Farm-to-fork bistro deliciousness with verdant vineyard vistas.
Vines flow downhill to edge Paarl’s main road and up the slopes of Paarl Rock behind Laborie Wine Estate. With the Taal Monument crowning the view behind the historic manor house, this heritage wine estate feels very much part of Paarl everyday life. It’s a place locals pop into to shop at the enticing Farm Grocer deli, for coffee or cocktails at Suzanne, and for a leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner at Stoep Restaurant, where conservatory-style glass walls give onto a wide terrace with views over vineyards and mountain (and an extensive jungle-gym among the vines close by). Kids will also love the water channel running along the middle of the wide path leading to the restaurant.
At Stoep the mood is elegant and contemporary but informal. Long squashy yellow banquettes back onto a wall of plants, next to light wood tables and upholstered chairs. There’s a big brick hearth on the end wall with a wood fire burning in winter, and a terrace shaded by an oak tree and umbrellas (perfect for Paarl’s balmy summer evenings).
Chef Llewellyn Solomons rocks bistro-style farmhouse food using seasonal ingredients from the farmers and artisans of the surrounding Drakenstein region. Think pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed beef, homemade pasta and pickles, cooked with love in a series of delightful, uncomplicated dishes (often with low-key contemporary twists).
The seasonally changing menu is divided into small plates (which serve as starters), salads, homemade pastas and mains. We tucked into sticky chicken wings (finger-licking country) and an onion and thyme tarte tatin, but were also tempted by the sound of the char-grilled skaapstertjies (sheep’s tails) and the smoor snoek with roosterkoek (fire-grilled bread rolls). A creamy exotic mushroom tagliatelle with truffle oil was a dream, the homemade pasta perfectly al dente (without being chewy) and generous with the mushrooms. We also loved the crispy pork belly served with a divine gingery pickled cabbage kimchi. There are straightforward burgers and steaks with hand-cut chips when you’re in the mood for fuss-free meat treats.
There’s plenty to choose from by the glass or bottle on the wine list, which extends beyond Laborie’s estate wines to include the best of the Drakenstein region.
The hospitable farmhouse vibe continues with dessert, where the bistro’s bakes are simple, substantial and moreish. A gorgeous baked condensed milk crustless cheesecake was creamy and rich but light. And we had to have one of the canelés with coffee (a densely chewy crust, caramelised almost to black, just like the Bordeaux originals).
If you (as you almost certainly will) fall in love with the pickles, sauces, pastas or cake, stop by the Farm Grocer after lunch and pick up some to take home. As well as supplying fresh bakes and preserves to the deli, Llewellyn and team source fresh produce and meat for the restaurant there – a deliciously rewarding synergy.
Good to know There’s a breakfast menu too. And a private dining room for anything from business lunches to baby showers, seating 20-30 guests.
Opening times Monday + Tuesday, 7am – 5pm
Wednesday – Friday, 7am – 10pm
Saturday, 8am – 10pm
Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Contact 021 807 3232, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Laborie Heritage Estate, Taillefer Street, Paarl
Book through DinePlan
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