Archive for the ‘Venues’ Category

I enjoyed this venue so much, I am thinking of celebrating my own big birthday there. It’s homely, it’s quirky, it’s artistic, the food is wholesome, the service friendly and efficient and the setting is beautiful.

The view as one enters Knorhoek Farm, with guesthouses up ahead and to the right. The restaurant is in a little glen down below on the left (out of the picture).

The restaurant is fairly small, creating an intimate environment for a special occasion.

Organza curtains divided the venue in two, so that the ceremony could be held away from the eating area.

The venue is intimate enough so that no one need miss out on a weepy moment. Large windows allow the natural light to stream in.

The restaurant is furnished with 'real' tables and chairs (not that plastic and laminate stuff), and the whitewashed beams and twigs against the reed ceiling create an airy feeling.

Old silverware decorates the ceiling.

Home-made preserves, books and flowers decorate the old piano, and porcelain plates adorn the walls.

I love the decor of the place, as well as the mismatched silver cutlery and old porcelain crockery on the tables. The wholesome farmhouse-style food is placed on the tables in large serving dishes, so there is no queuing for food. The portions are generous, and the staff pay a visit to each table to check if anyone would like more of anything.

Some guests had their hearty soup starter served in these delightful mini-tureens.

I can highly recommend their award-winning wines – not that I had the opportunity to sample too much, being on duty and all. However, I did have some of their Two Cubs White Blend, which is a John Platter three-star, and I made my way to their wine sales on the way home to buy a few bottles of excellent red to enjoy at home.

All good meals end with coffee. At Towerbosch, traditional moerkoffie is served.

A roaring fire in the fireplace keeps guests warm, and a small lounge area, complete with a bookcase groaning with books, provides a cosy place for becoming better acquainted with someone interesting. The wedding couple used this area to sign the register.

A lounge area is a good place for conversation, as well as a quirky, colourful place for photographs.

The venue is great for both summer and winter: the swimming pool and large lawn provide a great space for summer, and the large fireplace and roaring fire provide comfort and atmosphere in winter.

The twig-lined bridge provides a some extra detail to that going-away shot.

For more information about Knorhoek, their guesthouses and farms, and, of course, Towerbosch Restaurant, pay a visit to their website here – and do let me know if you’ve paid a visit to the farm itself, and what you think of it.

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The entrance to Le Bac Estate, Paarl

We arrived at Le Bac Estate on stiflingly hot day … as hot as only Paarl can become. Luckily for me, I was dressed in my usual black pants and black t-shirt … wouldn’t want to reflect any of that blinding heat onto anyone else!

It was a relief to step into the cool, air conditioned room where the bride and bridesmaids were getting ready. From a photographic point of view, it was also good to discover that there was a beautiful old cupboard in the room, which was great for some still life pics of the dress and shoes, as well as some photographs of the little flower girl studying herself.

The rooms are furnished with beautiful wooden furniture. Little girls seem to find the wedding dress even more exciting than the bride does.

Checking her hair ornaments in the antique mirror.

The window light made for a good series of portraits.

The setting, as with probably any wine estate, is tranquil, and very beautiful. The problem with many of the estates, though, is that once you are in the reception area, or inside the restaurant or bar, you could be anywhere in the world. The venues are usually completely enclosed – probably to regulate the temperature – and visitors are cut of from the view outside. Unless you’re a smoker, chances are slim that you will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery you’re paying for.

In this respect, Le Bac is different. Large doors open onto the vineyards and deck outside. Cool air wafts through the reception area, lifting the gossamer table cloths,  and the Cape light sparkles off the glasses and  suffuses the room. The design allows a comfortable flow from indoors to outdoors and one is constantly aware of the spectacular surroundings.

Large doors allow natural light and the summer breeze into the reception area.

A windless, summer's evening at Le Bac Estate, in Paarl.

A doorway from the reception area leads into the vineyards.

The decor is elegant and sumptuous. Large glass lanterns seem to drip from the high ceilings, their warm light reflecting from the tall mirrors, and painting the room with their amber hue. The burnished wooden floors and beams add a sense of homeliness. Enormous ice-filled silver bowls chill the white wine and the heavy white table cloths seem to glow.

The main reception area, 'Clementine', seats up to 40 guests.

The 'Oroval', the room adjoining the 'Clementine', provides ample dance space. Alternatively, it serves as a reception area for 100 guests.

The orchard lined garden provides a perfect, romantic setting for a wedding ceremony. I would suggest a canopy of some kind, though, as the bridal couple I photographed here were sweltering in their formal clothing under the merciless sun.

The orchard provides a sheltered setting for the service.

The service from the waiters was excellent, and the food superb – those perfect roast potatoes, oh my word! I couldn’t fault this venue.

For more information, contact details and directions, please take a look here.

The sun sets on another summer's day at Le Bac Estate.