Country Cuisine with a Contemporary Twist at The Manor House Restaurant, Stanford

Words: Julie Velosa

If you’re looking for a true country culinary experience you need not go any further than the lovely town of Stanford. The Manor House Restaurant is part of the Stanford Valley Guest Farm and it is here that you can be assured of a delicious plate of food, served in a cosy environment where personal attention and service are hallmarks.

The restaurant and farm are owner-managed by lovely couple, Reinder and Elsabe Nauta, and they have injected their own personal warmth and personality into the venue. Walking into the restaurant elicits oohs and aahs; the high beamed roof, the open face brick wall and beautiful olive green subway tiles in the kitchen area create something way beyond country charm.

It feels as though you are walking into the busy home of a well-loved friend and you will be greeted as such too.

The area is warmed by crackling fireplaces and this warmth is carried through in the very personal but unobtrusive service. All of this is set against the backdrop of heavenly aromas wafting through from the kitchen. It’s like something out of a storybook. The restaurant also overlooks the farm’s extensive grounds and looks onto the Akkedisberg mountain range, a view that can be enjoyed from windows that reach from one side of the restaurant to the other. Picture perfect is a pretty accurate way to describe it.

The menu is simple and therein lies the secret. For winter, Chef Madre Malan has created dishes that are comforting and satisfying, which is exactly what you want on a cold evening in the valley. To start, our table collectively had the bobotie spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, the spring rolls were crispy and filled with a delicately spiced mince mix. We also enjoyed the deep fried spiced onion with chive and spring onion yoghurt and the prawn, chorizo and fresh chilli risotto. Risotto can easily trip the most experienced cook up but not this one. It was perfectly cooked, creamy with a hint of chilli zing and was just simply delicious.

For mains, there was some deliberation as so many things sounded appealing, with hearty braised dishes feeling like the perfect country fare.

We settled on the braised oxtail with creamy mash and seasonal vegetables and the slow roast lamb shoulder on a bed of creamy roasted garlic polenta, as both sounded too good to pass up. Both dishes delivered with generous portions and beautifully tender meat that had been slow cooked with love. At the table, we also had the delicious homemade beef burger with local cheese and caramelised onions, which we opted to have served atop a black mushroom.

The dish of the day for us, however, was the pork belly, served with a teriyaki glaze on pak choi with a cranberry, red onion and fennel salad. The belly was exceptionally well-cooked with a crispy, well-rendered layer of crackling sitting atop juicy, flavoursome pork. The addition of the sweet and tangy teriyaki glaze just elevating it. Every bite was an absolute pleasure.

The Whale Coast is known for producing excellent wine and the wine list at The Manor House Restaurant is comprehensive. It showcases some of the best wines from the area and you’ll be hard pressed to choose. We chose a bottle of Raka Quinary to have with our meal and enjoyed it so much that we headed to the farm (just up the road) the next day to buy a few bottles to take home.

Although we would have loved to have had dessert, there simply wasn’t space, but we know we’ll be back again soon and that will be on the cards for sure.

If you have the time to stay over at Stanford Valley Guest Farm we highly recommend that you do so, that way you can make your way back to your room with a full belly and have a good night’s rest. If not, be sure to make the time to stop in at the Manor House Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it will be well worth it. You’ll no doubt leave with a full tummy and a sense of having experienced something really special. | Facebook | Instagram

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