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Michelin star Chef Phil Carmichael opens debut South African restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch

Michelin star Chef Phil Carmichael will open his debut South African restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch, marrying French technique with incredible South African produce, sourced from purveyors who share his philosophy on integrity and his commitment to quality.

The corner of Mill and Church Streets is the soon-to-be home of Chef Phil Carmichael’s new bistronomy-style1 restaurant. Located in Stellenbosch's historic central quarter, in view of the Mill Stream Monument, Mill St Bistro will be where bistro dining, contemporary design and a love for locally and sustainably sourced ingredients meet.

Transitioning from his extensive tenure alongside international icons such as Michel Roux Jnr, Gordon Ramsay, and Jason Atherton, to kitchens in top South African restaurants and hotels, Carmichael has now firmly anchored himself in the Cape Winelands. With his new Stellenbosch restaurant, he embraces the essence of South African produce and the intrinsic local “feel” that comes with it, celebrating this heritage in his cooking and business ethos. Carmichael has collaborated with local independent farmers, producers and fishermen who will supply ingredients straight to the Mill St Bistro kitchen.

“We want our food to be authentic, not for the label it carries, but for the meaningful and sustainable values it represents,” says Carmichael. “We’re doing this because it’s how we eat at home. We teach our kids the importance of the provenance of the ingredients and make sure it has as little environmental impact as possible, and ultimately you get a better product that tells a transparent story.”

“I've always wanted to open a restaurant where we use as much local produce as possible and partner directly with the farmers producing the food. I want to create a connection between what we do in the restaurant and what the farmers do in the fields, as well as the fishermen who catch the fish, and share their stories.”

1 Bistronomy is a culinary style that combines bistro foods and dishes with gastronomic cooking methods. People get the popular and traditional dishes they like with simple and seasonal ingredients, yet the dishes are elevated by high-level culinary techniques.

The restaurant’s menu, designed to complement this philosophy, is offered over lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.

Mill St Bistro is rooted fundamentally in classical French cooking using purely South African ingredients. “We will offer a modern interpretation of these dishes by incorporating lots of fermentation, pickling and preserving. For example, braised beef cheek served with fresh sauerkraut – so you’ve got that rich deep bourguignon meat which is quite heavy, quite unctuous, beautifully braised, and then you’ve got the pop of the acidity from the sauerkraut that cuts through all that richness.”

The wine service takes on an innovative turn with the restaurant's Coravin2 system, allowing you to technically select any wine from the list by the glass. “A wine service should be integral to the dining experience,” adds Carmichael. “We’re going to use the Coravin system so we can offer unique and premium wine such as Luddite Shiraz by the glass to either enjoy on its own or pair with food. We will be sourcing purely (and proudly) South African wine from Stellenbosch to the Swartland – wherever there is great wine.”

The 64-seater corner restaurant features an open-plan layout that extends onto an outdoor deck. Its wine bar connects the deck with the indoor space and serves as an ideal meeting place before joining the main seating area, or for casual gatherings with friends, colleagues, or clients. From the open chefs' kitchen lit with low lights to the bare oak tables set against brass-edged lighting and warm tones, the space radiates an airy and refined atmosphere. There is an easy flow throughout the restaurant, enhancing its overall unfussy, sophisticated aesthetic. With its semi-secluded dining area, patrons will be able to host private sittings without losing the restaurant’s atmosphere. This is achieved with views over the restaurant’s main floor, the open kitchen, and its wine area.

“It's important for us to maintain a consistent theme of uncomplicated food and space, while adhering to a timeless style. This allows us to incorporate eclectic touches in elements such as the playlist, our changing menu, and our diverse wine list”, adds Carmichael. “We've taken a long time to plan every aspect of Mill St Bistro to ensure we capture an experience that reflects the expertise that has gone into every element and the value it offers.”

With a historical Winelands setting that is both popular and central, and Chef Phil Carmichael’s ongoing mission to offer quality and traceability in his menu, Mill St Bistro is bound to incorporate a new way of thinking about dining at the very core of Stellenbosch.

Reservations for Mill St Bistro open on 12 June 2024. Book via the Mill St Bistro website, on Dineplan or call 021 020 1301.

Service Tuesday – Saturday

Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm

Dinner: 5.30pm – 9.30pm

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