Welcome to The Old Gaol On Church Square

History of Old Gaol

Brin & Judi Rebstein established the Old Gaol Coffee Shop at Swellendam’s Drostdy Museum precinct in 2001, as a fledgling private empowerment venture.   Before long a great partnership developed with several local ladies employed in the restaurant. Steadily gaining skills and confidence four of the ladies received 30% equity in the Old Gaol in 2004.


Weird name?

We were first established in the old gaol (jail) at the Drostdy Museum but could not extent our lease.  We moved to this wonderful old house on Swellendam’s historical Dorpsplein (later known as Church Square). Thank you to our supportive landlord, Rubert Erskine, whose collection of antique horse and ox-carts you may see in our backyard.

Brin has ever since sadly passed away and Judi decided to take life a bit easier. The restaurant was bought at the beginning of 2013 by Wynand & Ilze Olivier.

The Olivier’s with their children, are actively involved in the daily running of the restaurant.


Old Gaol has an ever-widening reputation for its traditional foods (originally ‘Melktert’ baked in a copper pan and ‘Roosterkoek’ baked over the coals). So the menu has grown, to include authentic dishes like old-fashioned chicken pie, bobotie & sambals, waterblommetjie or tomato bredie, Cape curries and the popular lamb shanks or oxtail.

The Old Gaol team is committed to quality, wholesome country food, served with pride and passion to ensure your experience with us is an unforgettable one.

Don’t hesitate to call our chefs and congratulate them with their fine work.

Around our table people find each other; their hearts are filled with joy of a homecoming, with hope and with a dream for a better tomorrow.

Here we know today’s grace is enough because tomorrow will bring its own life.

Around our table, moments are precious.


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