From a journey that spanned nearly three years, Vrymansfontein, born from the heritage of Vondeling wines, has recently opened its doors. Nestled on a 330-year-old almond farm at the base of Paarl Mountain, this 380-hectare property is not just a working almond farm; it’s a meticulously crafted wine and dining destination. I visited last Sunday and loved the experience.
Originally planned to be the wine-tasting facility for the Vondeling wine brand, Vrymansfontein evolved into the lifestyle destination it now is. With the expertise of architect Rick Stander and hospitality interiors specialists Source IBA, owner Max Ward shaped a contemporary oasis with breathtaking vistas, thanks to its elevated location.
The food at SCAPE is rooted in simplicity, with an elegant and refined approach and considered culinary finishes. “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 Max Ward.
That’s not to say the dishes are one-dimensional. Grobler has leaned into his vast bank of knowledge and produced a menu featuring dishes dressed with beautifully balanced flourishes and flavour marriages that sing.
Guests may choose from a variety of small plates, salads, cured and smoked house specialities, and larger plates which include meat, fish and fowl options. Additionally, vegetable sides and sauces complete the culinary picture.
All of the plates and sides are brought to the table to be shared family-style. It’s a deliberately casual approach to refined dining, created to foster conviviality and to spark conversations – all while being immersed in an extraordinary setting.
At the Tasting Bar on the deck, guests can can taste Vondeling estate wines before purchasing. They can do a speedier stand up tasting or a more leaisurely seated one.
The interiors at SCAPE mirror the local environment, blending natural tones inspired by farmland with deep blues reminiscent of Paarl Rock. The design incorporates elements like oversized cork hanging pendants, paying homage to Vondeling’s wine heritage and local artisans. Art also plays a significant role, with landscapes by local artist Rose Williams adorning the space, capturing the essence of the surrounding farms.
I loved the restaurant space and open-plan kitchen which was calmly run by Kevin. I loved the beautiful views from every window making it the perfect setting to while away an afternoon. Having sommelier George Young serve and chat about the wines was a real treat. He has put together a superb wine list featuring stellar Vondeling and local wines.
This is the kind of food I always want to eat and I can’t wait to return to try a few more dishes.
This was the menu on the day
Nduja, smoked burrata bruschetta R130
Tomato bruschetta R45
Ajo blanco, sweet grape, salad R65
Tomato gazpacho R60
Spiced cauliflower fritters R45
Tempura zucchini, basil aioli R60
Grilled feta, dates, brandy R80
Strawberry, goats’ cheese, pancetta R125
Yellowtail, red onion, chilli, lime R80
Sea bass, mango, avocado, cucumber, chilli R165
Beef egg yolk, rocket, lavash R135
Tuna, avocado, ginger, radish R170
Corn, cucumber, mint, goat’s cheese R70
Romaine, peas, avocado, pumpkin seeds R60
Beetroot, carrot, grapefruit, candied almonds R70
Beetroot, almond gremolata, grapefruit R65
Beef sirloin, Parmesan, capers, aioli R90
Grilled sea bass fillet R265 Whole roasted fish of the day R295 Karoo lamb cutlets R365
Cote de boeuf 1kg R850
Veldt reared rotisserie chicken: Full portion R550 / Half portion R280
Green beans, mustard dressing R60
Charred broccolini, preserved lemon, almonds R85
Roasted carrots, harissa, R60
Tabouleh R60 Green salad R60
Crispy potatoes R60
Mash potatoes R60
Saffron rice R60
Cheesecake, macerated strawberries, cardamom R85
Nectarines, chantilly, almond brittle R95 Saffron and lemon lokma R60
Assortment of ice creams R40
Vrymansfontein is open from Wednesday to Sunday.
The wine and dining options at Vrymansfontein include:
SCAPE – a smart design-led interior, with a simple but refined Mediterranean
Open 12:00-22:00 (summer season, subject to change in winter)
The Tree Bar – a shaded outdoor space serving Levantine-inspired dishes
Open 12:00-22:00 (summer season, may change winter)
The Tasting Bar – Vondeling and stellar Cape wines by-the-glass or bottle,
including cellar-door Vondeling wine purchases
Open 10:00 – 18:00
Vrymansfontein is situated on the Suid-Agter-Paarl Road on the southern slopes of
*I was invited as a guist to experience Sccape at Vrymansfontein with no obligation