The Bistro at Brookdale A Boutique Farm Restaurant in Paarl

Winona Griggs

Discover the Bistro at Brookdale: A Hidden Gem for Delicious Lunches in the Winelands

Welcome to the enchanting Brookdale Estate, a true hidden treasure nestled in a secluded valley near Paarl. As you make your way down a winding path, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking scenery, passing by vibrant gardens and rows of flourishing vines. Just as you begin to cross a quaint bridge over a babbling mountain stream, your senses will tingle with anticipation.

Climbing up from the bridge, you’ll find a remarkable sight: the Bistro at Brookdale, a brand-new culinary haven surrounded by the beauty of nature. Thoughtfully designed with natural stone, this charming establishment boasts an understated elegance that perfectly complements its surroundings. Stepping inside, you’ll immediately notice a grand wall mural adorned with towering pine trees, creating a serene atmosphere reminiscent of the picturesque view from the spacious verandah. Feast your eyes on the sweeping vineyard below, framed by a lush green escarpment dotted with majestic pine trees. The tranquil symphony of bird songs fills the air, providing a serene backdrop to your experience at this working winery.

Let me introduce you to the chef

Hi there! My name is Chef Gary Coetzee, and alongside my wife Yvonne, who is the General Manager, we are thrilled to welcome you to our farm. We’ve been a part of this amazing place since we joined owner Tim Rudd in 2020. Being immersed in the farm life has been an incredible journey for us.

Initially, I started by cooking for guests in the Manor House, which is often booked as an exclusive use villa. But soon, I realized that I had bigger dreams. I approached Tim with the idea of building a restaurant, and to my surprise, he agreed! I said, “Tim, I can’t just look after 12 guests and cook breakfast every morning. Let’s create something more.”

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Before coming here, I gathered a wealth of experience in understanding people’s cravings. I spent 10 years at Singita Sabi Sands, where I perfected my culinary skills. After that, I worked as a private chef for the Kerzner family at their stunning Leeukoppie Hout Bay property. And now, I’m excited to share my passion for food with you.

At Brookdale, we serve delicious dishes that are beautifully presented, yet unpretentious. We believe that our food should be something you can enjoy day after day. That’s why I call our approach “chic bistro.” It’s all about creating a memorable dining experience for you.

Welcome to our chic bistro at Brookdale

“I’m curious. I want to go on a food adventure with you: changing the menu frequently and reflecting the farm setting,” says Gary. The first menu is sprinkled with references to the grape harvest (mosbolletjies with our bread course; grapes in a delicious yellowtail Veronique dish; and an interesting vine-leaf gelato that cuts through the richness of a decadent chocolate fondant with grape-scented acidity).

We were amazed by our appetizers – fragrantly spiced beetroot pavé with onion bhaji and cling peach; and chargrilled lettuce with creamy wakame (kelp) and cashew dressing (resembling a Caesar salad) – it wasn’t until later that we realized both were completely plant-based (as is an incredibly tempting cauliflower risotto). Gary’s expertise in creating robust flavors allows the ingredients to truly shine.

And guess what? They’ve got plenty to make all you meat-lovers out there happy too (with meat sourced from the one and only Ryan Boon): there’s oxtail tortellini, a succulent pork chop with a smoky cider sauce, tender confit duck with sweet potato and ginger, and a juicy beef rib-eye with onion soubise. When I went there, they didn’t have a separate menu for kids, but the kitchen was more than willing to make any adjustments to the dishes on the menu to cater to children’s tastes. And trust me, their simply delicious chicken Parmigiana is a surefire winner for all ages.

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Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

Marinèsha Moore, the talented pastry chef, knows how to balance sweetness and acidity to perfection. She’ll treat you to a heavenly coffee hazelnut tart paired with a touch of grapefruit compote and a scoop of rum gelato. And wait till you try her innovative vine-leaf gelato, it’s absolutely delightful!

Gary, the mastermind behind it all, is brimming with ideas for the future. No doubt, the Bistro at Brookdale is a place you’ll want to keep coming back to.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind There’s no sign for Brookdale from the main road (not yet anyway!). Just look out for the Hawequa Bos Pad road sign and follow the dirt road up into the mountains.
Opening Hours Tuesday – Thursday, 12pm – 5pm
Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
Contact Information 087 183 3919, bistro@brookdale-estate.com
Location Brookdale Estate, Hawequa Bos Pad, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl

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