THE FUN OF DINING (your guide to fine dining restaurants)
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.
I saw this quote on the morning of my lunch with my twin, Wendy. We were despatched into the world in neighbouring labour wards, five minutes apart. We met up again during our food studies. Every year close to our birthday, she joins me for a restaurant review. Having worked in the seafood industry for more than a decade (or two), I find her industry knowledge impressive, and her company enjoyable too. An outstanding tennis player, she can be a little competitive. Instead of ordering different dishes and allowing her the opportunity of saying that her choice is better than mine, we always share!
I arrived at Homespun at the Andros Hotel first, allowing me not only a one-up, but time to enjoy the peaceful, leafy surroundings of this oasis in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Chef Matt Schreuder welcomed us, before presenting the bread course, explaining that it was inspired by and reminiscent of baguettes enjoyed during his first trip to Paris.
I want it to be accessible for locals, with lots of options so that regular followers can come back, often. I offer the choice of a tasting menu and a two or three-course menu (there is always something new to add on), rather than a seasonal menu.
My stand-out dish was the daikon with curry, ginger, apple and kimchi. It was simply and symmetrically plated, and piquant in flavour. Or was it the prawn dumplings with dashi, togarashi, katsuobushi for me? It would be 15 all if we were playing tennis…
Wendy ordered the crispy gammon, I the hake with squid, dukkha, yuzu and leek creamies. We happily shared these scrumptious dishes over an animated discussion about restaurants, chefs and ingredients. She shared her pet hate of hake being termed line fish on restaurant menus, when not caught by line.
The electric daisy, served with a glass of bubbles, made our mouths tingle. It took me back to the island of Reunion where I experienced this phenomenon for the first time. Dessert was ‘cry baby’ (strawberry, choc and vanilla ice-cream cone), which comes ‘dropped’ onto a plate. This was the perfect reminder that Matt prefers fun dining to fine dining. The petit fours were a treat, as was the thoughtful little box with a birthday macaron to gently remind us that we were nearly a year older!
As the perfect after-lunch treat I managed to ask Matt a few questions:
What inspires you?
Matt: I don’t think it, I feel it.
How would you define your style?
Matt: An accumulation of places I have lived and cooked – home, southeast Asia and Europe.
Describe your cuisine?
Matt: Contemporary fusion food, no rule cooking, nothing traditional.