It’s no secret that the Cape-Winelands are a ‘must-see’ in South Africa. Not a wine-drinker? No worries, you can still enjoy this gorgeous piece of heaven as there’s much more to this area than just the fine wines that are well-known around the world. By visiting the Cape Winelands, you can find yourself in a traveller’s paradise with beautiful landscapes, a rich history, heritage buildings and excellent gourmet restaurants.
The Cape-Winelands are beautiful to visit during the spring and summer months, but you don’t want to miss the vibrant colours in autumn and the cosy atmosphere in winter. What’s better than sitting by the fire with a glass of red at a cosy wine estate when it’s freezing outside?
Vegan-friendly wine estates in South Africa?
I haven’t come across a solely vegan wine estate yet, but more and more wine farms offer vegan tasting menus and vegan-friendly wines. A few weekends ago I was invited by Neethlingshof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, to try their vegan options at the restaurant. The wine farm is located in the very heart of the Cape’s Winelands. Flanked by the Bottelary Hills and Papegaaiberg Mountain near Stellenbosch and overlooking False Bay, this beautiful, historic farm offers not only breathtaking scenery, but also a taste of traditional Cape culture blended with influences from both Africa and Europe. The history of Neethlingshof Estate spans more than 300 years.
The Restaurant at Neethlingshof offers a menu of firm family favourites alongside innovative dishes by chef Brendan Stein. The versatility of the venue allows the restaurant to seat guests on the front stoep, under the oak trees overlooking the rose garden with vineyards and mountains as a backdrop, or in the manor house itself. The manor house is divided into 3 separate dining rooms seating up to 30 guests, ideal for intimate, family or private dining. Renowned as a popular wedding & function venue, the Palm Terrace is light and airy with beautiful views of the gardens. Able to accommodate up to 160 guests, it is also ideally suited for product launches, conferences, large lunches and cocktail events.
Head Chef, Brendan Stein, has a wealth of experience gained by working in some of Cape Town’s top restaurants. Brendan worked in Zanzibar, Mozambique and the Maldives before returning to Cape Town where he worked at Cape Point Vineyards, and most recently, Indochine Restaurant at Delaire Graff, before taking on the role of Head Chef at Neethlingshof. Brendan’s cooking style draws from his local and international experience and is influenced by the wide range of establishments he has worked at. “I do not follow a specific type of cuisine or rules, but rather just do what feels right on the plate, for me it’s all about balance and experimentation.” His passion is clear to see in the dishes that he creates, from innovative starters and main courses to tantalizing desserts, using vibrant colours, textures and flavours.
VEGAN OPTIONS AT NEETHLINGSHOF RESTAURANT
The menu at Neethlingshof offers 2 vegan starters and one main course. We enjoyed a phenomenal dessert and chef Brendan considers putting it on the menu if there’s a demand for a vegan dessert. Does he really need to think about it? Give the restaurant some love and create that demand. Who doesn’t like dessert anyway?
• SHITAKE AUBERGINE R80 DELICIOUSLY VEGAN
Miso glazed and fermented shitake mushrooms, sushi rice fritter, grilled aubergine purée, teriyaki, spring onion, sesame
My verdict: It’s hard to describe this dish. I truly enjoyed the explosion of flavours here and can highly recommend this vibrant starter!
• GRILLED ARTICHOKE & FINE BEAN SALAD R70 DELICIOUSLY VEGAN
Balsamic & truffle dressing, rocket, pine nut crumble, confit cherry tomato
My verdict: A wonderful balanced salad with a twist. This was delicious and definitely gets a thumbs up!
• THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY R135 VEGETARIAN/VEGAN OPTION AVAILABLE Aubergine, broccoli, water chestnuts, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, fragrant rice
My verdict:The main dish, an aromatic Thai-style curry is the perfect winter-warmer dish and I loved the flavourful combination of vegetables used in this curry.
• CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Meringue (aquafaba), berries, beetroot
My verdict: The star of the show was this delicious dessert. The presentation, soft chocolate mousse and meringue were simply outstanding. Really hope chef Brendan will put this on the menu..
VEGAN-FRIENDLY WINES AT NEETHLINGSHOF
As per chef, Brendan Stein, all of the red wines are vegan-friendly and of the whites, only the 2019 vintages and onward will now be vegan. That’s fantastic news! So next time you decide to visit the Stellenbosch Winelands on a weekend, take that drive up the beautiful avenue leading to Neethlingshof Wine Estate and enjoy a wine tasting and vegan lunch! Cheers🍷
Neethlingshof Wine Estate
Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch
Western Cape, 7600
+27 21 883 8988
INFO@NEETHLINGSHOF.CO.ZA / https://neethlingshof.co.za/
The Restaurant at Neethlingshof:
Breakfast & Lunch Hours
MONDAY – SATURDAY
09:00 – 17:00
SUNDAYS – LUNCH ONLY
12:00 – 16:00
17:00 – 21:00
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS
17:00 – 21:00
*DISCLAIMER: I was hosted by the restaurant at Neethlingshof to experience the vegan options. Thank you Brendan and team for this amazing plant-based lunch!