A farm to table experience at Eight Restaurant at Spier

Words: Crush

Dining at Eight restaurant is possibly the best way to fully experience the values and see the vision of Spier come together. It is here that the principles of balance, cycles, harmony, infinity and abundance really culminate, not only in the food served, but also in the décor and the approach to how things are done. Executive Chef Charl Coetzee prepares a menu of simple, yet refined country-style dishes that highlight the incredible ingredients he has access to, many of which come directly from the farm itself. Vegetables are grown, and cattle and egg laying hens are reared on site, so visitors will enjoy a real farm-to-table meal.

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As of October 2014, the vegetable patch that used to grow on the property behind Spier, has moved to a more visible position alongside the newly restored ‘werf’. This used to be the home of the rose garden and, while some remain, it has been largely replaced by a selection of herbs and vegetables under the watchful eye of garden manager, John Turner. One of the main reasons for moving the garden is for it to be more visible and accessible to visiting guests. Watching the activity of the garden and what it takes to cultivate this produce, the intention behind this becomes quickly apparent. Seeing it in action plays an important role in people understanding where their food comes from and why it is so precious. Although the garden is currently not big enough to fully support the two on site restaurants, it does provide chefs Charl Coetzee and Lorraine Heyns with fresh herbs and vegetables, as and when they are harvested. This produce is excitedly received by the kitchens and is incorporated into dishes daily. As chef Charl tells us “most chefs would be envious of this kind of fresh produce.” The garden is also is a source of unusual ingredients that are not easy to come by, and John takes pride in his flourishing wild rocket, golden beets and kohlrabi.

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Ingredients such as chives, gorgeous tomatoes of all shapes and rich colours and lettuces are harvested in the morning and sent straight to Eight Restaurant. Chef Charl uses these ingredients to plate a fresh tomato dish, with local cheese and watercress salad – bursting with vibrant colour and juicy summer flavour. It just doesn’t get fresher than that!

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Besides the burgeoning vegetable garden, the farm-to-table practice also includes the beef and eggs used in the restaurant. Herds of Inguni, Limousine and Angus cattle casually free-roam the pastures managed by Farmer Angus. The cattle are moved twice a day in a process called high density grazing, which ensures a faster growing process of the pastures, which improves carbon absorption. The cattle are all grass-fed and hormone free.

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Laying hens also potter around the fields with their mobile homes nearby. These large, and seemingly immobile units, are in fact hooked up to a tractor and moved from field to field daily for the same grazing purpose. The chickens spend their days roaming and eating under the watchful eye of a farm attendant, who is on the lookout for predators like Rooikat… which happen to have a penchant for poultry.

The veggie patch and pastures are fed with worm compost made on the farm and all biodegradable waste is composted and returned to the soil, completing the cyclical sequence of sustainability.It is easy to claim a farm-to-table existence, but this is the opportunity to actually see it in motion, bringing the understanding of it full circle.

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The restaurant menu changes as often as the available produce does, but look out for favourites that pop up. The meat tasting plate includes sweetbread paté en croute, oxtail, roast beef, biltong, brisket, pickles, mustard and bread and will give you a taste of this beautiful, pasture-reared beef. If you want to pop in for brunch, try the Caesar’s Breakfast, which combines a quintessential Caesar salad with Eight’s famous eggs benedict. Farm-fresh, free range eggs at their very best!

There is no doubt that there is a distinct difference in the flavour and quality of this kind of produce and having it prepared and served to you at Eight restaurant, is an experience you simply must have for yourself.

Open Tuesday – Sunday: Brunch 10h00 – 12h00 & Tea 15h00 – 15h00

Thursday – Saturday: Dinner

Available for private functions

Call 021 809 1100 for reservations or enquiries

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