Yesterday we visited the Western Cape’s world-class Estate, Vergelegen, in Somerset-West. Vergelegen was granted to the new governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel, successor of Simon van der Stel, in 1700. Willem Adriaan transformed this outpost into a magnificent Estate.
Unfortunately he was called back to the Netherlands in 1706. Vergelegen then had several owners, until 1917, when it became the possession of Sir Lionel Phillips, who bought it for his wife, Lady Florence Phillips. She again restored this dilapidated Estate into a glorious floral paradise. The next owners, the Barlow Family, bought the Estate in 1941 and they maintained the tradition at Vergelegen.
When we arrived at Vergelegen, we took a leisurely stroll, admiring the beautiful buildings and scenery. The magnificent huge Champhor trees have trunks like huge elephant feet. The camellia garden is breathtakingly beautiful and the bamboo grove is fabulous. We decided to visit the Estate again during the summer, to see the Hydrangeas in full bloom. Yes, and a river runs through it, to be precise, it is the Lourens River.
Then it was dinner time. The choice was between Stables at Vergelegen’ Bistro Restaurant; Camphors at Vergelegen Signature Restaurant and Picnics (seasonal). Our choice fell upon Stables. And what an excellent choice it was. The juxtaposition of a very modern, glass framed interior in a traditional building makes it a beautiful setting for fine dining.
The food was prepared and presented as it should be when you dine at a restaurant like this – excellently done. Well done, Stables, you deserve five stars. Deon order Braised Pork Neck with mashed potato, charred cabbage & mushroom, chorizo & lemon sauce. Our visitor, my mom, decided on the Sustainable Fish of the Day with beetroot risotto, broccoli, spring onion & white wine velouté. I ordered a vegetarian meal, Linguine in Lemon Butter with courgette, tomato, capers, basil, parmesan and wild rocket. We had a glass of their award-winning wines and enjoyed the view of the Hottentots Holland mountain range during our meal.
A perfect afternoon it was.