ONE of the most historically themed dining experiences you could wish for is Pomegranate, at Vergenoegd wine estate, between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.
Diners with fond memories of Melville's past will recall Pomegranate and the chef Michael Israel, who has now run a restaurant of the same name at Vergenoegd for the past six years.
The tables are in the farm's manor house, a historic Cape Dutch winelands home that has seen little change to its authenticity. The tiled floors, heavy rafters, bare wood and a big hearth could be from a Vermeer painting.
As congenial as ever, chef-proprietor Israel leads you through the short, cryptic menu (with his trademark embellishments): "tomato tart, mushrooms, game, fish, meat" are all the menu says; he adds the detail verbally, visiting every table a number of times throughout the meal.
Tastes are bold and clear - very satisfying, real food that is a welcome antidote to fiddly food. A recent lunch featured exceptionally tender wildebeest as the "game" option (R129) in a berry and espresso sauce with mash, and the signature roast duck with its soft flesh and crispy skin being perfectly balanced (R135).
The wine list is also concise, with local picks at decent prices and older vintages of the estate's own wines.
. (021) 843-3248, www.pomegranaterestaurant.co.za
. JP Rossouw is editor of Rossouw's Restaurants, the independent guide to dining in South Africa. All visits are made unannounced and are paid for. www.rossouwsrestaurants.com