What a beautiful place. I was looking for a memorable place to take family visiting from overseas for lunch on a wine farm coupled with a wine tasting.
The restaurant at Haute Cabrière is exquisite. You arrive into the parking area and you’re greeted by the most spectacular view of the mountains behind the estate, and a tranquil, picturesque lake that completely distracts you from the hour’s journey you just made from the city. After you’re done taking pictures, you move into the restaurant which is a glass box overlooking a view that makes you feel like you’re floating in the mountains above the vineyards.
The menu, service and food are on a par with the first impression. Pricing is reasonable considering the quality of the food, and it’s so simple – R320 for two courses, R390 for 3 courses, so basically, make one decision up front and then the rest is up to your personal preference. If you can’t decide, the waitron staff will help you and their recommendations were bang on.
There were 7 of us and the table they arranged for us gave everybody a view of the dreamy landscape. Service was wonderfully friendly, and the staff are very knowledgeable about both the wines and the menu. There are wine pairing suggestions with every item on the menu which you can order by the glass, or you can order by the bottle. We chose to do a best guess bottle selection rather than go with the glass by glass thing using the pairing suggestions as a guide.
Our guests were highly impressed with the level of fine dining and gazing across that view, we couldn’t have chosen a better combination. The food was excellent – not a single complaint except that everything was so perfect we didn’t want it to end.
A note for those who take their wine seriously – Haute Cabriere is better known for its Chardonnays, bubbly and Rosè, so lower your expectations for the reds, the standard is definitely not up there with the rest of the fare. We had the Pinot Noir Rosé 2022 and the Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2021 with starters. The table favorite was the rosé. With mains we had the Arnim Family Reserve 2019 and the Amohora Chardonnay 2020. This Chardonnay is unusual because it is matured in a clay amphora, not in stainless steel or wood, so it has an unusual presence on the palette, like the aromas you’d smell walking through a damp underground cave – very pleasant, and very interesting – definitely worth a try. The red was good, but not compelling. With dessert I snuck a glass of the Ratafia while no-one was looking and it was delicious. We ordered a case of it between us.
Pictured below is just about everything on the menu. The complimentary bread board was excellent, worthy of a mention. It came with a herbed butter and a parsley oil. Give me that as a starter any day of the week. The butter complimented the Amphora Chardonnay perfectly. My favorite starter was the French Onion Soup. For mains I had the Pan Fried Trout which was superb. Dessert was a majority round of Malva Pudding, and one brave soul tried the sago panacotta. I’m not a huge fan of sago even in a fine dining restaurant but it was the prettiest and most colourful dish. My wife had the Praline Tart which was also decadently delicious. Only negative about dessert was that the Malva needed a little something to cut through the warm richness – a quenelle of ice cream or a dollop of custard.
It doesn’t get much better that for a combination of excellent food and a room with a view.