Roggeland Country House, Paarl
Price Range (p/p)
Medium | R100 - R300
If you’ve ever been frustrated by the lack of choice in halaal food at Spier then Roggeland Country House will bring an end to your picnic woes. The drive out to Paarl was well worth the hospitality and generosity of the Moerat family that own and run this beautiful and tranquil venue.
Roggeland Country House is situated 54km from the Northern Suburbs in Cape Town. The old Dutch farm was bought from the Heritage Foundation and restored to function as a destination venue for events, picnics, weddings, conferences all aimed at servicing the Muslim market.
The 3 Moerat brothers Majied, Arief and Kaashif own and run the farm. Together with their parents and sisters they run a tight ship. The kitchen is in the very creative hands of their Mother who comes from a catering background and sister who does speciality desserts and cakes, even wedding cakes which can be ordered for weddings at the Estate.
We phoned ahead to make a booking. The Estate works on a bespoke system. They prefer guests to book ahead so they can tailor each experience for every guest. Whether you want to come out for lunch under the trees or a picnic for 10, they will create the perfect experience with an advance booking.
Prices are very affordable. A buffet meal with a starter, 2 mains and dessert is in the region of R130, including juice, coffee and tea. The Moerat families’ objective is to create an exclusive experience that is affordable without sacrificing any standards. The farm is still young, and much work is still on the go to beautify and upscale. But there is no lack of elegance in their presentation.
After being warmly met by our host Arief Moerat, we were shown around the grounds and told about their plans for making Roggeland a go to destination for local Muslims and tourists. They have a swimming pool, horses and ponies that the kids can ride, and a quad bike that they take guests on around the farm. Did I mention they have accomodation? 8 very basic but rustic and charming family rooms with modernised bathrooms.
As the site is a Heritage site they are limited in terms of what modifications they can make so in essence have maintained the original Dutch charm of the farm. Expect rough walls and thatch ceilings. Rooms currently have only the basics. No TV, but there are plans underway to make things more star rated. You can currently get a room at R400 per room per night, including breakfast. The Main house has 2 luxurious preparation rooms for brides when they are having their wedding on the grounds. And breakfast is served in the foyer when you have bed and breakfast bookings.
Our lunch, despite our last minute booking was a relaxed affair under the trees in front of the Main house. We were served a shrimp starter followed by a tasty Chicken Lasagne beautifully presented on gold plates. There was no rushing the courses and our little one ran all over the grounds while we ate, occasionally heading back for bites of food. Our dessert was truly the piéce de résistance. A decadent platter of Malva pudding and ice cream scattered with chocolate truffles and drizzled with more chocolate. I almost didn’t know where to start. The only downside is that being outdoors and it being a farm on a hot day it was difficult to keep the flies at bay.
We were treated to a quad bike ride after lunch and shown around the grounds and adjoining properties. Guests are often taken on this ride to see the history of the farm and it’s original owners. There is also a waterfall on one of the neighbouring farms which guests can be taken to. It was a fun and exhilarating way to end a lovely day before we headed back to Cape Town.
It would be great if one was able to just show up and have a picnic and maybe one day they will be set up in this way. For now they work on a pre-book system. You need to give them a little notice so they can prepare something specifically for you. Also, the farm may be booked for a function so best to phone ahead and check.
Reviewed: November 2014