The dramatically beautiful Bosjes Chapel in Worcester, in the picturesque Breede Valley, is where many have exchanged vows, the contemporary building forming a breathtaking backdrop for a betrothal. It’s a miniature piece of heaven in the country. Stretch your legs after a leisurely 90-minute drive from Cape Town, wander around the chapel and garden, taking time to admire the tea garden and to reflect in the Botha family graveyard, before a heartwarming country lunch at Bosjes Kombuis on the estate.
Chefs Nicholas Oosthuizen and his wife Julandi, have found their way back to where Nicholas grew up. Coming from Franschhoek where he worked at Foliage, Nicholas has returned to his roots. He is the youngest of five brothers, “It was always my job to help in the kitchen, to do what I was told,” he says, smiling. Smiling is what he now does a lot of, like when picking the first of the radishes he planted upon arrival. “We have established a garden nearby, at the school.” He is excited about discovering and supporting suppliers in the valley, a legacy learnt from his mentors in Franschhoek. Whilst he may miss their constant availability, it is now his time to create his own footprints.
The setting is enviable. High ceilings and vast glass doors that open back in summer allow the outdoors in. Parents can sit on the wooden deck and watch their offspring at play in the mini playpark that promises to entertain littlies before they devour something delicious from the kiddies’ menu. Being truly family-friendly, they also offer babies’ snacks.
In addition to the Bosjes wines, there is a generous selection of wines from the valley curated by Allan Mullins. Over a glass of their Chenin Blanc I tucked into the melanzane with semi-dried tomatoes, capers, baby balls of mozzarella and basil pesto, generous in portion and flavour. My man chose the pressed lamb rib with salsa verde, artichoke purée and pickled fennel. The sea bass with a smoked mussel velouté, quinoa, fine beans and toasted almonds was a dish in which each component gently made its mark. The confit duck leg with pancake, baby carrots, butternut purée and orange jus was perfectly portioned and plated. We shared a dessert, a thin slice of lemon tart with meringue shards and a passion-fruit mousse – a heavenly end to our simple but delicious lunch.
The restaurant is open for lunches from Wednesdays to Sundays. Know that on Saturdays you are sure to see a wedding in progress as the venue is fully booked during the forthcoming season. Booking is essential, and the drive worthwhile – unpretentious, wholesome country fare served with care and flair.