Last week, I spent a blissful two nights at the iconic Grande Roche Hotel 

I was so excited to visit this much admired and talked about grande dame of Cape winelands hotels, often referred to as the “Pearl of Paarl”.

Not only does Grande Roche offer exceptional cuisine, for those overnighting, the hotel’s generously spaced accommodation offers an elegant stay set amidst vineyards and a breathtaking mountain backdrop. Best of all, the drive from Cape Town CBD to Grand Roche is under an hour.

A Brief History

In 1717, the land on which Grande Roche was built was granted to Hermanus Bosman. An industrious farmer, Bosman cultivated vines, orchards and vegetables on the property.

When Bosman passed on in 1769, the farm passed onto his eldest son who planted more vineyards, a wine cellar and additional buildings. The farm remained in the Bosman family for two centuries, until 1929.

After a succession of owners, the property was converted into a five-star hotel in 1992 and has since become an icon of winelands hospitality.

In 2019, Hansie and Theresa Britz acquired the illustrious property, and have injected new luster into the property.

On Friday evening I  experienced Grande Roche’s head chef, Kevin Grobler’s monthly ‘Wine Celebration Dinner’ hosted at the hotel’s restaurant.

This months Food and Wine Pairing was held in conjunction with De Grendel Wines

The cost to attend on of these evenings, held every month at the hotel is R750 per person.

Check out the hotels website HERE to learn about the lineup for the coming months and to secure your place.

On arrival, we were greeted with a welcome drink and canapés.

While Chef Grobler tantalized our taste buds describing the menu he had created for the evening, De Grendel Cellar Master Charles Hopkins chatted us through the wine pairing for each course – often coupled with hilarious antidotes that had us all in stitches.

First Course

Gnocchi filled with lemon & black pepper Ricotta, a lemon and black pepper Whey emulsion and a Black pepper Lace Tuille and Sage Gremolata. I don’t eat Ricotta, so Chef Grobler kindly tweaked my first course. I still enjoyed gnocchi, but the Ricotta was replaced by a delish, full bodies sauce made with roasted tomatoes and basil, topped with lashing of parmesan. Chef was a tad worried the meal wouldn’t pair so well with the 2022 De Grendel Viognier, but my palette adored the combination.

Second Course

Chili and Paprika roasted pork loin with red pepper puree, potatoes in confit smoked pork fat, marinated cannellini beans finished with a pork foam. Paired with 2021 de Grendel Pinot Noir

Third Course

Grilled lamb loin, braised lamb belly and hoisin roasted aubergine served with burnt aubergine puree, pickled onions, mustard seeds and almonds. Paired with 2015 sir David Graaff.

Fourth Course

I’m afraid I don’t have an image. After all the delish food and a bit too much wine, I totally neglected to snap my decadent dessert prior to eating it. Dessert was orange Genoise, orange blossom meringue and orange fruit leather with compressed pineapple and toasted coconut. Paired with 2022 Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest.

Sharing Plates Experience

On Saturday evening, I got to try Chef Kevin’s newly introduced sharing plate experience – available for both lunch and dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. All produce used in the dishes is seasonal and sourced from nearby farms.

Choose from a 3-course sharing plate priced at R550 per person or 4 courses at R650 per person.

“The sharing plates experience is an ideal way to enjoy delicious food with family and friends at a festive table. We have created some really tasty dishes with inspiration from around the globe” – Chef Kevin

I opted for the four courses.

For my first plate, I couldn’t resist trying the lip-smacking Pork pot stickers with a chili and sesame dressing. Done to perfection.

My second plate was the Calamari Steak with sticky rice and Gochujang sauce. The calamari steak was melt-in-the-mouth tender, while the fiery Gochujang sauce, and I can’t lie, had me breakout in a small, upper lip sweat. It was just deliciousness on a plate – the perfect combo of flavours.

My third plate consisted of Confit Duck Leg, spring onions, a pancake and a fruits barbecue sauce. With this dish, one is encouraged to fill the pancake with the duck meat and smother it with the sauce. This was my favourite of all the dishes. The duck was cooked to perfection and the fruity BBQ sauce perfectly set off its flavours.

Choosing my fourth plate, a dessert was NOT an easy option. I had to selected between a Lemon éclair or a slice of Blackout Sponge topped with peanut and coffee meringue and peanut ganache. I opted for the sponge and it didn’t disappoint.

The Accommodation

When I visited Grande Roche, the weather was cold and miserable and it didn’t stop raining. While I would have loved to explore the beautiful gardens, I was just as happy to stay in our spacious, but cozy, elegant suite.

Early morning coffee in hand, gazing out at the Paarl valley.

Each room and suite has its own unique ambience that celebrates both the indigenous flora and the farm’s rich history.

Plush leather and dark wood furnishings, cow hide rugs and wooden ceiling beams and exposed thatch encapsulate the rich heritage of Cape farms. The fynbos-inspired signature wallpaper gives a vibrant splash of colour.

The bathrooms are super luxurious. There’s a good sized tub and a large shower area. Extra luxuries include heated towel rails and underfloor heating.

Also, worth a mention, Grande Roche has a generator, so one is not affected at all by Loadshedding. What a welcome relief this was, if just for two days.

Don’t Miss Out on the INCREDIBLY well priced #PearlofPaarl Special available from 15 March 2023 until 30 September 2023 (subject to availability).

Grande Roche Pearl of Paarl Package #1

One night’s accommodation for two guests sharing and accommodated in a Terrace Suite (Full English Breakfast included)

Sunset canapés and signature cocktail of the day

A four-course sharing plate dinner experience at The Grande Roche Restaurant

A bottle of Under Oaks estate wine to be enjoyed with dinner

Price: R5 450.00, based on 2 persons sharing

Grande Roche Pearl of Paarl Package #2  

One night’s accommodation for two guests sharing and accommodated in a Terrace Suite (Full English Breakfast included)

Sunset canapés and signature cocktail of the day

A 4-course sharing plate dinner experience at The Grande Roche Restaurant

A bottle of selected Under Oaks estate wine to be enjoyed with dinner

A 60-minute couples’ massage

Price: R6 950.00, based on two persons sharing

For dining enquiries, email or call +27 (021) 8635100. For accommodation enquiries, including the Pearl of Paarl Promotions, email

Check out the Grande Roche website HERE. Follow Grande Roche on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE