Stefan’s: the art of cuisine

Stefan’s, one of the restaurants at the newly refurbished Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa, is where culinary and visual arts combine to produce exceptional dining experiences.

Stefan’s, the new restaurant at Erinvale, promises a complete gastronomic experience for connoisseurs. Here, diners will discover how culinary art creates bursts of flavour in the separate anchors of a table d’hôte menu plated on handcrafted serving patens (dishes) by an award-winning chef.

Selections of the finest-crafted new-world boutique wines in a medley of vintages change monthly and always complement Stefan’s nouvelle cuisine, which is grounded in the best of locally sourced fresh produce.

The talent behind the delightful food, chef Stefan Bekker.

Chef Stefan Bekker is proud to be the alter ego, face and namesake for Stefan’s. An executive chef for nine years, he has a passion for the art of gastronomy that grows with each new challenge. He especially excels when he has the freedom to express his artistic side by transforming the freshest produce into a culinary art form, always with the focus on extracting flavours to the full. His benchmark is a combination of freshness and flavour, with the latter either subtle or distinctive depending on specific ingredients.

Years spent working in Qatar and England gave Stefan opportunities to develop both his culinary skills and his refined palate while preparing unique dishes for statesmen such as Barack Obama at regular leadership summits in Doha.

He has now returned home to the Helderberg to bring his mastery into the kitchens of an elegantly refurbished Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa. His team is honoured to be working with such an esteemed leader, who was recently part of a two-person chef team awarded first place in the 2021 Franschhoek Clash of the Chefs, as adjudicated by celebrated master chefs Margot Janse, Bertus Basson and Darren Badenhorst.

Diners should expect a unique gastronomic experience.

At Stefan’s, diners are treated to a lavish but moderately priced table d’hôte menu, with flavours and inspiration that come from all over the world and are enhanced by locally sourced fresh ingredients. For Stefan, the challenge is to ensure the menu will take diners on a riveting gastronomic journey. Comprising either seven or 10 courses, this special menu is served from Wednesdays to Saturdays and changes daily, depending on the ingredients available.

Instead of the flexible wine list being presented as a broad pairing for a specific dish, recommendations will be made based on the contents of a particular menu. With speciality dishes ranging from grilled scallops to honey-inspired dessert, diners’ palates will experience an almost complete gamut of taste nuances. “By presenting so many courses, we strive to present Stefan’s as not just a restaurant, but an entire dining experience,” says the chef.

The design of the restaurant was intended to create a sophisticated and chic space for the enjoyment of food without making it feel pretentious, adds Stefan. “We used a mixture of materials, such as wall panelling, brass and herringbone parquet floors, and a warm colour palette, with the large black tartan carpet pulling the room together.”

The relaxed setting of the Oak Terrace Bistro

With the soft, warm lighting, the cosiness of the fireplace and the aroma of delicious cuisine, Stefan’s is a relaxed space, completely detached from the day-to-day rush. The whole dining experience has been thoughtfully crafted to make it unique, memorable and thoroughly enjoyable.

Stefan demonstrates his craftsmanship and distinctive artistic talent with most of the crockery purposely handmade to match the exceptional venue and changing menus. And firm in his belief that if you can’t buy it, you can always make it, he spent more than six months creating the patens.

Nestled at the foot of Somerset West’s Helderberg, the Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa has recently reopened its doors following a complete refurbishment of the historic manor house and lavish gardens. Long considered the gem and the heartbeat of the region, the prestigious property’s renovation included a reconfiguration of the manor house that has resulted in newly designed guest spaces, such as the welcoming reception area and guest lounge, the Oak Terrace Bistro and the De Jong buffet room.

Erinvale’s eye-catching green marble concierge desk

Leading Cape Town interior designer Clinton Savage worked closely with Dr Christian Elleke, the hotel’s owner, to conceptualise the luxurious yet homely interiors. Clinton’s mastery of colour sets a luxurious tone throughout. A sophisticated palette of warm greens – including a concierge desk clad in Verde Guatemala marble and tropical foliage on a feature wall – ushers in the outdoors, welcomes guests to the reception area and spills over into the Oak Terrace Bistro, where panelled pistachio walls are inset with aged mirror detailing.

Outside, landscape designer Alan Dawson has transformed the Erinvale garden to the extent that regular visitors will be surprised to discover completely new settings. “I continued the theme we created in the central courtyard a few years ago,” says Alan. “The gardens are neither cluttered nor too manicured, and we gave careful consideration to the design to ensure all areas connect and create peacefulness.”

Curvilinear walkways encourage guests to wander through a series of garden ‘rooms’, including a shaded forest walk, a herb garden, water features and lawns. Comprising coral and fever trees, pincushions, restios and buchus, Alan’s plantings are indigenous and water-wise, their different scents adding fragrance to the air.