On Saturday I had my second meal at De Vleispaleis on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch, having first dined at the Grillroom and Bar in December.
A number of changes have been made since then to the menu, a Fine Meat Deli has been introduced, and a 4-course R199 Set Menu launches on Thursday 1 April.
Co-owner Stuart Bailey has been a busy man during the Lockdown, opening two restaurants within two months late last year: De Vleispaleis on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch , and Fat Harry’s in Kenilworth. He has a long established pedigree in the restaurant industry, having spent his career in restaurants, starting at Cattle Baron, co-owning the restaurants in the Hussar Grill Group before they were bought by the Spur Corporation, running the Operations of the Harbour House Group, as well as of Cowboys & Cooks, this journey finally leading him to run his own businesses, with the support of a business partner. Stuart has a new Junior partner in the business, a rescue dog called Max, offering a loving greeting to diners, and dutifully following Stuart.
Stuart did the interior design of De Vleispaleis, creating different seating sections: outside on a deck under the oak trees in Dorp Street, and two separate dining sections inside. He has introduced a number of different design elements, including a beautiful back wall covered with wallpaper especially made for the restaurant from an image supplied by Stuart. Colours of chairs are strong yellow, red, purple, green, and a turquoise couch adds another strong colour touch. Bull head decorations are seen throughout the restaurant, as well as framed fun images of cows adding a touch of modernity.
The Covid compliance meets the regulations when one arrives, and a small bottle of sanitiser is on each table with the condiments. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotel Ware. Branded napkins are on each sideplate, into which the cutlery is wrapped, the cutlery and a fresh serviette offered for each course.
Stuart showed me the two meat fridges in the restaurant, with pre-packed meat cuts, with various steak options such as rump, sirloin and flatiron steaks, as well as whole fillets and sirloins. Wagyu Boerewors and hamburger patties are offered too. Even Biltong can be bought. The Fine Meat Deli operates seven days a week, from 12h00, until 21h30 (until 16h00 on Sundays). Price examples are R229 per kg for beef fillet, R169 per kg for Rump, R180 per kg for Sirloin and Flatiron steaks, Wagyu Beef Rib Eye at R950 per kg, and R285 per kg of Beef Biltong.
Stuart wanted me to try the new De Vleispaleis Set Menu, offering four courses and a glass of wine at R199, available to diners from 1 April, an unbelievable offer and not an April Fool’s Day joke! The courses I tried were the following:
#. Amuse Bouche of chipolata, a mini Boerewors, beautifully presented in a silver bowl. In the evenings the Amuse Bouche is a Vetkoek Tapas served with brown onion gravy.
# A hearty Boontjiesop (Bean Soup) made with butter beans, sugar beans, and red kidney beans, the hearty soup made with thyme and bone marrow stock, and served with two hot delicious mini rolls sourced from Mano Bakery, and rendered Wagyu Beef dripping lard, the first time that I have eaten the latter. I found the soup portion to be far too generous, especially as there was a steak to follow. The soup will be perfect for chilly winter days to come. Two alternatives can be ordered: Battered and fried Calamari, or Dutch Bitterballen.
# I was served a flatiron steak, my first such cut, served sliced, a beautiful soft Medium Rare piece of meat, with its own basting, and accompanied with crispy double fried chips, Bordelaise sauce, and the vegetable sides of butternut and cream of spinach. As I had to drive back to Cape Town, I declined the glass of wine (choice of Laborie Merlot or Shiraz) which accompanies this course. The steak was such a generous portion with the accompaniments, that I took half of it back home with me. Kingklip with Café De Paris is an alternative to the flatiron steak.
# The meal is finished off with a Melktertjie shot, an unusual combination of condensed milk, buttermilk, Ideal milk, with cinnamon.
I love Chocolate Mousse, so Stuart indulged my request for their Jack Daniels Chocolate Mousse, a lovely end to my meal. It is not part of the Set Menu offering.
De Vleispaleis is starting to make a name for itself in Stellenbosch, offering excellent quality meats at excellent prices, served in a very chic stylish interior. The waitron service was friendly and efficient. Stuart is in the restaurant on most days, interacting with diners, giving the dining experience a personal touch. It is unique, unlike other steakhouse chain outlets.
De Vleispaleis Grillroom & Bar, 56 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Tel 021 879-2356 www.devleispaleis.co.za Facebook: De Vleispaleis Instagram: @devleispaleis Monday – Sunday, from 12h00 until 21h30 (16h00 on Sundays)
Disclosure: Stuart Bailey is a friend of mine.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide