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  • Lisa Martus


Updated: Aug 28, 2023

The motto of the all-female team at The Red Plate Restaurant in the heart of Haenertsburg is ‘Come Hungry!’ A favourite for locals and visitors alike, the Red Plate is well known for its varied menu, delicious food and generous portions as well as the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Owner, Colleen Venter grew up ‘on The Mountain’ leaving to study at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch and work in Franschoek. She was drawn back home to Magoebaskloof by the peaceful and relaxed lifestyle, so she stayed on and started catering and baking bread in her kitchen at home.

When the opportunity arose to have a restaurant in the High Street of Haenertsburg, Colleen leapt at the chance, opening her doors on the auspicious date of Friday 13 December 2006. Named because of the distinctive red plates she brought from home to use for her first customers, this friendly, small-town eatery is the go-to place for locals to meet for coffee and a catch-up. But it is also packed over weekends when visitors stop in to savour the famous Chicken Schnitzel or whole Grilled Trout between adventures in the area.

The Red Plate has created different corners created to suit your mood. On a misty Magoebaskloof day, there is the option of getting cozy in the comfy red armchair next to the fireplace and choosing for a fragrant curry or steaming soup followed by their famous baked cheesecake. There’s a comfy couch in the corner for chocolate cake and cappuccino with your beloved or a table tucked away in a quiet spot with a plug-point for a remote-working day with the more-ish Brownies as sustenance. On a Sunday morning, there is nothing better than soaking up the sunbeams on the deck and enjoying village-life while you tuck into the Red Plate classic breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon or their popular French Toast stack with mushrooms, feta and rocket.

Trained by Colleen, these women have been working together to create magic in the kitchen for over 16 years. As Bronwyn Blandy observes, ‘We have the unique capacity to love, support and nurture each other… to stand together in a crisis.’ And Lizzy Rathobotha was attracted by the opportunity to build her independence as a woman by working in a tourism business which prioritizes female empowerment. This is echoed by Chef, Rebecca Makgoba who has been with the Red Plate team for over 10 years and has fed her love of cooking with a flair for presentation of their signature dishes. She feels it is important to empower girls to develop the skills to stand on their own two feet just as Colleen has done for her.

Colleen loves working with her all-female team who understand and support each other. It is her passion to cook and although it is stressful to own a business, she enjoys the flexibility and freedom. She says, ‘I know I can't become a millionaire in Haenertsburg but will always have a million things to be thankful for, living in this area.’

You’ll find the Red Plate Restaurant on Rissik Street in the heart of Haenertsburg. They are adding some new items to their menu in March so come hungry! If you want something yummy to take home with you and pop in the oven, pick up a cottage pie, vegetable lasagne or a hearty bacon and potato soup from their extensive take-away range.

For enquiries about the restaurant or catering for events big or small,

call Colleen on 083 305 2851.

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