The Gourmet Shed outside Clarens is a worthy pit stop for hungry travellers in search of the finest local fare. The converted sandstone barn offers a unique restaurant and country-style feasting in a very scenic part of the Eastern Free State highlands. Think of tables of meaty treats, fresh fruit and vegetables, and melktert (milk tart) like ouma (granny) used to make.

Did you know?

The Maluti Mountains and Lesotho are just over the border from Clarens.

The Gourmet Shed, a few kilometres from Clarens in the Eastern Free State, is exactly what you'd expect to find when visiting a picturesque country town known for its artistic sensibilities and local treats. Located in converted stables on a farm, the setting couldn’t be more regional.

Clarens is a haven for small and independent entrepreneurs, cooks, craftsmen and artists who have forsaken their various Gothams to find inspiration, tranquillity and good weekend business in the Free State surrounds.

The Gourmet Shed is situated on the farm Columbia, just 5km from Clarens and close to the famed Golden Gate National Park with its dramatic sandstone sentinels and outcrops – the perfect area for a slow, scenic drive that offers visual surprises around most corners.

And, of course, it's the perfect setting for a meal.

Restaurants in Clarens and its surrounds are pretty popular, and The Gourmet Shed is certainly one of the gems. It is a great spot to take some time out, and is a bit like going to visit family on a farm and who've prepared a knock-out, country-style feast for you.

Small, tasty titbits start you off (think home-made focaccia with trout pâté, guacamole and caramelised onions). You then graduate to packed-with-flavour barbecued offerings (rump kebabs), before ending with a satisfying dessert, such as gourmet milk tart with a streusel topping.

If you know anything about Free State cooking, you know you can look forward to some of the best grilled lamb in the country – beef too – along with salads with substance, bread with character and decadent desserts. It's all very satisfying and authentically local, with a nod or two to continental influences.

And before leaving, explore the gardens, and choose some organic vegetables and free-range eggs to take away with you.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Gourmet Shed
Tel: +27 (0)73 279 9542
Email: annali.bossert@gmail.com

How to get here

The restaurant is about 5km out of Clarens on the farm Columbia, along the S1028.

Best time to visit

The Gourmet Shed is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm until about 5pm (or until the last guests leave). It will open and cater for large groups during the week. It is also availability for weddings, parties and special occasions.

Around the area

The town of Clarens with its galleries, restaurants, coffee shops and curio shops is definitely worth a visit, as is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The drive between Clarens and nearby Fouriesburg is particularly picturesque.

Tours to do

Take a tour through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

Get around

Having your own car allows you the freedom to explore the area.

What will it cost

A three-course set menu costs around R145 per person.

Where to stay

There is a wide range of accommodation in the form of guest houses and B&Bs in the Clarens area. You can also stay over at the Golden Gate National Park.

What to eat

A little bit of everything ... Free State meat is very good and the milk tart is a traditional favourite.