Rust en Vrede Restaurant: A Unique Experience
In Engelbrecht’s vision, excellent wines should fit like interlocking puzzle pieces with food, and they should be enjoyed in a sparkling yet relaxed setting. A dinner at the then-new French Laundry in Napa Valley in the late 1990s showed him how a great menu and a great wine list complement each other. “Ever since that day I wanted to do something similar at Rust en Vrede,” Engelbrecht has said, and in 2007 the winery opened Rust en Vrede Restaurant, housed in the old winery building that was built in 1782.
Not surprisingly, it is now considered one of the Cape’s top restaurants and Forbes contributor Cathy Huyghe has beautifully captured the unique experience of dining there:
Here, you can walk up to Chef John Shuttleworth in the kitchen and ask him a question. We literally did this, twice, first because we were curious how he sliced the potatoes for his New Potato “Risotto.” (The short answer: knife skills, in spades.) Then, much later, we went back to ask about the chocolate fondant that was served for dessert.
Here, in this casual world-class restaurant, you felt at ease. You were in for a treat and you knew it, but all the messaging to that effect was toned down. It was confident, but not showy. More steak, less sizzle.
You can read the full piece by Huyghe online on Forbes.com.