The wider Western Cape area sports a large number of gorgeous destination restaurants, wine estates and guesthouses – so many, in fact, that it can be difficult to imagine how something completely new and unexpected might be on the cards. Yet this is precisely what’s been achieved at Bosjes Estate, which is poised to put the beautiful Slanghoek valley – situated between Worcester and Ceres – very much on the stylish map.
Bosjes (‘small bushes’ in Dutch) is the new name given to the old Bosjesman’s Valley Farm, just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, which produces wine grapes, olives, peaches and proteas, and has been owned by the same family since 1831. Recently given a complete facelift, the estate now offers visitors top-class dining at the Bosjes Kombuis restaurant, as well as overnight accommodation at its stylish new guesthouse. Add to that its remarkable chapel and garden, and we think Bosjes has all it takes to become one of the most popular places to host a destination wedding in the Western Cape.
Designed by architect Coetzee Steyn of Steyn Studio, the Bosjes chapel has a dramatically curved, flowing roof that makes the entire building appear to float on two large ponds of water. Beyond it – and visible from every angle inside the structure, which has glass walls on all sides – are vistas of the Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountains, which provide this exceptional building with a glorious backdrop.
Alongside the chapel is a charming garden, complete with a meditative circular walkway and a sculptural water feature, and close by is the estate’s new sunken tea garden. The latter serves up a selection of delectable cakes and sandwiches, while up the hill and adjacent to the farm’s charming original manor house (built in 1790) is Bosjes Kombuis, the estate’s new restaurant.
Also designed by Coetzee Steyn, the restaurant features high ceilings, glass walls and contemporary decor by interior designer Liam Mooney. Custom-made timber furniture, Lee Broom chandeliers and mature trees in pots bring the outdoors in. Tables spill outdoors onto a terrace that sports both mountain views and a whimsical mural by artists Michael Chandler and Lucie de Moyencourt. Fashioned from 366 blue-and-white hand-painted tiles inspired by shards of porcelain dug up on the farm, the mural features over 100 species of fauna and flora, and depicts Bosjes’ very own ‘Tree of Life’. There is also a striking children’s play area, designed by Leanie van der Vyver, within viewing distance of the restaurant. While it is perfect for play, the large ‘jungle gym’ structure is also a playful artwork, complete with electric-blue sculptures of klipspringer buck.
At Bosjes Kombuis, consultant chef Pete Goffe-Wood has designed a contemporary lunch menu that diners are sure to love. Pete’s brief was to create the feel and ambience of a rustic farmhouse kitchen. ‘It’s as close to home cooking as you can get, but considerably more refined,’ he says.
The opening menu features a delicious line-up of old favourites with a local twist: think fresh salmon-trout fishcakes served with an avocado salad and homemade lemon mayo; a generous grass-fed beef burger, topped with Camembert, caramelised onions and bacon; or lamb cutlets with jewel-bright tabbouleh salad and fresh cucumber raita. ‘You won’t find any fussy plating here,’ says Pete, ‘just honest, artisanal food prepared with heart.’
Day to day, Bosjes Kombuis is in the capable hands of executive chef Kim Cox, who has worked in several kitchens on farms, most notably Eight restaurant at Spier and The Deli at Boschendal. Kim is passionate about locally sourced ingredients that ring true to her philosophy of supporting ethical farming, pasture-reared animals, naturally or organically grown vegetables, and SASSI green-listed seafood. Her silky smooth ice creams, in flavours like chocolate brownie, vanilla and coffee, are simply irresistible, and Kim’s other tempting desserts include almond panna cotta and old-fashioned malva pudding.
Overnight guests are accommodated in the tranquil guesthouse, which is set in the farm’s converted old barn and stables, and has also been decorated by Liam Mooney in subtle shades of sand with accents of chartreuse and copper. The house is perfect for a large family or wedding party wanting to enjoy quality time together, either at the pool on hot days or around the fire pit on cold ones – but all five rooms, including the family room and the honeymoon suite, can be rented individually.
Liam has also updated the lovely old voorkamer in the original manor house, which can be used for small day conferences and private boardroom-style meetings.
If you’re staying at the guesthouse for a weekend, there’s plenty here to keep everyone in your party entertained, from hiking and mountain biking in the surrounding mountains to doing a spot of wine tasting on the Breedekloof Wine Route. And those in search of serious R&R can simply lounge around the poolside at the guesthouse and contemplate a late-afternoon stroll in the chapel gardens.
For more information and to make reservations for lunch (Wednesday to Sunday) at Bosjes Kombuis or to stay at Bosjes Guesthouse, visit bosjes.co.za.