I was recommended to try Ouland Royale on the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay, on the way to the airport. Even when arriving outside the building, I could not imagine what a taste and visual treat was inside what is called the Baroque Barn. It was as close to perfect as one can get, and it was a shame that the waiter dropped the ball right at the end.
Owner Wilja Reitz was called to my table by the waiter as he could not answer all my questions. She told me that she was an ‘interior couturier‘ at her Decadence decor company in Cape Town, having handmade many of her decor items, including lamps. Her grandmother owned the piece of land, called Ouland. She loved the David Kramer ‘Royal Hotel’ song, and added ‘Royale’ to the brand name. She moved to Plettenberg Bay, and had the Baroque Barn built two years ago as an events venue, seating up to 150 patrons. Inside they can seat about 100, and 50 guests can sit on the terrace, overlooking a not-too-clean-looking dam They organize weddings, private functions, conferences, and parties, and one can enjoy a breakfast, lunch, and tea/coffee with cakes. Grey and silver chairs are at grey-top tables, with minimal decor on the inside tables, but one can imagine the beautiful dressing up of the inside venue for functions. Inside there are wingback chairs, interesting wall decorations, and couches. I could not help but see design parallels to The Grand in Plett.
The terrace tables are charcoal grey too, with grey chairs, and have a pink metal flower pot with a basil plant, containing some pink rose petals. Old-style fine plates are on the table with shocking pink serviettes. The table also had a rabbit egg cup with toothpicks, unbranded salt and pepper grinders, and a glass with sugar sticks. The pink links to pink orchids and other pink touches at the end of the terrace, which has a table with plants, which Wilja’s landscaper brother sells in his nursery on the property. Overhead there are hanging baskets. As one enters the terrace, a sign requests one to not pick the roses, as ‘they are happy here‘. In the entrance to the terrace there are quirky design items, for example an old bath with plants, and her late Ouma’s chair has a plant growing inside it.
At the far end of the inside seating area, a fireplace divides the room from the open-plan kitchen, and there is a bar counter too, once again with pink orchids and candelabra. Wilja is firmly in charge of the kitchen, and almost apologetically told me that she is not a trained chef, but that she is passionate about cooking, and that food is close to her heart. As I was photographing her, she had just taken out four lamb roasts from her Aga, showing them to me proudly. Part of it was to go into my Lamb Salad. All the staff, including Wilja, wear a black T-shirt with the brand name in pink. Part of what makes Ouland Royale so special is the music playlist, a mix of French chanson, Cuban music, Dean Martin, and more.
They also have a gift shop, which sells decor items made by Wilja, such as lamps and lampshades, high back velvet chairs, as well as hats, shoes, glasses, candelabra, champagne coolers, antique crockery, and cushions. They have a Deli section too, which sells preserves such as cherry guava, 3-fruit organic marmalade, youngberry jam, plum jam, pears in red wine, gooseberry jam, pickled organic beetroot, chutney, apricot jam, Piccalilli, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, as well as coffee-flavored and standard meringues, rusks, as well as biscuits.
Breakfast is served until 12h00, and offers scones, croissants, fruit salad and yoghurt, avocado on toast, Eggs Benedict (R65), a Royale and a mini Royale Breakfast (R65/R50), and omelettes (R55 – R 65).
I ordered a Lamb salad from a pink laminated menu, which the menu described as containing organic greens, avocado, cucumber, tzatziki, and feta, with a very generous portion of the Karoo lamb which I had seen Wilja take out of the oven (R90). I had requested that the red onion be removed. Salads make up the bulk of the lunch menu, and it is clear why, as they are delicious. Other salad options are Greek, salmon, Coronation Chicken, Chicken, and spinach, all costing around R80 – R90. Lamb and chicken wraps cost close to R90, as do salmon and vegetarian quiches. Fillet and pulled pork ‘Samies’ cost R140/R100. The 200 gm Royale Burger costs R120, while the mini cheeseburger costs R50. Salmon fish cakes cost R85. Home-made pies with a salad cost close to R90.
Dessert options cost about R45, and include seven cakes (lemon meringue, chocolate cake, chocolate brownies and ice cream, baked cheesecake, red velvet cake, carrot cake, as well as a gluten-free almond and orange cake). I ordered the mini Pavlova with a cream and almond topping (R50).
Wines are only offered by the bottle, sparkling wine options being Pierre Jourdan Brut (R205), Plettenvale Brut Rosé (R200), and Bonnievale Sparkling (R150). Sauvignon Blanc by Tokara, Leopard’s Leap, and Diemersdal; Chardonnay by Diemersdal and Weltevrede; and Chenin Blanc by Ernie Els and Diemersfontein are also on the list.
My waiter was excellent throughout, checking on me regularly, even coming with a serviette to dry up some drops of water from the water jug which had dripped onto my notebook. He completely blew it right at the end, when he asked whether I was paying ‘straight or budget’ for my lunch and a few Deli items. It is a question I did not know still existed! I then asked him for a bag for the four Deli items, for which he had made no proactive effort. He plonked a neatly folded pink plastic bag on the table, for me to put the items into!
Ouland Royale Baroque Barn, Airport Road, Plettenberg Bay. Cell 082 859 1250 No website. On Facebook. Tuesday – Friday 8h30 – 16h00, Saturday 8h30 – 12h30.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here