Waterkloof is a mixture of many arts – incredible architecture, pure art, wine and food & an incredible appreciation of the source of all art, nature.
It has been said that there is a spaceship that has perched itself neatly on a hill just outside of Somerset West. Take a winding road from the old Sir Lowry’s Pass Road and if it’s after dark, follow the lights up a black ribbon-like road that folds, flaps and wraps itself through indigenous fynbos plants high up around curved hills.
Electronic gates slide back as one approaches the spectacular, otherworldly structure made of concrete, glass and strings of light. Efficient looking men and ladies man the interior with electronic tablets strapped to the end of their arms – apparently for taking orders. The electronic door silently seals itself behind us. I clasp my light saber a little tighter!
We are met by a very welcoming and what would be confirmed, very human, manager at the entrance to the multiple-volume, ultra-modern restaurant space. Not to mention the building would be like not telling you about the Death by Valrohna chocolate dessert. It’s the first artwork you will be presented with when dining at the Waterkloof restaurant, and fundamental to the spectacular experience of dining there.
Tall sheets of glass cascade down the perimeter of the building, held in place by steel struts taking in the distant sparkle of the Strand strip and eventually, the darkness of False Bay at night. Although magical at night, one can only presume the view heart-stoppingly beautiful by day. The restaurant tables are drawn close to the glass walls and on cold evenings the vast circular fireplace adds warmth and soul to the centre of the very modern structure.
The kitchen opens out into the central room and helps to connect one to the preparation of the food. There are views of tanks and barrels behind glass walls to remind you that you are dining on a wine estate. A stunning collection of contemporary art hangs on concrete walls.
Enter artwork two, three, four and five!
French chef, Gregory Czarnecki, presented the table with an amuse bouche of spicy Gluwein Poached Grapes with a swish of Sweet Pear Purée plated on a dark Revol plate – dramatic to the eyes and so pleasing to the tongue.
Lime Cured Fizantekraal Trout followed. Plated exquisitely with drops of colourful gels and flavours delicately placed on a white plate – wasabi sorbet and roasted beetroot combining the flavours. The most spectacular plating by Chef Czarnecki.
My partner’s starter was a masterful combination of a variety of tomatoes accompanied with tomato water (to sip) and chorizo croquettes. The fresh juicy flavour of the tomato was cut perfectly by the cheese in the croquette.
Our main dish, Magaliesberg Duck Breast, was a delicious plate of spicy Malay flavours. Loads of different textures and bits of sweetness to counter the subtle spices. There was something I hadn’t experienced before which was a spiced, spongy cake-like substance that added another texture and enhanced the spice and soaked up any stray juices.
We accompanied these dishes with the incredibly impressive Circumstance Range of wines. A single grape variety defines each of the wines and a unique symphony of fortuitous circumstances (soil, aspect and altitude) in which that given variety is grown. All these wines come from biodynamic beginnings in the vineyards on Waterkloof. Rather than fight nature, they have decided to work with it as much as possible on the farm.
Panacotta with Caramel Gel and Pecan Nut flavours was a gesture from the chef for dessert and then onto the momentous,Death by Valrohna. This dessert was incredibly beautiful and looked like an explosion of textures – varying tints of deep chocolate colour – splashes and swishes of chocolate coming off the dark plate. The equivalent of an abstract Rothko in emotion with the intensity of a Pollock.
Waterkloof is a mixture of many arts – incredible architecture, pure art, sublime wine and food and an incredible appreciation of the source of all art, nature. It is a cutting-edge establishment with an appreciation for balance in its environment.
So, beam me up again, Scotty – to the sublime world of Waterkloof.