REVIEW Joy at Jardine on Jordan in Stellenbosch

If you’re irritated that your favourite city restaurants are swamped with tourists and December upcountry visitors, then head for the Winelands this month. A casual Friday lunch for two might just hit the spot.


Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine’s recent opening means there is still no signage at the start of the Stellenbosch Kloof exit to the farm. That’s not to say word isn’t spreading. Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley (booked solid) is happily referring their spill over guests here. A couple of office parties were happening at adjacent tables too, including a girl’s lunch where a woman with booming voice did her best to include remaining diners in her every observation.

George Jardine’s food and reputation needs little introduction, and when you see the unhindered panoramic view of Stellenbosch over a dam from the terrace dining space, it’s easy to see why the lunch service was full. The open kitchen offers a sizeable window to guests outdoors, keeping the mood relaxed.

The Jordan menu changes often to reflect available suppliers’ produce. I struggled to select between only three starters and four main courses because dishes sounded so enticing I wanted to try them all - a good thing. There is a vegetarian starter and main too.

We settled on Stanford trout (smoked inhouse) served on a shallot dressing with seared scallops and miniature greens. The dish offered fresh tastes and textures, but didn’t stand a chance in the flavour stakes against the outstanding steamed Saldanha Bay black mussels out of the shell, served with fresh pea fricassee on a roll of buttered fettucine. I couldn’t figure out the origin of the sauce and the waiter wasn’t any help (training is in progress), but it worked so well as a whole in a tangy, creamy chowder sort of way. The chef surprised by also sending out a 12-hour braised short rib – a little square of velvet – topped with a sliver of foie gras and miniature greens, surrounded by creamy cauliflower mousse in a pool of stock-rich truffle jus. We gobbled it all up, yet had space for more.


Main courses tend to be wood-roasted in the pizza oven, or grilled where possible. Aged Chalmar beef ribeye had a crumbed marrow crust, celeriac tubes and puree below, charred banana partnering roasted shallot creatively. I rarely order chicken in a restaurant because it’s so often bland or dry. But sections of wood-fired Elgin free-range chicken were so tender under creamy tarragon sauce, with bitter cavolo nero cabbage contrasting sweet turnip puree and a rich stock swirl. Delightful. A yellowtail dish, or a smoked garlic and sorrel risotto with asparagus were other alternatives.

The wine list isn’t overly long or complicated. A plus is that mark-ups seem lower than those at Jardine in Bree Street. The selection by the glass are all Jordan wines, unless it’s a style they don’t make. I’d heard Gary and Kathy Jordan were involved in the wine selection and that rare CWG vintages and a few bottles from France would feature, but didn’t see much evidence. Perhaps there is an extensive list on request.

A rhubarb and honey soufflé looked impressive but didn’t taste properly cooked underneath. But it was a minor glitch. Coffee had a good crema and the dark chocolate torte was delicious bittersweet stuff, offset by mixed berry sorbet. My advice: go soon before everyone discovers this place.

Spend at lunchtime: R200 for two courses, R225 for three courses.
Value: Very good for the style of food. Flavour rating: outstanding.

JORDAN RESTAURANT WITH GEORGE JARDINE, 6km along Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Stellenbosch. Open for lunch Tues to Sun, dinner on Thurs and Fri. Tel 021 881 3612 Jordan
Did you know? Dinner offerings consist of two tasting menus: for meat/fish eaters and vegetarians respectively.