Chef PJ Vadas has left Hoghouse BBQ and Bakery and recently launched the brand new Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery at Spier Wine Farm. I decided to pop in one evening after work to see what’s on offer and I was not disappointed!
The vision for Vadas is to create a place where families and friends can join together and eat food that is “carefully, ethically and healthily sourced and prepared”. They also believe in supporting local businesses and farms, and the restaurant collaborates with Farmer Angus at Spier who supplies all the beef, pork, chicken and eggs, plus there are plans to grow all the veggies on the farm!
Their menu changes daily to reflect what’s available, which makes it the perfect place to keep going back to regularly!
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When I arrived on a rainy Monday evening, I was happy to see how spacious the inside of the restaurant was. You won’t expect it when you see the building from the outside, but there is ample seating inside as well as in the glass-covered atrium outside. My boyfriend and I almost cancelled our booking when Stellenbosch was struck by load shedding (thanks, Eskom) as we were on our way to the farm, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they were prepared with a generator on hand! We were lead to a cozy two-seater table inside and immediately ordered drinks from the attentive runners — they don’t have waiters, as you order your food by ticking off your choices right on the menu.
I had the Spier Chenin Blanc, which was lovely as always, and my boyfriend had the Hoghouse IPA, which he enjoyed thoroughly. At Vadas, guests are encouraged to order their meals “family-style” so you order small plates for the table to share. We were overwhelmed by the abundance of choices on the menu and couldn’t decide what to have, so we ordered some sourdough bread with farm style butter and tapenade to start with while we decided on mains.
The options on the menu were endless, and everything tickled our fancy, but eventually we settled on a few dishes to share. We went for a chorizo scotch egg, smoked brisket with BBQ sauce, smoked pork belly with apple ketchup, Kansas City pulled pork and pork fat fried chips with truffle aioli. If this sounds like too much food for two people, that’s because our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs!
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The food came super quickly after ordering, and everything looked so delicious! My absolute favourite part of what we ordered was the smoked pork belly with apple ketchup and a roasted tomato panzanella salad with buffalo mozzarella & smoked olives. The crackling on top was delightfully crispy, while the meat was soft, juicy and succulent. The apple chutney added a wonderful sweet and sour tang which complimented the pork so well.
The Kansas City pulled pork was a close second favourite; the meat was so tender I had trouble getting it from the plate to my mouth without strands falling off. The brisket brought back memories of Sunday roasts at my ouma’s house, and was perfectly spiced and seasoned. I’m not a big salad fan, so my boyfriend enjoyed the entire (quite big) salad on his own, and he said it was very good, with the smokiness of the roasted tomatoes and olives complementing the saltiness of the mozzarella. Don’t forget about the pork fat fried chips! They were probably the crunchiest chips I’ve ever had in my life. They weren’t oily at all, the pork fat just added a smokiness and umami flavour to every bite.
All in all, this was one of the better weeknight dinners I’ve had in a long time, and I’ll definitely head back soon. I thought this dinner would break the bank with how much food we ended up ordering, but the dishes were reasonably priced and we ended up spending about the same as we usually do on date night! I’m looking forward to when my parents come to visit again so they can treat me to a lunch or dinner at Vadas.
You can head over to their Facebook page to stay up to date, or to their website for a sample menu and to book your table —I booked online and received a response and booking confirmation immediately.