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“Swartland"s Worst”

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Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro
Ranked #13 of 17 Riebeek Kasteel B&B and Inns
Reviewed 1 June 2014

This was the most terrible meal I have ever encountered. The duck was burnt and fatty, the potatoes dry. In one word unedible. The fish, I got instead, was very soggy and the potatoes as fatty as the duck I had returned.The whole meal was drowned in white undefinable white sauce.
The friendly, but slow service did not help at all.
The whole place seems quite run down, if one looks at the thread bare carpets.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LTCcapetown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Allan B, Owner at Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 21 September 2014

It is instinctive to apologize unreservedly to a guest that has paid good money but received sub-standard food or service and to try one's utmost to compensate such a guest. But to refer to a meal as the "most terrible I have ever encountered" raises not only eyebrows, but also suspicion. We have served thousands of meals during the 12 years of being in business and never before has such harsh condemnation been attributed to any of our meals. This is the kind of review that could conceivably close a restaurant down. We initially decided not to respond to this damning review, because it is so fraught with improbability that we even suspected it might be the work of a mischievous competitor! Especially since none of the staff nor my partner Julien, who was cheffing on that day, can recall any incident where our normally excellent duck was returned and replaced with soggy fish. It is clear (and regrettable) that the reviewer hated every minute at our establishment, but many subsequent guests who had read this review commented that, based on their own experience at our establishment, there may be more to this reviewer's motive than meets the eye. Why was the owner never called to the table, for instance? The facts: our duck is slow cooked for about four hours, rendering most of the fat, then oven baked, then finally grilled to give the skin a crispy finish. The potatoes we serve with the duck are shallow-fried in duck fat. If anything, these potatoes should have tasted fatty, not dry? We do not serve our grilled Kingklip with fatty potatoes, but with Gratin Dauphinois. We do not drench any meal (except steak) with sauce. The grilled Kingklip is set on (not covered with) a lemon butter sauce, at best half a cupful. The reference to the "whole place" looking run-down is grossly unfair since it is based solely on the reviewer's opinion on the appearance of rugs that take a daily beating. In some quarters, the term "shabby chic" might have been applied in contradiction to the reviewer's discerning eye. Besides, how is this relevant to the food or the general atmosphere of the place? It is astounding that it takes a restaurant literally years to build up a reputation, only to be subjectively trashed in a public forum like this without the veracity of the review ever being checked.

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41 - 47 of 60 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2014

Attracted by a newspaper advertisement we decided to book in for a night at this Country Inn and explore the charming village of Riebeeck Kasteel. From the absence of a welcome by the proprietors to the lack of any form of farewell at departure we experienced disappointment in the service. We found no television in the bedroom and alas no working television in the lounge, where we even had to find someone to repair a reading light and to top it all no hot water in the bathroom. On the whole we found the evening meal good but the breakfast below average. The general impression of the premises were not what we had expected from the advert.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Allan B, Owner at Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 10 April 2014

We apologize profusely for not welcoming this guest personally, but I have to mention out that in my own considerable travels around the world, it is rarely expected that the proprietor is obliged to not only welcome each and every guest, but should also be on hand to bid them farewell! Whilst this is an "ideal world" scenario, it is simply not practical. In fact, in most establishments one stays in these days, knowing the proprietor's or even the general manager's identity is vary rare. I could not help wondering if it was it the guest's intention to come visit the proprietors or to come have a quiet, anonymous break?

Our website states quite clearly that we do not have televisions in our rooms. We pride ourselves on this feature simply because over the years, our guests have repeatedly informed us that hearing a next-room neighbour's blaring rugby match while you're trying to take a nap is a sure-fire deterrent.

A blown globe and not having hot water is completely unacceptable, for which I have already apologized unconditionally to this guest in private correspondence. This was an oversight by a new staff member, as we switch our geysers off when not in use and this staff member simply forgot to switch them on. I am confident this will not happen again.

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Reviewed 6 April 2014

I've been going to Kasteelberg for lazy lunches on an off and on basis for years. I've not been for 2 years or more as on the last occasion (before today - 6 April 2014) it was not up to standard. Decided to give it a try again but phew, what a ripoff. Felt a bit like I was insulted by what I was served. Totally over-priced but that is not the main problem with this establishment - the food leaves much to be desired. Descriptions of dishes are quite tantalising, the reality not so. My pork belly = rashers of pork with sweet chilli sauce from a bottle to which they added something to zoot it up; this attempt did not work. A friend's calamari and chips was hardly above takeaway standard from ... okay, let's leave it there. Best to avoid this place until they've done an about turn. Have to add that our male Zimbabwean waiter gave us lovely service - he was the highlight of our lunch.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank IlseZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Allan B, Owner at Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 10 April 2014

This industry will never cease to amaze me, much as I love it. On the very day that this guest found it to be so disappointing, this very same dish was praised beyond words by another diner, barely two tables away. Exactly the same pork belly, cooked and presented in exactly the same way. How can this be? It is unfortunate that the way we prepare our pork belly is not to the guest's taste, but in fairness, there is nothing much an establishment can do about individual tastes. Why the guest feels it was such an insulting rip-off is not clear. In fact, this review by the guest is the first I've heard of any discontent whatsoever on the day in question. I would have gone out of my way to compensate the guest had I been notified on the spot. We have been in business for more than a decade and I dare say in that time, we have honed our skills not just in the kitchen, but on the restaurant floor as well. There is always a way out of a bad situation, but then you need to be informed in the first place. My apologies that your experience was not memorable. We'll just keep trying!

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Reviewed 5 February 2014

We stayed here with another couple for 3 days. It was a bit like staying at your favourite aunts house - a bit faded round the edges but comfortable and friendly. There are definite maintenance issues - a broken window frame in our room and frayed carpets here and there, but the atmosphere is so relaxed that these are minor inconveniences. Dinner is excellent - it is definitely one of the best places in the village. Breakfast is of a good quality, but disappointing in that there is basically a choice of cereal or eggs - one would normally expect to get both! The village also has some other very good restaurants and some of the surrounding wineries offer food, so the Inn is a good base for exploring the area.

The swimming pool was a great bonus as it was hot while we were there, and the 'secret garden' bar had a great buzz - especially on 'braai night' (Friday).

We would definitely come again.

Room Tip: Downstairs rooms are better.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank 06D123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2014 via mobile

I've been here 3x and will continue going here. The food is amazing, had duck that was perfectly cooked with a nice sweetish, red wine jus. They also have little sprayed for those warm summer days and pesky flies. If your in the area and like fine dining, this is the place to go.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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Thank Linky P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2014

The Secret Garden at Kasteelberg came highly recommended but unfortunately it turned out to be a just a hangout for the local drunk students. Only one staff member on duty that had to be barman, waiter and manager.

The venue really has so much potential but it seems that the owners can't care less about it.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank ColdAvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2013 via mobile

I was in Riebeek Kasteel again this weekend. It is such a great place with a cool vibe. So we decided to try the advertised breakfast for R39. I wasn't expecting too much for that price but as it turned out I did expect far too much. It's a set breakfast with only a choice of how the eggs could be done so should mean it gets to the table quickly and all at the same time - unfortunately neither of these happened. We were offered white or brown toast - 3 took brown, 1 white. What did we get? 4 pieces of white so we thought ok that's for the 1 person who ordered - wrong! Anyway to get to the plate content - 2 eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, a piece of sausage and some cherry tomatoes that had been passed briefly under the grill - including the glass of orange juice not bad for R39 but, I don't even want to use the word "presented". Food presentation makes and breaks a simple meal like this and it was definitely in the minus area of the scale. One didn't really want to eat it ! I don't know what went wrong here but one cannot really blame the friendly waitrons carrying the plates so I guess it's management. Whoever and wherever management is, please do a check. A R39 breakfast is a great idea but not the way I experienced it.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
Thank 173EnjoyLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro

Address: 13 Fontein Street, Riebeek Kasteel, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Riebeek Kasteel
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Riebeek Kasteel
Number of rooms: 7

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