“Last night I dreamed of Africa” author Karen Blixen said. And so did the owners of the Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant, Sedgefield. Penny Streeter, who was awarded an OBE by the Queen and real estate developer Nick Rea have created a flavoursome dream here on the banks of the Swartvlei Lagoon.
The Benguela Brasserie was a farmhouse initially. Done up, it gleams like a nautilus shell, here on the banks of the lagoon. By day young moms and cyclists rub shoulders with James Bond types who arrive by speedboat and have lunch in their speedos. The vibe is informal and friendly. Bold modern art add pops of colour.
Night Times are a different matter. The pace is slower, more sensuous. The restaurant becomes formal and romantic with candles, fairy lights and hand-painted stars providing soft lighting. Chef Kelly-Anne Pietersen, who was trained in the classical French manner, says she uses this occasion to give free reign to her interpretation of modern continental cuisine.
Those who want to let their hair down, can do so safely. The Benguela Brasserie provides free transport for groups of up to seven, with the proviso that each person spends R200 (this includes drinks).
The Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant hosts weddings, chocolate and wine pairings, high teas and Sunday jazz brunches. Wedding parties can book the restaurant along with the lodge for the day and make use of the venue’s catering services. Chef Kelly-Anne Pietersen will create a special menu with you.
The Benguela Brasserie can seat 60 people. If the weather is good a further 60 can be accommodated outside. To be seated outside is a plus, since the lake is a haven for rich and varied birdlife.
From Cape Town, on the N2 Highway, 16 km past Wilderness, or coming from Port Elizabeth, 6 km past Sedgefield, turn at the Lakeside Lodge signboard. Follow the tarred road, take the first turn right, cross the railway line and pass Pine Lake Marina on your right. Continue to the end of the tar, past Trail's End, and you'll find Lakeside Lodge as well as the Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant straight ahead.