A 300-year-old family-run wine farm gives life to nature’s child
Claim to fame: Ground-breaking, biodynamic and organic farming practices playing out on bespoke plates
Reason to go: New executive chef, Dale Stevens is a culinary craftsman
To look out for: Sustainable, fresh, line-caught yellowtail from Cape waters
If your winery’s ideology is spelled Terra Est Vita, or “Soil is life”, as is the case at Avondale, it’s only natural that you’d pour your eco-minded heart into establishing a restaurant that plucks things out of the earth, slips them into evening wear and presents them on bespoke china, like celebrities walking the red carpet at an awards ceremony.
Avondale’s owner, Jonathan Grieve, spent ten years searching for the right team of culinary craftsmen, headed up by Dale Stevens, to pair perfectly with his winery. Faber, born in late 2016, is the fruit of this team’s commitment to sustainability and shared dedication to the art of nurturing the soil and harvesting its life. The team works hand in hand, telling the tale of Avondale through the food and wine experience at Faber. This progressive chef’s creations are inspired by the seasons, the land and the best local ingredients. Daily seasonal produce dictates the menu and is brought to your plate to tell a story of its origins. From fresh herbs, vegetables, citrus and stone fruits, to pasture-raised organic beef, free-range eggs and possibly the happiest chickens that ever roamed this land, everything is within arm’s reach of this creative kitchen. Stevens’ dishes reflect simplicity, not simple food. Soft hot, cinnamon dusted pumpkin fritters get you started and pair perfectly with Avondale’s method cap classique Armilla Brut. Generations of South Africans have enjoyed these soft fritters, called bollas by Cape Malays, but they’re hardly ever found on local menus. A starter could take a pretty playful shape of smoked confit duck, raw radish, fynbos honeyed pasnip with radish flowers. . Karoo free-range lamb shoulder is cooked sous-vide at 85°C and served with one perfect organic carrot and curly kale. Dry aged black angus flat iron is presented with miso aubergine, crispy broccoli, toasted nori and sesame. Inventive sweet endings include set buffalo milk, muscat macerated berries, berry sorbet and a brandy snap for texture.
You’ll find Faber on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein mountains on the outskirts of Paarl. The restaurant is housed in an old Cape–style space, newly revamped by interior designer Annie Dower, with a bright, modern country aesthetic. Handcrafted, bespoke crockery pairs with high-end crystal stemware from Schott Zwiesel, elegantly showing off the wine list of terroir-driven tipples from Avondale. Local artworks grace the walls and delicate botanical prints mirror the vineyard palette beyond the spacious terrace. While the kitchen is responsible for putting out world-class food, which is precise, deliberate and ever-evolving, equal emphasis is placed on the front-of-house service team delivering polished Cape Winelands warmth and charm. . With a nod to global trends for a more informal dining experience, service remains relaxed yet proper, and the staff is proud to share the story of both Avondale and Faber.