The best thing about living in the Western Cape is that you’re always just a hop and a skip from something delicious. Cape Town itself is overflowing with everything from ramen bars to coffee roasteries, and if you take a 20 minute drive in any direction you’ll hit winelands.
Most people are familiar with the every popular Constantia and Stellenbosch valleys, but I’ve since grown fond of the Durbanville wine route. It’s less commercial, more family friendly and you’ll find some of the best wines in the country.
I’ve also recently discovered one of my top restaurants right in the heart of this valley. Diemersdal Restaurant on Diemersdal Wine Farm is situated in an old stable on the farm and has slowly grown from a simple eatery into a full-on foodie heaven.
Chef Martin De Kock knows how to pack a punch with flavour, putting up dishes that are bold, complex and decadent. His presentation is elegant and striking without being overly complicated of fussy. While I consider them fine dining, there is also a homely charm about the Diemersdal Restaurant, from the generosity of the food to the cosy country-chic interior of the dining area.
We recently visited them to try their winter menu and if you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it.
From the starters, I was particularly charmed by the steamed langoustine with soba noodles, charred broccoli, tozasu dressing and sesame. I just loved the sweet, savoury, umami flavours that all supported the delicate seafood without overpowering it.
Another gem from their starters is the pan roasted quail, served with a shitake tartlet, Jarusalem artichoke puree, caramelized shallot and Bordelaise sauce. Quail is a notoriously tricky meat to get just right and in this case it was fall-off-the-bone, with a beautiful sticky sauce to bring all the elements together.
On the mains you can’t go wrong with the Chalmar beef sirloin, served with oxtail tortellini, braised shiitake mushrooms and pearl onions. My favourite, however, was the slow roasted pork with crackling (he does crackling so well!), XO glaze, and a scotch egg.
Don’t even think about skipping out on dessert. I really loved the Baklava with walnut parfait, steamed chocolate bun and guava. It has just the right balance of nutty, sweet and tart flavours and it went particularly well with the Diemersdal Noble Late Harvest.
We also tried their Caramelised quince, jasmine and honey crumble with baked pudding, hay ice cream and a raspberry gel. It was a perfect harmony of flavour and texture that kept me digging in for another spoonful.
One of the best things about eating at the Diemersdal Restaurant is being able to sip Diemersdal Wines. Their entry-level Mathys is always a gem for your everyday drinking wine but it’s worth spoiling yourself with a bottle or two from their premium ranges.
Their game is Sauvignon Blanc (the area is great for it) so you won’t be disappointed if you love white wine. I am particularly fond of their 8 Rows and the Wild Horseshoe.
Since it’s winter though, I’m leaning more towards the reds and I can definitely give a nod to their Private Collection, Pinotage Reserve and MM Louw Estate Red. But honestly, all their red wines are yummy yummy.
The next time you’re looking for a lunch (or dinner) spot, I can confidently point you towards the Diemersdal Restaurant. Just make sure you book beforehand, they fill up quickly.
Need to know:
The Diemersdal Restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch, and Thursday to Saturday for dinner. Sunday lunch is done by reservation only from 12:00 – 15:00.
Prices for starters range from R70 – R85, mains from R120 – R180 and desserts start at R65.
The restaurant does offer vegetarian options but if you have specific dietary requirements I recommend you let them know in advance.
For more info, visit diemersdal.co.za/eatery