• Since scooping the Dineplan Reviewers’ Choice Newcomer Award for the Cape Town and Winelands region after it opened in 2023, The Bistro at Brookdale Estate has become a favourite destination for long and lazy lunches, as well as weekend dinners in the heart of the Paarl Winelands.

    Executive Chef Gary Coetzee has recently launched his lip-smacking new menu, which we were lucky enough to visit to get a taste of what’s in store between its pages. Spoiler alert: You’ll leave with a full belly and a mind already busy planning a date for your next visit.


    The new menu at the Brookdale Bistro celebrates the changing seasons, whilst paying tribute to hearty, classic French bistro dishes presented in a contemporary style.

    To kick things off, visitors are served with freshly baked homemade bread, flavoured butter and olives. This is enough to get your taste buds dancing, and starters haven’t even been served yet. Speaking of starters, expect options like warming red lentil dahl, mussels meunière made with fresh West Coast mussels served with toasted bread, and exotic mushroom risotto.

    It was the bobotie tortellini and fried prawn and fish croquettes that made it onto our plate, albeit it didn’t stay there for long. But it wasn’t just us who were utterly impressed by each bite. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the guests at the table besides us who uttered compliments about the starters while subtly licking the plate clean with their fingers.


    In-between bites and waiting for the next course to arrive, visitors can catch a glimpse of the chefs working their magic in the open kitchen. It’s smiles all around for Chef Gary and his team in moments when they aren’t deep in focus while plating to perfection. It’s evident that they love what they do, and that they pour all their passion into each dish.

    On to main courses, which include char-grilled miso-glazed aubergine with gingered carrot purée and vegan kimchi and sweet crisps, Coq au Vin which is braised ballotine of chicken in a bacon, mushroom and baby onion sauce served with creamy mashed potato, and Bouillabaisse – a classic seafood soup of prawns, mussels, octopus and fish served with rouille and toasted baguette.


    While all the options sound intriguing, we opted for the sous vide lamb rump with minted pea purée, crushed baby potatoes, peas and a thyme jus and the slow braised oxtail in a red wine and rosemary sauce served with creamed samp and buttered baby carrots. We might as well have been on a one-way train to food heaven… Both dishes were mouth-wateringly good, with the meat so tender it falls off the bone.

    Brookdale Bistro’s dishes are just as filling as they are delicious, but there is always space for dessert. Chef Gary says, “Pastry chef Marinesha Moore’s sweet creations give a nod to our rich South African heritage with desserts such as milk tart soufflé, while the other options, deconstructed tiramisu and apple strudel too, are pure art on a plate – guaranteed to end every meal on a high note.” The first two tickled our fancy and ensured we ended of an unforgettable dining experience on a sweet note.


    The Brookdale Bistro experience is complemented by an exciting wine list that not only showcases the Brookdale and Mason Road ranges, but also includes other interesting wines from the Paarl region and beyond.

    Balance is key at Brookdale, be it in the kitchen, in the vineyards or at the Manor House. The estate’s website reads, “Wellness is when balance is restorative, and we take this approach to our vineyards, gardens, wines, food and experiences.” In the kitchen, nothing goes to waste. Keeping food miles as low as possible is important to the team, which is made possible with Brookdale’s own organic veggie gardens, orchards and homemade fare. Chef Gary further adds, “Produce is sourced locally to provide a conscious balance of choice for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.”

    It is also vital to Chef Gary that no element of Brookdale Estate outshines the other – there needs to be a balance between the wine, food and Manor House. So don’t be fooled by the idea that the bistro might be a bit too high-class for you. On the contrary, it’s a place where you can sit back, relax and feel right at home. He says: “We are proud to offer a relaxed dining experience where guests may cosy up next to the central fireplace, or on sunny days, relax on the terrace and enjoy the vineyard views.”

    The beautiful setting and homely atmosphere make Brookdale’s Bistro the perfect spot for date night, dinners with loved ones or special celebrations.

    Stay a little

    Brookdale Estate is also home to the Manor House, which was crowned a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards Winner in 2023, and won the Accommodation category in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards 2024. Only a stone-throw away from the bistro, this beautiful staycation spot is built in a modern Cape Dutch style with cascading Klein Drakenstein mountains in the distance while vineyards and fynbos also show off – almost like something from a painting by some famous artist.


    The Manor House at Brookdale Estate is positioned as a world-class winelands retreat to accommodate families, small groups of friends or individual travellers. 12 adults (plus two children under the age of 12 sharing with parents when the Manor House is booked out on an exclusive-use basis) can be accommodated. The Manor House has five en-suite bedrooms in the main house, and a sixth en-suite bedroom in the building adjacent.

    Enter your bedroom and you will feel right at home. It’s warm and homely and incredibly cosy. Soft rugs that quite literally feel like you’re walking on clouds, heated flooring in the big bathroom (perfect for chilly winter evenings), a TV at the foot-end of the oh-so comfy bed. Not to mention the homemade goodies that await you in the drawers: think olives, biscuits, rusks, as well as your fair share of coffees, teas, wines…

    The rest of the Manor House is just as elegantly furnished, featuring ample living spaces that include a lavish living room, library and entertainment room, dining room, a sunny breakfast room (we had the most delicious and filling breakfast – think muesli with yoghurt and seasonal fruit, mini croissants, baklava, smoked salmon and shakshuka) and a kitchen, in addition to a private study. Outside, multiple terraces showcase panoramic views of the dramatic mountains and wine valley. The gardens, pool house and terrace, set around a magnificent swimming pool, create beautiful spaces for guests to enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine.

    Keen to visit Brookdale’s Bistro?

    The Bistro is open for lunch from Wednesdays to Sundays and serves dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

    Adjacent to The Bistro, the Tasting Room is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00 (closed on Mondays/Tuesdays), offering visitors the opportunity to taste wines grown on the estate, vinified by winemaker, Kiara Scott Farmer.

    Bookings via Dineplan.

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    ALSO SEE: Join Brooke Estate in celebrating #DrinkChenin

    Join Brooke Estate in celebrating #DrinkChenin