Terroir is a name most foodies will be familiar with. The acclaimed eatery, located in the Stellenbosch winelands at Kleine Zalze, has long been synonymous with one of the finest dining experiences in the country. Their list of accolades received spans over a decade, establishing itself as a solid contender as the go-to in the Winelands, with a commendable ranking of 8th position in 2015 for the prestigious EatOut Awards.
When visiting Terroir for the first time, it’s hard to enter without expectations. An establishment frequently getting top reviews across food-related media, one’s level of anticipation is hard to suppress, and this was certainly the case during my recent visit. Just by walking under the oak terrace and stepping into the restaurant, you know you’ve entered into a place where dining and service is taken seriously.
The setting is a picture of tall oak and poplar trees on a gentle slope, with sprawling gardens eventually meeting a water feature further down the natural incline. Above all of this is Terroir, where a warm and woody interior, especially conducive for winter visits, is matched by an outside deck – probably best enjoyed for mid-summer afternoons. But during the middle of winter is when we visited, and inside we sat, overlooking the expansive estate, with a glass of bubbles to kick things off.
A chalkboard is presented with a number of dishes to cater for various palettes. Executive Chef Michael Broughton’s personal favourites are suggested, as are popular favourites. Then the magic begins.
There’s a touch of finesse in these dishes. Flavours balance perfectly and are exquisitely plated. The experience begins with a memorable bread course to start with, where freshly-baked tomato foccacia and sourdough is served with a moreish honey-mustard butter. Whichever dishes you may choose to follow, take comfort in the fact that Terroir’s ratings do not paint a different picture, in fact, my expectation was wholeheartedly met by the time lunch was over and I was savouring a trio of sorbet to finish.
Terroir is sophisticated, but not elaborate. The service is present, but not overbearing. And those who have tried Chef Michael Broughton’s prawn, corn and basil risotto, served with sauce Américaine, certainly do keep coming back, so much so that earlier this year when the season changed and along with it the menu, patrons voiced their displeasure at the loss – to which Chef replied and reinstated the favourite. This is a dish that was a complete knockout during our lunch visit, but matching it closely was the teriyaki seared tuna with watermelon, bacon, kewpie mayo and sweet and sour sauce.
Much to the delight of local visitors, the best time to visit is right now. Terroir’s winter special runs from May to September this year, where guests can enjoy their choice of two dishes (starter/main or main/dessert) from that French-inspired chalkboard menu for just R295 per person – this special also includes a glass of Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection wine.
For the first time, a four-course tasting menu is available as part of the special, where guests can select any four dishes from the à la carte offering, presented in smaller portions as to allow diners to enjoy the multi-course journey without filling up too soon. This is available for R395 per person or for R495 with wine pairing. Individual à la carte orders can still be made, and will be charged at the listed menu price.
Where Strand Road, De Zalze Golf Estate, Stellenbosch
When Lunch; Tuesdays to Sundays from 12h00 – 14h30, Dinner; Tuesdays to Saturdays from 18h30 – 21h00
Contact +27 21 880 8167, Website