Words and photos by Greg Landman
Just about the cleverest thing the people at Mooiberge on the R44 at Stellenbosch ever did was to build the deck overlooking their famous strawberry fields, which are packed with the most eccentric collection of scarecrows in the world.
The restaurant there, The Thirsty Scarecrow, looks out towards the magnificent Stellenbosch Mountains. Very popular with a young vibey crowd and their families, this is not for someone looking for a quiet time. From the kitchen come delicious oval thin based pizzas, using beer, which gives them a nice light quality, topped with unusual things like biltong, avo and blue cheese. Try the Kickin’ Chicken, with peanut sauce, toasted cashews, coriander, and a splash of chili to give it that extra little kick, very different, or the Dutch bitterballen with Dijon mustard, superb, or the fried calamari with fresh lime and salsa verde, nice and rich, with garlic aioli.
The German Trio consists of bockwurst, bratwurst and wiener with sauerkraut and mustard- perfect with one of the fabulous artisanal beers.
Even more substantial is the beef and ale pie with hand cut fries, and the slow roast BBQ beef brisket with Swiss cheese, slaw and a soft bun.
The killer ending is deep fried Oreos (no, really) dipped in doughnut batter and deep-fried to a sweetness that will curl your toes.
Of course there is wine and some of the best local artisanal and imported beers. Prices are more than friendly and will not break the bank. Pizzas around R90, starters at about R50 and wine at R25 a glass.
The Thirsty Scarecrow is situated on the corner of the R44 and Annandale Road, Mooiberge, Stellenbosch. Phone 021 881 3444.
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.