Klink Tourism Award finalist De Grendel Restaurant unlocks new ways to enjoy food and wine
De Grendel Restaurant – a finalist in the Klink Tourism Awards* – unlocks new ways to enjoy food, wine and produce from the region’s earth, sky and sea. Meaning ‘the lock’ De Grendel, once a gateway to the interior, is now the first destination on the Durbanville Wine Valley, literally unlocking the region’s bounty.
De Grendel Restaurant has already established a reputation for seriously good food, well-priced to make it one of the jewels in the Cape’s culinary crown. Now its nomination as finalist in the Klink Tourism Awards (Beyond Expectations category) confirms what its food-loving supporters have been saying all along: this is a restaurants that offer excellent food, a wonderful eating-out experience that’s still kind to the pocket.
“And that is exactly what De Grendel Restaurant stands for,” says Jonathan Davies, director of the Crown Hotels and Restaurants, who now personally oversees the running of De Grendel Restaurant. “Add to that our iconic views on Table Mountain and Table Bay – and you’re in for a treat that’s hard to equal!”
More good news for Durbanville Wine Valley supporters: Our Spring festival Season of Sauvignon, where our valley’s 11 wine farms say goodbye to winter and welcome in the season of white wine, is a Klink Awards finalist in the Crowd Pleaser category as Best Wine Route Event.
The restaurant is a culinary collaboration sparked off when Sir David and his wife Lady Sally Graaff dined at the Michelin-starred The Crown at Whitebrook (voted Best Restaurant in Wales, 2011) last year. There he met Jonathan Davies, director of the Crown Hotels and Restaurants, who now personally oversees the opening of De Grendel Restaurant.
De Grendel Restaurant is 100% South African, though. In keeping with the Crown’s exceptional levels of cuisine, innovation and service, De Grendel’s heritage and eco-caring is its true essence. Relaxed, down-to-earth and grounded it echoes De Grendel’s sense of place.
In a way it’s like dining with the Graaffs. The farm has been in the Graaff family for three generations. Baronet Sir David Graaff, retired politician and leading wine farmer, continues the legacy left by his father and grandfather before him. While the farm was originally used for the breeding of Arab horses, the farm is now home to Holstein stud cattle, sheep, grain and vines – their wines making them a key player in the wine industry.
The food: “Beautiful, simple food. It’s the style of food we all love to eat, uncomplicated and all about the ingredients.” So says chef Ian Bergh.
At the restaurant farm produce, from freshly-made yoghurt to honey, guinea fowl to pasture-raised meat, and ingredients sourced from local suppliers are given an inventive, modern edge.
Ian Bergh, who has worked with Franck Dangereux at La Colombe, Five Flies, Pure at Hout Bay Manor and other top establishments, brings his passion for local ingredients to the De Grendel kitchen. Knowing his way around the nooks and crannies of the Cape culinary scene, he nurtures his relationship with local suppliers and food artisans. With the Atlantic Ocean in the distance, it comes as no surprise that some of Ian’s favourite ingredients include the often overlooked angelfish, mullet and gurnard.
Chefs who will come over from the UK for short stints at the De Grendel kitchen include James Sommerin from The Crown at Whitebrook. Some of James’ Michelin-starred recipes such as venison with coffee, carrot and cinnamon might just make an appearance on the De Grendel menu as well. (If Sommerin’s name rings a bell – he’s a familiar face on BBC’s highly acclaimed Great British Menu series.)
At dinner the exceptional 6-8 course tasting menu planned for summer (tailored to diner preferences) is set to be a huge draw card, offering the chance to experience the talents and creative abilities of the chef over more courses. Sunday lunch with its homely, personal touches and delicious food has become a firm favourite with families and their friends.
De Grendel Wines are on the menu at cellar prices, making this dining experience accessible at realistic prices.
The place: The elegant, airy dining spaces blend the present with touches of De Grendel’s past. The warmth of wood, old family photographs (one showing Sir De Villiers Graaff dancing with a young Queen Elizabeth and other symbols of the Graaff family history combines with contemporary elements. A unique design feature is the glass-walled kitchen with its wrap-around views. Diners can watch the kitchen brigade at work, when not drinking in the vistas of vineyards, the working farm and Table Mountain.
The interior is without airs and graces, making the most of the light, open space and glorious views. The dining room and adjacent conservatory with its pared-down simplicity merge De Grendel’s past with modern touches. A rare metallic antique screen from the family home is now used as a room divider, an armoire houses a collection of blue-and-white Delftware and vintage crystal glasses. Ceramic artist Mervyn Gers’ bespoke under plates – decorated with the Graaff family coat-of arms – grace the tables.
The tasting room has a prime spot on the top level with an expansive view, a fireplace for winter and a veranda for sunny days. Food and wine matching will be taken to new heights with flights of food created around the main character of the wine.
The setting makes it perfect for private events, smaller weddings, special celebrations and corporate events. A Chef’s Table will also be hosted in an impressive room overlooking wine barrels in the cellar. De Grendel is only twenty minutes from the Waterfront or airport.
Restaurant opening hours:
Open for lunch and dinner. (Closed Sunday nights and Mondays).
Tuesday to Saturday: Lunch: 12:00 – 14:30; Dinner: 19:00 – 21:30
Sunday: Lunch: 11:00 – 15:00