A weekend break at Grand Dedale on the Doolhof wine estate introduced me to the wealth of food produce available in Wellington. With the help of Grand Dedale owner Angelo Casu, and feedback from the restaurants visited, we compiled the following list of suppliers:
· Vrugbaar is one of the oldest pork butchers in the Western Cape. Vrugbaar farm, Bovlei. Tel (021) 864-1222.
· Foxenburg Estate supplies goat’s milk cheeses, including Chevre, Chabris, Cream cheese, Crottin, Foxtail, and Caprino Romano. Agter Groenberg. Tel (021) 873-5617. www.foxenburg.co.za
· Bontebok Ridge Reserve has wild boar, which it is breeding in captivity, and supplies biltong, as well as venison (wildebeest, eland, springbok, and wild boar). Tel 082 576 9657. www.bontebokridge.com
· Olive oils come from local farms Kleinfontein (Tel (021) 864-1202), Foxenburg Estate (Tel 021 873-5617), Upland Organic Estate (Tel (021) 873-5724), and Clarins
* Olives come from Foxenburg Estate (Tel (021) 873-5617) and Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm (Tel (021) 873-3696)
· Rabbit is supplied on a small scale to Wellington and Paarl restaurants by Stephen Taylor, Tel 083 4511 775
· Wild boar is also supplied by Schalk van Schalkwyk, Tel 082 829 7161
· Buffalo Ridge is the only Buffalo Mozzarella and yoghurt supplier in the country, having imported 30 Water buffalo from Campana in Italy. Tel 082 375 0977.
* Butter, Yoghurt, Peasant cheese, Cottage cheese, and Feta come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. Tel (021) 873-3696 www.bloublommetjieskloof.com
* Compote, jams, and marmalade come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. Tel (021) 873-3696
* Herbs come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. Tel (021 873-3696
· Cured meat comes from Walter Brink, the son of the Potjiekos king. 082 9224848
· Cordial comes from Wilde at Heart, and is available in amazing flavours: Victoria Rose, Lemon, Fresh Ginger, Indigenous Buchu. Wolvenhoek. Tel 084 734 2087
* Organic asparagus in September and October, Wilde at Heart. Wolvenhoek. Tel 084 734 2087
· Honey comes from Ringrose
· Safari dried fruit and vinegar comes from S.A.D.
Wellington also has a number of restaurants, many of them using the Wellington produce. Some have opened recently, and are less well known than their counterparts in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. I popped in at some last weekend:
· Vino’s is the newest restaurant, only about 2 weeks old, and is owned by Kobus and Yolande Fourie. ‘With Vino’s we have decided to bring back the good old steakhouse’, says their menu, and they explained that they don’t encourage children nor students to eat there, to keep it a romantic and special ‘spoiling’ restaurant for couples. They serve 250g ‘grade A steak’ with chips and a salad, and one can order sides. They have a small Café Prive too for special dinner parties. They describe themselves as ‘salt and pepper chefs’, and guests praise their ‘eerlike kos’. Snails cost R42 as a starter, 250g Rump and Sirloin R89, Fillet R105, and beef schnitzel R65. 600g of pork ribs cost R85. Cordon Bleu costs R89, beef burgers R 45, and hake and chips R45. Can seat up to 60 inside and outside. Monday – Saturday dinner. 111 Main Road, Wellington. Tel (021) 873-5075
· Kristies belongs to the same owners as Vino’s, and is a day-time coffee shop, catering for local pensioners and students, their dish of the day (e.g. bobotie, chicken pie, tomato bredie) priced at R35 being hugely popular, discounted to R30 per day for regulars. Menu changed every week. Cooked Breakfasts from R20 – R45. Hamburgers and chips R40/R45. Lasagne and Curry and rice R25. Platters and free fruit in back garden in summer. It recently relocated to its new location, from Church Street. Monday – Saturday breakfast and lunch, 8h00 – 17h00. 111 Main Road, Wellington. Tel (021) 873-5075
· The Stone Kitchen on Dunstone opened over a year ago, with Johan van Schalkwyk as chef, but he left to open his own restaurant three months ago. Owner and Chef Alli Wallace is now in charge. Supplies from the Estate vegetable garden, and guavas, grapes and lemons too. Winelist only has Dunstone wines, including Shiraz, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Blackboard menu, with chicken pie (R85), venison casserole (R85), own-made thyme, marjoram and rosemary pork sausage (R65), fresh baked bread (baguette, ciabatta, rye, bagels and croissants) barrel boards at about R55, starters in two sizes/prices, desserts around R40. Special children’s menu. Picnics to be offered in guava orchard, with live music, on weekends from November, with a childminder service. Spit braais once a month on family Sundays, starting on 14 October. Very friendly manager Rosanne. Bovlei Road, Tel (021) 873-6770. Twitter: @StoneKitchen10 @Dunstone Wednesday – Sunday 9h00 – 16h00
· Twist Some More is the interesting name of the new restaurant of charming Chef Johan van Schalkwyk, and he is proudly Wellington in sourcing his supplies of wild boar, rabbit, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, and more locally. He is also slowly building up a Deli section to his restaurant, which will stock a cross-section of Wellington produce. He is already stocking a granola mix, honey, olives and oils, charcuterie, cheeses, cordials, dried porcini mushrooms, nuts, dried fruit, cakes, cupcakes, scones, rusks, and muffins. Extensive innovative blackboard menu, with cooked breakfasts at about R55, starters at about R45, mains range from R65 for a wild boar burger to R115 for aged T-bone steak, desserts R45. Winelist Proudly Wellington. Hexberg Road, Bovlei. Tel (021) 864-1467. Twitter @ChefTwist. Wednesday – Saturday dinner, Wednesday – Sunday open from 10h00.
· No 6 Restaurant at Welbedacht is a restaurant which opened in August in honour of Springbok Schalk Burger, who wears the number 6 rugby jersey, and who grew up on this wine estate. Its table number 6 is for 6 guests, and is the best table in the house, closest to the fireplace. A chef’s table will be set up soon. The restaurant can seat about 80 guests inside and outside, with more guests once they complete a pergola and deck all the way from the restaurant to the tasting room. Tapas will be offered with winetasting. Owned by Susanna and John Tecklenburg, who ran the Oude Wellington for six years. Extensive menu of classics (e.g. Avocado Ritz, ox tongue, Coupe Denmark), Dutch specialities (e.g. Bitterballen), and local dishes such as waterblommetjie soup, presented on black board. Source supplies locally, from Goedehoop butchery in Paarl, and venison comes from Schalk Burger Snr’s farm in the Karoo. Picnics at the dam planned for summer, with an au pair service for the guests’ children. High Tea at about R85 per person from October. Special private function rooms in the cellar. Welbedacht wine estate. Tel 082 836 8924/079 663 4039. Wednesday – Sunday lunch, Wednesday – Saturday dinner.
· One of the best kept secrets of Wellington is the good restaurant at Grand Dedale, which caters for its accommodation guests, and accepts bookings from outsiders subject to demand. Its new chef is Daniel de Villiers, previously with Delaire Graff. I spent a restful weekend there, using it as a base to ‘forage’ the Wellington ‘Restaurant Route’. They serve a 5-course dinner which includes an amuse bouche and cheese selection for a reasonable R350. The highlights I tasted over two dinners were a beef carpaccio with leeks and oyster mushrooms and a horse radish cream salad; Norwegian salmon with braised cabbage, baked crispy potato, mange tout, and a basil sauce, for which a fish knife was served. The most interesting dish was a wild boar lasagne served with a brie sauce, the first time that I had tasted this. I was expecting a wild taste, but it was not prominent. Grand Dedale owner Angelo Casu told me that they use wild boar for carpaccio, mince, and sausage.
Breakfasts are equally generous, with a range of cereals, a fresh fruit salad, two choices of yoghurt, a selection of nuts, honey, freshly squeezed juices, cappuccino, cold meats, cheeses, rolls, freshly baked bread, and a selection of wonderful cooked breakfasts, the Wellington Breakfast consisting of ingredients all sourced in Wellington, being free-range eggs from the Bovlei valley, back bacon from Vrugbaar butchery, sautéed oyster mushrooms from Foxenburg Estate, venison sausage from Bontebok Ridge Reserve, and fresh garden tomatoes. Other options are scrambled free-range eggs, with smoked salmon roses, capers and crème fraiche; omelettes with venison sausage; sautéed spinach, oyster mushrooms, Buffalo Ridge feta cheese; as well as crepes. The salmon on rosti was a beautiful breakfast addition, and tasty too!
Grand Dedale, Doolhof wine estate. Tel (021) 873-4089. www.granddedale.com Twitter: @GrandDedale
If there is anything to fault about all the Wellington restaurants, then it is that their portions are massive. Their customers are not complaining! It will be interesting to see how Wellington’s restaurants develop, with the excellent quality and variety of produce coming from this fertile town.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage