May 6th 2011, 04:56

Dine like a queen, while watching the game of kings. If you are tired of the usual locations, why not try a restaurant with a view across the psychedelic green of Val de Vies polo pitch, surrounded by the majestic Franschhoek and Paarl mountains? I found it difficult to focus on the menu because I kept looking up, just in case Ryk Neethling might saunter past in his swimming trunks. Now that would be a clever marketing trick! Ryk launched the Ryk Neethling Swimming School at the Val de Vie Leisure Centre in November 2009. Recently, in partnership with Val de Vie’s winemaker Harold Versfeld, he created his own blend of wine. Harold jokes with us that they wanted to put a picture of the pair of them on the label and call it Beauty and the Beast, but Harold is being far too self-deprecatory. Harold is there on most weekends, advising on which wine to pair with what food. His in-depth wine knowledge and endless anecdotes add to the pleasure of dining at the Polo Club. Newly appointed chef Dewald Hurter trained at Buitenverwachting wine estate. He offers two menus. The Café Menu is a lunchtime menu. It focuses on Casalingastyle Italian food, with specialities like the Risotto di Pesce laden with prawns, mussels and calamari. Try the freshly made traditional pizzas, with paper-thin bases and a selection of delicious toppings. The Summer Menu is served during the evening as well as for Sunday lunch. My cob, lemongrass, ginger, brown mushroom, Angel-hair noodle consommé was a fine example of the New World food that Dewald aims to serve. Light and delicious, it was served with a delicately beautiful star anise draped on top.

Val de Vie Estate, R301, Jan van Riebeeck Drive, Paarl. Tuesday Saturday, 10am–9.30pm, Sunday 10am–3.30pm (booking essential),
021 863 6100.

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