… but first, let’s take a #selfie as we started our road trip to Somerset West to celebrate a friend’s birthday. To be honest, I was a little confused which friend it was (given that they have the same first names and no surname was mentioned in the invite) so Mercedes in an Audio and I sped off into the #RuralHeartland of the Helderberg for a family gathering at The Millhouse Kitchen on the Lourensford Wine Estate. As one of the oldest wine farms in Somerset West (established in 1700 and once part of the Vergelen wine farm owned by Willem Adriaan van der Stel) the wine estate not only has a rich sense of history but boasts a variety of activities from coffee to wine and amazing food (amongst other things) to sample.
For those not in the know, The Millhouse Kitchen is the main restaurant on the estate and the brainchild of Chef Bjorn Guido’s aim is to create a neighbourhood feel where his guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company in the beautiful setting… It was previously known as the River Cafe but underwent a major renovation about two years ago including a name change. The restaurant was transformed into a chic, modern warehouse space inside with exposed brick walls (something to do being described as “rustic Italian”), reclaimed wood from wine pallets and despite not having a lot of light inside, a bright open space. Despite my dislike of the colour rose gold, it is the predominant design element seen throughout the décor of the restaurant (even the cutlery comes with rose gold sugar pots and cheese bowls) and the flamboyant black and white cat wallpaper in the area overlooking the enclosed garden (yes, filled with little screaming dirty shitling running around). All in all, the Millhouse Kitchen is a pretty trendy restaurant considering its location on one of the oldest wine estates in the Helderberg area.
With a limited, but well thought-out menu, the popular choice for Sunday afternoon lunch was either burgers or pizza and we were kindly advised by our waiter to put our order in as early as possible to avoid the rush as the restaurant filled quite quickly. On a side note, the restaurant employs a clever stratagem that doesn’t allow new people to arrive during peak hour service in both kitchen and front of house. That said, despite it being quite full, there was never a waiter out of sight to attend to whatever our rather large table’s needs. And yes, we’ve become ‘those people’ that as soon as their iPhone detects free WI-FI it demands a password to join so that you can Instagram / Tweet / Facebook the shit outta everything you’re eating/drinking / seeing throughout the day. That being said, the food did look amazing and tasted just as good.
Apart from a lovely playground in the garden and the army of screaming shitlings being nursed in a variety of prams or running around on the lawn, we left the party a little too late to enjoy the Lourensford Farmer’s Market which was adjacent to the restaurant. But when you’re given a bag of lemons, as the saying goes, Mercedes and I raided the small but well-stocked tuisnyweheid and grabbed a take-out from one of my favourite brands of coffees – Terbodore Coffee (which is also a product of the Estate). It’s well worth the relatively short drive from Cape Town even if it’s just for the coffee and cheesecake.
Follow Lourensford on Twitter: @lourensford or Instagram: @lourensford to see the magic of the wine estate and activities happening throughout the year.