Chef Kevin Grobler Launches Summer Menu at The Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

Words: Julie Velosa

The iconic Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and what better way  to mark this momentous occasion than with the launch of a new summer menu. Unfurling from the constraints of a challenging Covid period, the revamped restaurant, led by Chef Kevin Grobler, spreads its wings with a sparkling new look and an elegant new menu, offering guests a gloriously opulent space in which to dine.

The Restaurant at Grande Roche

The restaurant is housed within the main hotel building and the new interior sets the standard for the dining experience. A suitably grand entrance way leads guests into the space; a backdrop of mirrored black cabinetry and seating is punctuated by feature gold accents and upholstery, with glittering crystal chandeliers overhead that just ooze grandeur.

A New Era with Chef Kevin Grobler at the Helm

Chef Kevin Grobler, previously of Delaire Graff and JAN in Nice, France, has used the downtime during Covid to develop and perfect a menu that celebrates this new chapter. Visiting for lunch to celebrate this occasion, we had the opportunity to sample some of his new creations. chef-kevin-grobler Grande Roche restaurant

To kick off the event we enjoyed the ‘Pearl of Paarl’ cocktail, created in partnership with the SA Brandy Foundation, to mark this special occasion of the hotel’s 30th anniversary.

Featuring notes of buchu, this take on a sours is made with local pot still brandy. The signature drink, garnished with a mini meringue, set the stage for a stunning afternoon.

pearl of paarl cocktail
Grande Roche restaurant lounge

The Food

To start the lunch, a beautiful plate of glossy mosbolletjies, fresh bread and nut paté was served. While it’s never a good thing to fill up on carbs right off the bat, it’s virtually impossible not to when it’s laid down in front of you, along with a perfect quenelle of fresh farm butter garnished with sea salt.

In conversation with Chef Kevin he told us he is happy to leave the cultivation of quality produce to the experts, preferring to spend his time conceptualising and creating in the kitchen. He sources from a variety of local suppliers to bring the very best seasonal ingredients to the menu.

The first course was a cured and lightly smoked sea bass, which was the ideal way to start off a meal, on what felt like one of the first true days of summer. Alongside the fish was baby cos lettuce, accompanied by confit garlic aioli, hay gel, hay cream and dill oil.grande-roche-fish

Served with this was Under Oaks Chardonnay, a wine that is produced by the owners of the hotel and was the perfect accompaniment for this course.

I am always excited to see pork belly as a main dish, and this did not disappoint. A deliciously sweet and sticky Char sui-style BBQ pork belly was accompanied by a medley of corn preparations. A corn purée added a smokey note, with tartness from pickled corn, charred corn and popcorn, with macerated gooseberries for sweetness and pork crackling adding a textural crunch.

Grobler spent his formative years under the tutelage of master saucier, Chef Michael Broughton, so it’s no surprise that the dish is brought together by a glossy and perfectly executed jus.

Char Sui POrk at Grande Roche restaurant

After a rich main like that, dessert of rum-marinated pineapple was a refreshing finale, with dulcey namalaka, seabuckthorn gel, seabuckthorn sorbet and a tart yoghurt spuma. A tongue twisting mouthful both in name and flavour!

Visitors to the restaurant will find these dishes on the new menu, as well as a divine selection of other options like Prawn Ravioli in Bisque, Beef Sirloin and White Chocolate mousse for a satisfying sweet ending. The menu caters for all palates and the toughest part will be in choosing what to have.

Make a Meal of It at Grande Roche Hotel & Restaurant

The opulent surroundings of the hotel and the impeccable service make it feel ideal for a celebratory meal, yet in the daytime, with tables on the stoep and the views beyond the swaying palms of the Paarl mountains, it feels equally ideal for a relaxed Winelands meal.view from stoep Grande Roche restaurant

With what promises to be a jam-packed season ahead, we suggest you book your table for an elevated dining experience at the restaurant at Grande Roche. Whether you’re celebrating something special, or just treating yourself, it’s safe to say we’ve all earned it, right?

Kitchen Opening Times

BREAKFAST 08h00 – 10h30
LUNCH 12h00 – 14h30
DINNER 18h00 – 20h30

The Grande Roche Hotel & Restaurant,  1 Plantasie St, Paarl | 021 863 5100 | Email

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