On our last visit to Tulbagh I fell in love with the little town, so I was ever-so-pleased to return, and even more pleased to be hosted at the beautiful Wittedrift Manor House. The only complaint I have is that we had to leave. Not only because Wittedrift was so lovely, but also because … food. There just wasn’t enough time to sample the smorgasbord of restaurants that Tulbagh has. I was astounded by the range of places to eat in and around Tulbagh last time, and now there are more!
We were only there for two nights, though, so not nearly enough mealtimes! Arriving on Saturday, serendipitously at lunchtime, we headed out on the Tweejongegezellen Road and were hosted for lunch by new kids on the Tulbagh block, Digger’s Home. What a treat it was.
Owner, Janet, and waitress, Franzelle, were there to welcome us and settle us at a table on their huge shaded stoep that has a gorgeous view across the valley. It’s a place for long, lazy lunches (LLLs). The tapas-type menu, too, is ideal for said LLLs. Don’t you like that little acronym I just made up? I think it should be a thing. It will go down in history as being coined at Diggers Home.
The food is made by Chef Andre. I have capitalised the C purposefully. It is divine. We were given a palate cleanser of charcoal vetkoek with farm butter and the most fabulous tomato jam. The charcoal vetkoek seriously looks like a charcoal brickette. I was expecting oil to squirt out as I bit it, my experiences with vetkoek harking back to my boarding school days, but this was the total opposite. It was light and fluffy and totally unoily. Delicious!
The farm has recently started producing its own wines, and has already won some awards, so I had a glass of their Unwooded Chardonnay while we had long chats with Janet, who is lovely (as is the wine). We struggled to decide on what tapas to order, because it all looked so good but finally settled on Flat Bread with Hummus and Olive Tapenade; Chicken Crepinette in Neapolitan Sauce and Fishcakes with Gooseberry and Tomato Relish. It was gorgeous, and fabulously tasty, all of it. If I had to pick a winner: the fish cakes (served in a perfect Lucky Star dish) with the gooseberry and tomato relish, which is seriously good.
After this feast, we had to lie down – Saturday naps are non-negotiable – so we headed back to the cool quiet of Wittedrift and reclined, in preparation for our feasting at the Tulbagh Boutique Hotel later in the evening.
We were hosted for dinner at The Olive Terrace, which is on the stoep of the Tulbagh Hotel. It’s gorgeous, with a fairy-lit tree in its middle and a view over old Tulbagh to the hill on the edge of town, behind which the sun slowly drops. Sundowner spot deluxe. It was lively and full with of locals and visitors (I know, I’m a chatter and a stellar eavesdropper, remember?) Manager, Lydia, and waitress, Natasha, treated us like royalty.
We’d been recommended the tuna starter by the locals, so we had it. The locals are not wrong. Perfectly seared tuna nestling on a bed of creamy avo, mayo and edemame beans. Too good. I had the mushroom risotto to follow, which I loved, so much so that I forgot to take a pic! GM had a steak and salad. It was thick and tender and basted with the most delicious basting sauce.
At that point, while I was tempted by their dessert menu (and my family have separate pudding stomachs) but I was truly too full, even with said pudding stomach. I will, absolutely, be back though, to try out the puddings!
Diggers Home has a dirt parking area on a very slight slope but there’s a nice flat bit on one side which is fine for getting out. There’s a ramp up onto the lawn and the tables are the perfect height (even for nearly-6-foot me).
The Olive Terrace and Tulbagh Hotel is within flat-ish walking distance of Wittedrift (and it’s a pretty walk). The hotel has a great ramp all the way up to it. It’s a little steep, so those of us who are less strong need a little pushing from behind, but the staff are lovely and helpful, so that’s no issue. The tables, too, are wheelchair-friendly.
*Feel free to contact me if you’d like more detailed info. I’m happy to chat.