I recently received an invitation to come over for lunch at The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg Wine Estate. This place serves bistro food – one of my favourite ways to eat. So I rounded up my husband and daughter and headed for the magnificent wine countryside on the outskirts of Paarl.
Nederburg is a majestic estate dating back to 1791. They have won numerous awards for their wines over the decades, and remain one of the top wine estates in the Cape Winelands. The estate really is pristine, and the setting of The Red Table Restaurant is breathtaking – expansive and luscious lawns, huge oak trees, beautifully restored Cape Dutch architecture and a general feeling that someone is looking after the place very well.
I ordered the smoked salmon crostinis with fromage blanc and Schalk had the duck confit salad with beetroot, orange and baby spinach. I initially also wanted to order the duck salad, but being a trout monger I had to check out the quality of their smoked salmon. The crostinis were nice, but it was the duck salad that completely blew me away. It was probably the best salad I’ve tasted in the past year, and the combination of the orange segments, roast beetroot and baby spinach made it an absolute winning dish. I will definitely go back for more, as you can also order this as a main meal.
For our main course I ordered the free range sirloin steak with fries and Bearnaise sauce. On recommendation of our waitress, Schalk ordered the venison burger with avo and caramelised onions, served with sweet potato batons.
Although my steak was slightly sinewy, the Bearnaise sauce was magnificent and the matchstick fries were delightful. Schalk’s burger was like the duck confit salad – just superb. The bun was just the right consistency and perfectly toasted, the pattie was juicy and generous, and the sweet potatoes were scrumptious (baked and deep fried!).
We ended off the meal with a chocolate fondant for me and an upside down cheesecake for Schalk. I don’t know what Schalk did right that day, but his choices ended up tops every time!
Overall, our experience at The Red Table was relaxing and indulgent. It is a great place to go for families with kids and there’s enough space for even the most energetic of youngsters to run their hearts out without disturbing the rest of the diners at the top of the restaurant (they also have a delicious gourmet kids menu). For rainy days, the restaurant has a beautifully spacious interior. The service was attentive and genuinely friendly, our waitress was very well informed and the manageress maintained a helpful presence (at all the tables) throughout our time there. Although their seasonal menu changes often, I will most certainly go back for the magnificent duck confit salad and the venison burger – both dishes are truly fantastic.
Looking back at the menu, there was a quote by Laurie Colwin on the first page in red letters that remained in my thoughts after leaving The Red Table: “One of life’s delights is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.” Puts a smile on my face every time!
Prices for starters from R50, mains from R95 and dessert from R35.
All images supplied by The Red Table Restaurant. And yes, the meals really look like they do on the pictures!