The highlight of our Garden Route trip last week was having lunch at Bramon, a pioneering boutique wine estate outside Plettenberg Bay. This was one of the first wine estates in the area, and has established itself not only as a good wine destination, but as having a good friendly restaurant too. My French friend was blown away by us eating …. and drinking ……in the vineyard! 

As we entered Bramon, which was recommended to us by Lisa Korver of Double Shot, we saw a building being renovated. It is the tasting room, which is having a make-over, with an extended deck added, so that the wine tasters can enjoy a food offering there too, no doubt because their restaurant is so popular, and often fully booked. A Deli is to be added to this facility too. 

The restaurant is not far down the road, one driving alongside the vineyards, and seeing a pond as well as the cellar on the drive to the restaurant parking. Outside the building is half a horse sculpture by Florian Junge, with a Latin inscription, translating to ‘We are One’. I loved the welcome board at the entrance, and immediately saw the heart in it. They love sayings at Bramon, quirky in requesting patrons to not use the flower pots as ashtrays, for example, but with such humour that you cannot help but oblige. 

Manager Tanya welcomed us at the front desk, and we were exceptionally lucky to get the last table in the vineyard, not having booked. We were given a pencil and a little sheet of paper, detailing all the Tapas (they call them mezzes) options we could order. On the table was a contrainer with cutlery, and condiments. Alex was our waiter and I gooied my Afrikaans with him, he being far more comfortable in the language. He brought us two glasses of water, and then we decided to have a glass of bubbly, so excited to have rediscovered (for me) this lovely spot. We were undecided between the Chardonnay-based Blanc de Blanc or the newer Sauvignon Blanc one, but on tasting each we preferred the former (R55 per glass). 

When I saw bread on the menu slip, offered at R37 for a small loaf and R53 for a large one, I was grateful that I no longer eat bread. My French friend could not resist, and ordered the small one, and encouraged me to try it. It was the best bread that I have eaten in a very long time. I saw on the bill afterwards that she was offered an extra small bread, and only charged R17 for it.  The menu introduction reminds one that the restaurant is not offering ‘fast food’, the that breads and mezzes are ‘lovingly hand made on the spot’.

The menu is divided into

#.  Salads (Greek, biltong and strawberry, pear and blue cheese, R84/R95);

#.  Dips and Pâtés (basil pesto, marinated olives, spinach and feta cigars which I ordered, cigar shaped and baked in a light crispy phyllo pastry, smoked snoek pâté, jalapeño poppers, and dolmades which my friend ordered, R32 – R58)

#.  Meats (Springbok carpaccio, Black Forest Ham was one of my choices, placed on top of thin slices of melon, Bobotie cigars, salami, Spanish meatballs, and sticky chicken wings, R37 – R70)

#   Fish and Seafood (calamari, salmon, pickled fish, R63 – R74)

#   Cheeses (Goat’s cheese and Marinara, Camembert and nuts ordered by my friend, cream cheese and sweet chili, blue cheese, baked Brie and cranberry, White Rock and cranberry, and Plaaskaas, R32 – R84).

#   Preserves (Watermelon Preserve, onion marmalade, green fig preserve, R34 – R37).

’Dessert’ was a Chocolate Truffle, at R15, of which there was a selection at the reception desk, where we paid. Other options are a range of cakes, at R45 each, as well as lemon sorbet at R23.

While I was photographing inside, I met GM Daniel van Deventer, who said he remembered me from a visit six years ago, and said that he is an Instagram follower of mine. Wow, I was amazed. He told me that Tin Korver is a new shareholder in the wine estate and is the MD. He very generously gifted us a bottle each of the two Bramon MCCs. 

It was a superb experience, with nothing to fault at all, with good service from waiter Alex, professional interaction with Tanya, a superb bubbly, making it a lovely light mezze lunch in the vineyard. 

Bramon Wine Estate, off N2, Plettenberg Bay. Tel 073 833 8183 www.bramonwines.com Twitter: @BramonWines Instagram: @bramonwineestate 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein