. The braaied carrot, feta, caraway and mint side dish has redefined carrots for me.

Jewell's Restaurant Wine and Menu

If you still have space (you need to find some!) the plate of sweets is a little platter sent straight from heaven. Madeleines warm out of the oven, homemade wine gums (flavoured with Spice Route red and white wine), the lightest little meringues and the darkest chocolate truffles… magical.

Add to all of this, service that hits the sweet spot (attentive but not in your face), shady green grass for kids to run around on, a kids’ menu, plenty of space for social distancing between tables, and an entire Spice Route destination to wander around afterwards, it’s the ideal spot for families to while away a summer’s day.

Good to know Jewell’s Restaurant is located right next to the Spice Route wine tasting, so you can start or end your meal with a wine tasting across the lawn.

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