‘celebrating nostalgia here and now’
Dorp Street in the leafy university town of Stellenbosch draws locals for an edible walk down memory lane, and introduces visitors to South African history and heritage. Here chef and owner Bertus Basson, known for fine-dining at Overture and casual dining at De Vrije Burger and Spek & Bone, goes back to his roots. His devotion to ‘local is lekker’ is illustrated in his garden in nearby Jamestown where the chefs harvest daily in the company of Spek, his famous pig, and some chickens. Eike is a dream come true, he is cooking truly South African food.
Sip a welcome cocktail, gin or bubbles on the stoep before taking your seat in the restaurant. Décor in green and gold, inspired by the ‘eikeboom’, provide a nod to nostalgia. A wall of vibrant green tiles and an antique dresser, a Basson family heirloom, form a backdrop in the uncluttered space. Service is informative and attentive with excellent advice about the iconic and interesting selection of South African wines.
The multi-course, ever-evolving menu could feature ingredients like maize and chakalaka. Simple dishes, like the spanspek with garlic, bottarga and fennel flowers, are delicate and distinctive. Remember the prawn cocktail impressive in the 70’s? It has returned. A stand-out dish is the slither of smoked bream cheesecake served with Hanepoot and grapes.
Bertus, storyteller supreme, regales tales and explains techniques as dishes are served, with aplomb. A favourite is his ‘opsitkers’, a beef tallow candle served with ‘braaibroodjie’ and sourdough bread. A ‘cloche’ of a Koo peach tin hides ‘peachy, just peachy’, a dessert encased in white chocolate. Tap it and discover a mousse reminiscent of the old-fashioned Cremora tart.
Head chef Kyle du Plooy is equally passionate about all that is South African. These talented chefs draw inspiration from their backgrounds and from one another. Be sure that they will dish up something different every day, and that each dish will conjure up old memories worth revisiting, or simply create new ones.
“We need to establish food memory in the home. All great cultures establish their culture around food, from generation to generation. We need to engage with where we came from.” Chef Bertus Basson
Address: 50 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, 7600
Contact: 021 007 4231