Only 90 minutes from Cape Town, Robertson is a set in the heart of the Route 62 wine producing region, and its wide streets are lined with jacaranda and oak trees.
Nestled down a leafy side street The Robertson Small Hotel looks like, well….it looks like a small hotel.
Actually it’s a Victorian manor house, which has been skillfully remodelled to add on rooms and build two swimming pools out in what was the back garden.
It is a boutique hotel with just 10 rooms. You can stay in a Manor Suite (V. posh), a Stable Suite (a posh loft) or a Poolside Suite (a posh poolside room).
I opted for the Poolside Suite, the thought of a sparkling pool outside my back door proved irresistible.
Once I got into the room I thought wow!, this is luxurious. An open plan room meant you could call for more bubbly from the bath.
There was flat screen TV, a Boston Acoustics radio, DVD player, complimentary minibar and a nice bottle of local red wine to wet your whistle. And here’s a fun fact; the loo seats are hydraulic. They won’t crash down with a bang. They lower ever so slowly and quietly. You could play with it for hours.
The bed was amazingly comfortable, the linen was the best (enormous thread count), the towels were white and fluffy and all I wanted to do was sink into the huge marshmallow-like pillows and chill out.
After a relaxing soak in the deep bath I headed over to Reuben Riffel’s restaurant. Glass walled, it faces onto an internal courtyard with a French feel. The wine collection is already legendary, and it reflects the passions of co-owner Tim Rands and the heritage of the Breede River Valley wine producers.
I started with a caramelized onion and gorgonzola tartlet. It was tasty and delicious. The chilli salt squid with chilli jam and nuac chan ( a Vietnamese lime and chilli sweet dipping sauce) hit the spot.
For mains I ordered, with some trepidation, the wild mushroom risotto. I say trepidation as I haven’t had a decent risotto in a long time in South Africa. They are usually overcooked, over salted and bland.
But I need not have worried. This one was perfectly judged. The rice had that little bite and the earthiness of the mushrooms came through, the shaved parmesan cheese allowing just the right hint of salt to a dish that just moaned with Umami.
My partner ordered the roast crispy duck. What could go wrong? he said. He was right. Golden crispy skin revealed soft moist flesh underneath. it was accompanied by spiced citrus jus and an apple potato cream.
A bottle of Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap was the perfect wine to compliment the food.
Service was timely and assured, I loved being able to see into the kitchen and was impressed by the lack of fuss and relaxed air. The menu can be described as bistro casual, and this is reflected in the funky and easy to follow one page menu.
A smiling young woman, Anneri Pienaar, emerged as the sous chef who had cooked our meal that night. She’s one to watch. She carefully tastes all her dishes and is very conscious about the over use of salt in South African kitchens.
I loved my meal, the kitchen got everything right. I sauntered back to the room, confident that I was going to get a great nights sleep.
This was a deluxe experience, and it is a special night away.
The Robertson Small Hotel and Reuben’s. 58 Van Reenen Street, Robertson 6705.
023 626 7200. email@example.com