Food & Drink Review: Christina’s @ Van Loveren

Nestled in the midst of the beautifully lush gardens of the Van Loveren Family Wine Estate, situated just outside the Western Cape towns of Ashton and Robertson, one can find Christina’s @ Van Loveren Restaurant and Bistro.

Housed in the old family Cape Dutch-style manor house, Christina’s offers its guests the choice between either indoor or outdoor seating arrangements (they also have comfy leather couches inside) on their wooden tables and chairs.

Outside you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful garden, a living tribute to the work of Jean Retief who started the garden in 1939 upon her marriage to Henry Retief Snr, whilst sitting beneath the protective shade of smart Van Loveren umbrellas or alternatively, enjoying a blend of flecked sunshine and shade found underneath the living, lime green vineyard pergola.

Christina’s are apparently highly favoured for their thinly crusted, wood-fire pizzas and burgers, with accompanying potato wedges, but they also have an excellent weekend breakfast special, the Four Cousins (which is the name of their famous and well-loved brand of wine(s)) Breakfast, which must surely be a hit as it consists of the following for only R 45: bacon, eggs, mushrooms and rocket lettuce served on toasted, homemade bread, with an accompanying portion of their special potato wedges – as well as the added bonus of a glass of Four Cousins Blush bubbly! (when one takes into consideration that most glasses of wine start at about R 29, this really is a very reasonable price.)

This particular weekend breakfast special is served from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and since bookings are advised on weekends, I have included the contact number of Esti Strydom: (072) 604 6275.

The restaurant is open every day of the week, except Tuesday.

On Sundays, they have live music to set the tone for a relaxing afternoon of good food and wine.

All their food is made from scratch and the ingredients are all sourced locally, using fresh, local produce.

I can’t yet vouch for their cooked meals, but I can safely tell you that their hearty, well-sized burgers and potato wedges look absolutely divine and I would love to try a meal here someday but I can speak for the bistro part of Christina’s.

On the morning of our brief visit, we ordered an Americano, cappuccino and Cafe Latte (pricing ranged from R 16 for the cheapest item, the Americano to about R 22 for the Latte), all of which were simply excellent.

I’m normally a cappuccino girl but the Americano I had at Christina’s is the best I have sampled anywhere and in the past year I’ve tried some of the most well-loved and popular coffee places around the province, especially in Cape Town. (I had it with hot milk despite the warm temperature on the day and was pleased to be given almost more milk than I needed)

My companions thoroughly enjoyed their drinks too and as for the Four Cousins wine, it’s one of my favourite wine brands so I am certain their Blush bubbly is wonderful too.

Christina’s is tastefully decorated inside (I enjoyed walking around near the front desk and amongst the indoor seating) and both the indoor and outdoor tables offer you a wonderful view of the garden. (There are informative and insightful garden tours available but you can enjoy walking around on your own too and, if you’re as lucky as I was on the day, you might be joined by the resident ginger cat on said garden walk.)

Close by to Christina’s one can see the blue farm dam, resident fowls milling around and make a stop inside the small thatched ‘hut’, which has ‘Ouma’s Trees Tell Stories’ written on the outside of it (a hint at the fact that almost all the trees found in the garden were planted for special family, political or historical reasons and many of them bear informative name tags on their trunks.) and which contains an interesting collection of family- and estate-related photographs.

There is also the nearby Van Loveren Wine Shop and Tasting Room, which has its own outdoor seating and highlights.

Below are a few of the photos I took of Christina’s @ Van Loveren:

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Their trademark signage found inside the bistro & restaurant.

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Above: Christina’s from the inside and the views it offers one.

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Above: the outdoor tables & chairs and pergola at Christina’s

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My black Americano with its accompanying side-portion of milk.

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Heart-shaped: A sample of Christina’s cappucino

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Intricate foliage design: a sample of Christina’s Cafe Latte.

I would give Christina’s @ Van Loveren a 8/10 rating for the following: excellent staff, who were friendly and efficient, quick service, quality goods and a spectacular, relaxed family venue.

For additional booking arrangements, please contact Christina’s @ Van Loveren on: (072) 604 6275 or (email address) at: christinas@vanloveren.co.za

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