Food24 eats at Spice Route

A restaurant in the winelands of Paarl that explores the marriage of food, wine and exotic spices.

by: Tessa Purdon


The name Spice Route is a reference to the Spice Route Winery which was established by Charles Back in 1997. The restaurant’s décor and style depict the spice theme well with small Zanzibarian windows showing off elaborate, curling metal work and cosy enclaves in the walls that neatly hold large candles and artifacts.

Situated up against the south-west facing slopes of Paarl mountain, this is a real must for any out-of-towner as the view stretches all the way to Table Mountain making it a postcard sunset spot.

Check out the gorgeous gallery of food and décor.

The food

‘It’s not that the food is spicy,’ says restaurant manager Lize Rossouw, ‘but we show what one can do with spices’. A starter of slow-roasted pork belly infused with five spice, is served on a small chocolate lentil salad (R56). The chocolate definitely adds interest to the dish without overpowering in any way.

If you’re looking for something lighter, the beetroot-cured linefish (R65) will do the trick. It comes beautifully pink from the beetroot, atop a small blini with a side of caviar and crème fraiche. For mains there’s homemade gnocchi with Chakalaka cream cheese (R89) and venison loin with a Szechuan pepper jus (R134).

For those that like to take the traditional route, I suggest ordering the butter chicken (R109) that comes alongside coconut flavoured rice and fresh homemade roti. Gorgeously rich and fragrant - everything a butter chicken should be. An offering of sambals would add value to the dish but the portion size of the curry could feed 2, adequately.

If dessert is your thing then you’re in for a treat. A white chocolate and rose water mousse (R42) will entice the adventurous - as it’s served with a goat’s cheese and honey tartlet. And don’t leave without trying the Lebkuchen parfait (R45) that gets a garnish of caramel and Chakalaka seasoned Popcorn. The popcorn adds some nice texture however the dish could do without it.


The wine list is made up of all Spice Route wines with a major plus being that they’re all served by the glass. Expect to pay R22 for a glass of Chenin Blanc and R38 for Spice Route Shiraz. Other options include La Capra rosé and Devaux Traditional sparkling wine. If you fancy something totally different, there’s also Jack Black draught or Swedish cider (R22).

Perfect for

A day trip with friends visiting from overseas (they’ll definitely appreciate the view!) or a casual but classy lunch with the future in-laws. An added bonus is that the DV chocolate artisan factory is situated on-site so a pre or post lunch chocolate tasting is pretty much mandatory.


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