May 14, 2021

Constantia on crutches



The Constantia wine route has many attributes – the oldest wine-producing farm in the country, stand-out cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux-blend wines, breathtaking vineyard and valley vistas, two three-plated restaurants (La Colombe and Greenhouse), two-plated Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia and many other highly-rated culinary establishments too, from Foxcroft to Klein Constantia.

There is one advantage that I had not previously considered – it is the wine region closest to home. When on crutches convalescing from a foot op (note to self, you are never jumping off a bar stool again), it is essential to plan outings that are easily accessible and nearby. I’ve never been more appreciative of disabled access. Friends have been fantastic chauffeurs and thank goodness for Uber. My husband excelled himself as I whinged wildly after the first 10 days of lying with my foot up. Cabin fever had truly set in, it was a Saturday morning, and he suggested a drive and some wine shopping. I was game…he headed past our favourite trio of Beau Constantia, Eagles Nest and Constantia Glen…and kept driving.


I ended up on a bar stool where the trouble began. Our very knowledgeable tasting ambassador led us through our tastings – the express of three wines for me, starting with a Prosecco-style bubbly, and the classic of five wines for my man. As a member of the wine club the (reasonably-priced) wine tastings are free. Whilst perched, sipping and enjoying the view and people-watching, I developed a little appetite. I quickly checked Dineplan but Bistro Sixteen82 was full. A moment later I hobbled to reception, and they miraculously pulled a table out of the hat. I was offered another chair to keep my foot elevated whilst we worked our way through a delectable lunch. Chef Kerry Kilpin believes in using premium-quality, ethically-sourced ingredients, so the charcuterie board, panko prawns and smoked fish taco with avo, aioli, apple, fennel and curry oil were all on par. Our waitron was well versed in ABALOBI and traceability, passionate and informative. I’m sure that medical aid should have re-imbursed me for the therapy. The Steenberg Rosé paired well with our lunch, and I was delighted to be horizontal in the back of the car for the drive home!

Bistro Sixteen82 and Jenny Handley
Steenberg Estate


I am not a food snob, but a great appreciator of food prepared from quality ingredients, preferably local, and crafted with care, consideration and love. Having only three opportunities a day to indulge (plus two snacks), it seems vital that every breakfast, lunch or dinner is an occasion to appreciate. And coffee tastes better with a view. I am grateful that I can eat when hungry (my work with StreetSmart reminds me of how lucky I am).

Trying not to inconvenience friends who were kindly taking me out and about, we often defaulted back to Constantia. There is a plethora of fabulous coffee shops and light lunch stops…in addition to wine tastings.


South Africa’s oldest producing wine farm dating back to 1685, feeds my soul. Sitting outside, in dappled sunshine, is one of the world’s free delights. Jonkershuis offers outside tables, inside and a courtyard. As their scones are called JH (after their name not mine), I felt propelled into ordering them for breakfast whilst my man devoured eggs Benedict. Quite indulgent, but delicious – and you can have whipped or clotted cream. Add that to a wine tasting at Groot Constantia, and you have had a mini holiday.


The view of the Manor House against the mountain backdrop is astounding, worthy of a car and photo stop (to the horror of the SUV on our tail). The Coffee Bloc is a popular stop for breakfast or light lunch – I managed both during my convalescence. Beyond Restaurant is, as previously scribed, beyond temptation, worthy of a repeat visit.


For casual chats and coffee with sustenance Chardonnay Deli (best leafy, outdoor setting), Four&Twenty (best eggs Benny in town), EllenJay (best cakes to die for) and Wolfe&Hare (best shopping) tick all the boxes – visual stimulation and something delicious to pair with your coffee, after which a little retail therapy is a must.

For table-setting inspiration tune in to Fine Music Radio on Saturday 15 May at 10h45, when I will be chatting to Amelia Mariella of Wolfe&Hare.

Wolfe & Hare
Jenny Handley at Four & Twenty
Four & Twenty
Jenny Handley in Constantia
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