Camphors at Vergelegen takes two top Eat Out awards

Camphors Executive Chef Michael Cooke with Feroz Koor, Woolworths Group Head of Sustainability (credit Eat Out)

Camphors, the signature restaurant at 317-year-old Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West, has scooped not only sixth place in the prestigious Eat Out Mercedes Benz Restaurant Awards, but has also won the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award.

These accolades were announced at the Grand Arena, Grand West in Cape Town on Sunday 19 November.

Camphors was opened five years ago (November 2012) as part of a larger investment in Vergelegen’s hospitality offerings. Named after five giant camphor trees on the estate, it is located among beautiful gardens on the banks of the Lourens River, against a landscape of dramatic mountain scenery.

Vergelegen was the first Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Champion (2005) and its award-winning wine is the starting point when creating the menus. Executive Chef Michael Cooke’s superb cuisine reflects the wide variety of produce sourced from the farm gardens, orchards and pastures, as well as specialist suppliers.

“We are absolutely delighted with the awards,” said Vergelegen MD Don Tooth. “I’d like to congratulate Michael and the other dedicated members of the team who have worked so hard to ensure Camphors’ success. We hope this latest accolade will encourage more guests to travel out to Somerset West to discover our cuisine, wine and service for themselves.”

Camphors has built an outstanding reputation since it was awarded eighth place in the 2013 Top 10 Eat Out restaurant awards, a year after it opened. It has achieved three star status (the highest award) in the independent Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide and was named one of 21 exceptional South African restaurants in the JHP Gourmet Guide.

Cape Town-born Michael joined Camphors in 2014, having held the posts of Head Chef at both the Greenhouse Restaurant of the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, and La Colombe restaurant.

He said the hyper-seasonal menu always embodies a sense of place. The aim is to understand and appreciate the original produce – where it comes from, the story, and the imagination and creativity invested in producing every single dish.

“Our suppliers are our heroes – and when you have fabulous ingredients, you have the responsibility to make them shine.”

Camphors opening times: Wed-Sunday 12h00-15h00 (lunch) and Friday and Saturday evenings in season to May 2018. To book, contact 021-8472131, or online (

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