In the scenic sprawl of South Africa’s Stellenbosch, among the vine-crested hills and farms abundant with fresh produce, lies a culinary gem that beckons families and friends to gather around for a shared dining experience. Rykaart’s has found its new home at the beautiful Longridge Wine Estate, transitioning from the bustling heart of Stellenbosch Central to a serene garden setting with a view of Table Mountain to die for. It’s here, under the wide branches or on the welcoming stoep, that patrons can unwind in the true spirit of South African hospitality.
The Culinary Experience
At Rykaart’s, the philosophy of dining is communal, heart-warming, and generous. The monthly-changing menu is a set three-course affair, promising a taste of the locale with every bite. Seasonality is the heartbeat of their offerings, with each dish crafted from the freshest ingredients sourced from Longridge Estate and neighbouring farms.
Patrons can expect a family-style menu that showcases Rykaart’s classics, beloved and familiar to those who followed the restaurant’s journey from its original location. Starting with a warm welcome from the kitchen in the form of heavenly gougeres topped with mountains of freshly grated Gruyère and served alongside just-baked bread, the stage is set for a feast that both comforts and excites.
Meet the Culinary Conductor
Alex Rykaart, the co-owner and Head Chef, boasts an impressive culinary journey. From the halls of Prue Leith Culinary Institute to the world of super yachts in the Med and the refined kitchens of a 3 Michelin Star establishment in California, his pedigree is global. Yet, it is the rich soil and vibrant life of South Africa that calls to his chef’s soul. Partnering in life and business with his wife, Ella, they share a vision of a restaurant that is as much about the food as it is about the experience.
The Harvest and The Pairing
Embracing the farm-to-table ethos, Alex’s creations sing of the soil and seasons, with the estate’s garden playing a pivotal role in the menu’s composition. The support act to the culinary showcase is an extensive selection of Longridge wines, each bottle a story of the estate’s winemaking prowess.
Our Review: An Afternoon at Rykaart’s
A recent visit to Rykaart’s unfolded on a balmy October afternoon, where the surroundings of the estate played the perfect host. The current menu had us savouring a vibrant carrot risotto, a garden leaf salad that redefined freshness, and a succulent Greenfield’s Grass-Fed Beef sirloin with all the trimmings. The meal was ended on a sweet, sweet note with a delicious almond cake that embraced caramelised pineapple and coconut with a masterful touch.
From the onset, with the gifted plate of gougeres and sumptuous bread, followed by the bonus of a vegetarian starter with a walnut and tomato dressing, the tone for an indulgent meal was set. Despite the bustle of larger groups celebrating around us, the service remained impeccable—attentive yet discreet.
Ella’s presence was an attentive touch, ensuring everything was to our liking without intruding on the relaxed pace of our meal. Our glasses remained cheerfully charged with bubbly and fine wines, each sip a toast to the beautiful day.
Privacy was preserved even as the outdoor tables hummed with the joy of gatherings, allowing us to dive into our meal and conversations without a hitch. At R495 for the set menu, updated monthly to reflect the freshest ingredients, this dining experience is a steal for the quality and ambiance on offer.
Address: Longridge Wine Estate, Helderberg Road, off R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.
Opening Times: Lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. Bookings are essential and can be made via Dineplan or by calling 021 855 2005.
“Rykaarts at Longridge Wine Estate is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of communal dining and seasonal freshness, a place where every visit promises a new taste of Stellenbosch’s abundant heart.”