Top Restaurateur falls in Love with West Coast

Russells on the Port. Photos: Denise Crawford

An award-winning British restaurateur and gin manufacturer has fallen in love with the West Coast. Although Russell Foster owns 17 restaurants in Britain and a craft brewery and gin distillery he spends most of his time in Velddrif. Because this is where his heart is now.

It’s here that he keeps his boat, right at the bottom of the garden, and his beloved dogs, he explains shortly after stepping out of the gym this morning. And it’s here that he’s started his latest venture, which is Russells on the Port. “It’s turned out more of a success than I expected,” he laughs.

The elegant restaurant and boutique guesthouse draws people from as far away as Johannesburg and Cape Town, although it has not really bothered to advertise. Its reputation has spread by word of mouth. Russell describes the food as Mediterranean: a mix of French, Italian and Spanish. There are also a lot of West Coast dishes. The food is delicious five star fare. No wonder.

The head chef is Charl Coetzee, who was formerly head chef at Spier. More plans are afoot. Russell is planning a gin tasting room where people can enjoy Northern Dry, Old Tom, Picnic Gin (which is strawberry infused) and Fireside Gin (which is cranberry infused).

Meant to retire
Although Russell is supposed to be retired, this is a retirement that is all but restful… “I’m busy building a retirement village in Velddrif,” he tells, “and six houses on Admiral Island. I love the West Coast!” This is of course what the man himself has to say. But what do people say of him and his venue? Photographer Denise Crawford says, “He has such a lovely personality! He bought a church that was going to be demolished and rebuilt it.” TripAdvisor says, “Russells is fantastic.”

Russells on the Port can be contacted on 022 783 0158 or



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