A FEW GOOD MEALS
As the rollercoaster of 2021 draws to a close, we remain grateful that we have worked with resilient, courageous and tenacious individuals and organisations. Thank you for your part in it. May you be rewarded with a happy, healthy festive season and New Year that is filled with hope.
An early dinner with friends at Between Us exceeded expectations. The light, natural-feeling space is inviting, the menu diverse and appealing, and the service (thank you Walter), on par with any fine-dining establishment. I shared the burrata with mushroom caponata and tomato confit before tucking into the whole roasted pepper stuffed with tuna confit, artichoke and sweet rocket. My man loved the beef brisket with slow-roasted romano beans and black olive aioli. Simple dishes were well balanced and flavour-filled. Meeting Jess, one of the twin sisters who owns this gem, was as delightful as the dishes.
This hidden gem in the most unlikely precinct of Maitland is where you will find tomorrow’s food heroes. Under the tutelage of chef Pete and Debs Ayub, with Byron Thebus, Sense of Taste Chef School students cross the yard to produce some punchy flavours on an appealing menu. No wine list, so BYO. The eisbein rivals any that we have raved about in the northern hemisphere, and the Thali, a selection of curries, could hold its own in India. Prices are palatable, service happy – a definite for those who want a lunch abundant in spirit, portions and flavour.
This regular haunt of mine when I was on the school run, has a fresh, forest feel with shady, outdoor tables. The menu is uncomplicated and appealing, the chef’s salad and their sushi stack often getting my vote. There is plenty for the heartier appetite and kids too. Cakes on display in their deli counter are enticing and a great accompaniment to a relaxed business meeting. Open 8 to 8, it is a charming spot for breakfast, tea, lunch or supper under the trees or in the cosy indoor rooms. Be sure to allow enough time to wander through the neighbouring outlets that range from a nursery to an art gallery.
Jozi’s loss, our gain. Head to this pop-up in Bree Street before husband-and-wife duo Alex and Eloise Windebank relocate to (secret location) somewhere near Hermanus in January. By day it’s Cafe Franck, by night an intimate eatery where locally-sourced and indulgent ingredients are top class, the quality dishes delectable, wine list interesting yet accessible and the service engaging. We kicked off to a good start with duck liver parfait with black cherry and brioche, as memorable as the Belnori goat’s cheese and broad bean tartlet. The pork belly with Summer squash and apple will cement your return visit. What is farro, my friend asked? A grain that is usually dried, reconstituted in water or stock and used in salads and soups. Two courses R350 and three courses R400.
A dinner at the fine-dining establishment in Le Franschhoek and Spa was a treat. The romantic space with low lighting and neutral decor is a backdrop that’s perfect for dinner a deux. My hot date had the Springbok carpaccio to start, I had the Wild Coast fish cakes. Oak-smoked trout for me, the lamb tagine for him and we were sated, yet the desserts called. The very generous opera cake could have fed a family. Two-courses at R295 and three at R355 makes it a very reasonable date night. Buffet breakfasts beckon, one of the many reasons why one should make it a dinner, bed and breakfast date.