The iconic fountain courtyard on Stellenbosch’s Waterford Estate has always enchanted visitors passing through for their wine tastings. Now, with the addition of Salt at Waterford, guests can bask in the glow of Stellenbosch’s gorgeous autumnal weather and indulge in the rustic fare of chefs Craig Cormack and Beau du Toit.
The duo, who previously helmed the restaurant at Paul Cluver, now take up residence within the terracotta, Tuscan-inspired property where they offer up a casual, contemporary, three-course menu. It’s unpretentious, no-nonsense cooking that serves up bold flavours in generous portions — perfectly accompanying the beautiful Waterford wine selection. The menu is hyper-seasonal and changes based on what the chefs have available to cook with during any given week.
Cormack’s philosophy is, “Cook with flavour, keep it simple, and use your ingredients to their best potential.’’ And that’s exactly what they do.
Lunch begins with a sharing board of starters — it’s chef ’s choice here and changes daily. Our salt-slab board arrived piled high with freshly baked bread accompanied by whipped butter, a spiced aubergine dip, flaky spanakopita, and moreish pumpkin fritters. Mains are an elaborate affair, and each dish is served with a glass of estate wine together with a farinaceous side — that’s starch for us laypeople. This week it’s a simple but stunning handmade tagliatelle with a dusting of parmesan and chives, a wonderful twist on the classic side dish. Go for the likes of the seared-line fish bouillabaisse with smoked mussel, chorizo salsa, and crispy aubergines, recommended with the Waterford Estate Grenache Noir 2018. Or perhaps the crispy pork-belly salad with the 2018 Chardonnay.
When it’s time for something sweet, the dessert offering, while concise, is sure to have something for every palate. The Heatherleigh and biscotti — the estate’s dessert wine served alongside the classically Tuscan almond biscuit — is a clever nod to the estate’s design and a fabulous pairing of their hanepoot-dominant dessert wine. Those looking for something more conventional should opt for the pear tart aux fine or the affogato of home-churned ice cream.
Overall, a meal to remember and a superb addition to the celebrated farm’s expertly curated offering; Cormack and Du Toit’s hearty cooking perfectly complementing the convivial spirit and expert service for which Waterford Estate has become known.
• Salt at Waterford is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30-15:30. For bookings call 021-880-5300
• From the May edition of Wanted, 2021.