Boschendal’s The Werf Restaurant has found a new way to express its soil-to-fork philosophy, and has launched a new menu of sharing plates. Executive Chef Allistaire Lawrence recognised the need for a more accessible, less formal, dining experience, and has evolved The Werf’s multi-course fine-dining offering into a relaxed ‘small plate’ experience.
The new approach to The Werf Restaurant menu is aimed squarely at encouraging locals and winelands visitors to reconnect with friends and family over fine food. Sharing plates are priced between R95 – R125, ensuring that The Werf Restaurant offers great value for locals.
“Over the last year we’ve lost that communal sense of sharing, of coming together over food, and I hope the new menu at The Werf can help people rediscover the joy in sharing a meal together,” says Allistaire. The chef joined Boschendal in 2016 and was later promoted to Executive Chef in 2019, building on the foundation laid by respected chef and sustainability advocate Christiaan Campbell.
Allistaire oversees not only The Werf, but also The Deli and Boschendal’s popular picnic offering. On the production side, he looks after the on-site butchery and bakery, as well as the estate’s ‘Food Lab’ that produces the fresh and frozen ‘to-go’ items in the Farm Shop and the fresh sauces and condiments used across the estate.
It’s a complex operation, but one that Allistaire takes in his stride: “In everything we do we’re focused on keeping with the Boschendal way of thinking, of that soil-to-fork philosophy built on sustainability and freshness.”
”When it comes to the sharing plates at The Werf Restaurant, “the focus is on produce, always the produce,” he says. “There are no gimmicks, no smoke and mirrors. My style of cooking is all about simplicity, and allowing the product to shine. I don’t like taking an ingredient and making it taste like something else. If the product is inferior, no amount of cooking or saucing will change that.”
Luckily, Allistaire has an incredible range of farm produce to work with, from dry-aged cuts of pasture-raised Angus beef to Duroc pork from the pigs that forage in the estate forests. Pasture-reared chickens supply a steady stream of fresh eggs, while the expansive Food Garden – an impressive backdrop to the restaurant terrace – provides the kitchens with fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables throughout the year.
The sharing menu at The Werf is a chance for each ingredient to shine and changes every two weeks to reflect what is in peak on the farm and in the garden. Example fishes from the concise menu include slivers of aged Angus sirloin with baby onions and beef jus. Light potato gnocchi is served with cauliflower, while free range pork terrine is served with an apple and kohlrabi salad. Side dishes served alongside the sharing plates include Caesar salad with Allistaire’s soutvis dressing, and salad of seasonal tomatoes and herbs. A dish to look forward to in summer is fresh yellowtail ceviche with Werf garden kimchi and crispy sago.