I was privileged enough to be flown to Plettenberg Bay to attend the Plett MAD festival: a celebration of ‘cultural, creative and thought provoking expression’. I went down to cover the Food-Film segment which was the first film festival of its kind in Africa. For 3 days we indulged in all things culinary; local and international films and documentaries about food paired with talks by top South African celebrity chefs – it was magical.
At the same time I was treated to an exploration of all the new and exciting restaurants and places around Plett. I wrote an article last year detailing all of the top spots to eat in Plett and now will go through a list of what’s new and exciting around Plett, a list that will also prove very helpful if you’re passing by along the N2 and don’t have time to go into the town itself.
The Dancing Fawn:
Just behind the Sasol garage in Harkeville is where you’ll find this little hidden gem; a Pandora’s box of collectables and antiques all beautifully presented in this renovated farmhouse. It’s framed by manicured gardens dotted with benches and tables for you to enjoy delicious cakes and tea and contemplate what you’re going to buy next. Leon and Jaco will ensure you feel right at home.
Bocca Dolce (Quarry Lake estate):
0834256820 (off Wittedrift road; turn left after 5km to go to Wittedrift, next right at ‘Stofpad’ sign and right at ‘Quarry Lake Estate’)
You won’t believe this place until you see it with your own eyes; a sustainable farm producing organic fruit and vegetables which they both sell and use to create amazing vegan-friendly, gluten-free baked goods which they sell at their coffee-shop-come-restaurant. They also sell organic coffees and teas and a plethora of jams and pickles (also organic and homemade). On Saturdays and Sundays you can enjoy a Vegan/Vegetarian Harvest table for R120 a head, so bring your own wine and beers and let the kids run wild around the beautiful grounds while you indulge in luscious, guilt-free decadence.
Down to Earth at The Plett River House:
This used to be ‘The Mermaid’s Slipper’ but has been newly renovated and turned into an earthy, wood-meets-soft-interiors sanctuary coupled with the most amazing views over the Bitou river – it’s a little treasure of a restaurant. Chef Trevor Steyn, co-owner of the celebrated ‘Crossways Country Kitchen’ in the Eastern Cape, has created a simple menu using all that’s seasonal and local, with tasty baked treats and breads for sale for those who are just passing by. Opt for one of their signature breakfasts or lunches including the Bitou: potato rosti with smoked salmon and poached eggs or the Wittedrift: free range eggs and bacon on homemade bread, and for lunch, the slow roasted pork belly with sweet potato and butternut mash and homemade apple sauce - yum yum!
And…not so new, but also definite hotspots along the N2:
The Peppermill Café:
A homely and inviting family restaurant with great outdoor seating and lots to see and do. Great fish and chips and homemade ginger beer – it’s simple but tasty food. Browse through the menagerie of shops including an in-house art gallery, candle making factory and quaint soap, wool, leather and tricket shops.
Emily’s at Emily Moon
A mix of wonderfully eclectic ‘Africo-chic’ décor, spoilingly-good river and mountain views, simple food and good service make this a ‘must visit’ whilst in Plett. It’s a very romantic and magical place.
The Nature’s Way Farm Stall:
Off the N2 - 2,5km on R102 to Natures VALLEY
044 534 8849
A Scrumptious little stop over where you can buy their signature homemade Holloumi and sweetmilk cheeses as well as their homemade butters, yoghurts and farm-fresh milk. It’s a free-range festival of goodies! Stay for a pot of tea and a slice of decadent cake or a really well priced toasted sarmie, all made with love.
With a great restaurant set amongst the vineyards and gardens and a convenient tasting cellar for…well…tastings and drive-by purchases it’s a definite must on route. Their award-winning MCC is delectable.
They make the most exquisite Sauvignon Blanc as well as a great Chardonnay and MCC. Pop in for a tasting or book ahead to enjoy a gorgeous cheese platter in the garden with your choice of cultivar.
The greatest variety in terms of wine: an award winning Sauvignon blanc and Pinot Noir MCC as well as a subtly oaked chardonnay, pinot noir and chardonnay/pinot noir MCC. You can book ahead for their cheese and wine luncheons served on the terrace.
A small winefarm with an award-winning sauvignon blanc, great views and a herd or resident Springbok.
They’ve expanded to add a dry rose, sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir to their inventory, but their Brut Rose MCC is still their frontrunner.
The vineyard overlooks the Keurboomstrand and Robberg Peninsula. They make a lovely ‘Leto Venus’ Sauvingnon Blanc.
They make a quirkily named ‘Sav’ Sauvingon Blanc and a ‘Champu’ MCC, both of which are delightful (The ‘Sav’ tastes similar to Newstead’s Sauvignon blanc). They only recently setup a tasting room so it’s quite new, but they are more than hospitable and charming.