Did you know?De Rust Estate forms part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a vast diversity of plant species.
'Uncomplicated yet unforgettable' best describes the menu choices at Fresh, a restaurant on the De Rust Estate in the Elgin Valley, where the Cluver family have been making wine for many years. The estate is fortunate in its exquisite views of the Groenland mountains.
The force behind Fresh is Joan Lancefield, whose unfussy country food has proved to be just what guests want. The restaurant was in fact voted by Eat Out magazine to be the best country-style restaurant in South Africa in 2012.
The seating style in this stone-floored, rustic restaurant with large picture windows is sociable and informal at shared trestles (made from blue gum trees). The kitchen is open, so you can keep an eye on the preparation of your meal, watching the combination of organic ingredients, harvested from the vegetable garden or orchard on the estate, or from farms in the neighbourhood.
Multiple varieties of figs, lemons and tomatoes are grown on site.
You can expect three or four starters, three or four cooked dishes and a few salads to choose from. Some Fresh specialities are a fig and gorgonzola dish with Parma ham, gourmet burgers, pies and the freshest of salads.
Daily specials are chalked up on a blackboard. Menus are predicted by the seasons and by Lancefield's own creativity; she simply hates fussy food and is inspired by the famous Yotam Ottolenghi who 'preaches' that taste is everything. You'll soon find this out when you order one of her delicious dishes.
Those who love healthy fare will adore her legendary salads and while she prefers preparing delicious healthy meals, she is not averse to indulgence in terms of gorgeous deserts using the bounty of the Elgin Valley as inspiration.
Fresh will also prepare picnic baskets for enjoyment on the lawns – just think: gorgeous cheeses, plump olives, and a range of other local delicacies all married to the best Cape wines. This option is popular for concerts held at the estate’s ampitheatre.
This restaurant is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 09h00 - 16h00, serving breakfasts, teas and lunches. Special functions can be organised by arrangement. Fresh closes in the winter months from June through to August and opens again in September with the arrival of spring.
The 2 000-hectare De Rust Estate is worth exploring. Besides the vineyards and cellar, there are apple and pear orchards, a Hereford stud operation and eco-tourism activities.