Vrymansfontein: A Culinary Oasis in Paarl

November 22, 2023
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Nestled on a historic 330-year-old almond farm at the foot of Paarl Mountain, Vrymansfontein emerges as a design-led wine and dining haven, bringing a touch of contemporary sophistication to South Africa’s Winelands. After nearly three years of meticulous planning and a year of construction, this culinary gem finally opened its doors to the public on November 9, 2023.

Originally conceived as a wine-tasting facility for the esteemed Vondeling wine brand, Vrymansfontein evolved into a lifestyle and dining destination that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity. The brainchild of owner Max Ward, architect Rick Stander, and hospitality interiors specialists Source IBA, Vrymansfontein stands as a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to creating a unique experience in the heart of the Cape.

Spanning 380 hectares, Vrymansfontein is not just a feast for the palate but also a treat for the eyes. Elevated to offer breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and Table Mountain, the venue boasts a glass-fronted indoor restaurant, a bespoke wine tasting facility, and two alfresco dining options. With its versatility, Vrymansfontein can host several hundred guests at any given time, making it the perfect destination for food and wine enthusiasts.

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The culinary offerings at Vrymansfontein are as diverse as the landscapes that surround it. Chef Kevin Grobler, at the helm of the Mediterranean-inspired SCAPE, presents a menu rooted in simplicity yet adorned with elegant culinary finishes. Grobler’s menu showcases the best local and seasonal produce, staying true to the principles of flavour and quality. “The menu is inspired by the beautiful simplicity of the dishes you can find throughout the Mediterranean region – be it a flawlessly roasted piece of fish, a four-ingredient steak tartare using the best fillet there is, or the likes of our house favourite – veldt reared rotisserie chicken. We have sourced the very best local and seasonal produce available so that we can stay true to our principles of produce and flavour first,” says Ward.

For a more relaxed experience, guests can choose between The Tree Bar, offering Levantine small-plates under the shade of trees, or The Gardens, providing laidback food-from-the-fire options. Vrymansfontein caters to all tastes and moods, ensuring that every visit is a unique and memorable experience.

Integral to the Vrymansfontein concept is the Tasting Bar, a haven for wine aficionados. Here, guests can savour a standing-only tasting experience or opt for a more leisurely sit-down session on the deck. The Tasting Bar proudly features Vondeling estate wines, curated by star sommelier George Young, allowing visitors to sip before selecting or collecting bottles to take home.

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The dedication to local artistry is evident not only in the culinary creations but also in the design and decor of Vrymansfontein. The interiors of SCAPE, designed by Rick Stander, draw inspiration from the natural tones of the surrounding farmland, creating a harmonious blend of sophistication and rustic charm. The impressive cork hanging pendants and custom-made elements pay homage to local artisans, emphasising the importance of community collaboration.

Adding an extra layer of visual delight, Vrymansfontein commissioned local fine artist Rose Williams to create seven breathtaking landscapes capturing the essence of the region. These artworks, displayed prominently throughout the venue, mirror the ever-changing moods of the landscape and serve as a visual ode to the rich history of the area.

As Vrymansfontein embarks on this new chapter, it not only welcomes guests into its contemporary oasis but also embraces its role as a significant contributor to the local economy. Virtually all the hospitality staff have been recruited from the local community, ensuring that Vrymansfontein becomes an integral part of the region’s fabric.

Vrymansfontein is more than a restaurant and bar; it’s a celebration of culinary artistry, local craftsmanship, and the rich history of the land it calls home. Open Wednesday to Sunday, this culinary haven invites you to indulge in a symphony of flavours and breathtaking views, making each visit a journey into the heart of Paarl’s vibrant culinary scene.

Location: Vrymansfontein, Suid-Agter Paarl Road, Paarl

Operating times:

  • Restaurants: Scape & Tree bar Wednesday to Sunday: 12:00-22:00
  • The Gardens: Wednesday to Sunday: 12:00-20:00
  • Vondeling Tasting bar: Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00-18:00

Website: vrymansfontein.co.za

Contact: +27 (0)82 617 4903

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Feature image: Supplied

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