Now part of the Hess Family Estates, Glen Carlou houses a small part of Donald Hess’s private art collection. Currently on exhibit are works by Deryck Healey, Ouattara Watts and three works created on site by the remarkable installation artist Andy Goldsworthy.
The thatch roofed restaurant with panoramic views of the valley and vineyards sits alongside the gallery and forms part of the wine tasting room. A glass floor panel looks down on the wine barrels below.
Open only for lunch, it has an à la carte menu with a bias towards seafood. There is also a kiddies menu. Popular choices include the Thai beef salad and the lamb burger. The Spring Art Tour menu costs R165 and includes a complimentary glass of wine. Young, but accomplished chef Hennie van der Merwe has a predilection for piquant foods. The salad starter is an extravagant taste sensation with prawns, calamari strips, fried chorizo, sliced avocado, baby leaf salad, strawberries, lemon zest and a lemon mayonnaise. For main course, I chose the salty Kasler pork loin chops with roasted butternut, baked green apple and potato croquette. The dessert is a thick amarula and (unusual but successful) thyme crème brûlée served with wafer thin tuille biscuit and coffee ice-cream. I highly recommended you take this with a glass of their recent Michelangelo Award-winning natural sweet Chenin blanc dessert wine, The Welder.
Wines are served at estate retail prices, not with restaurant mark-ups, another advantage to dining at the estate. The Hess collection wines from their Californian Napa Valley estate and Peter Lehmann’s Australian Barossa Valley wines are also available for international tastings (R50) and purchase.