Kobus van der Merve

‘an audacious pairing of seascape and landscape’

After being labelled as a top restaurant in the world the activity levels and culinary bar of the quaint village of Paternoster have been elevated. The ethos of chef Kobus van der Merwe and his dedicated, innovative team at Wolfgat has remained cemented.

Wolfgat is attracting adventurous diners from all corners of the globe. Perched on a cave overlooking the ocean and picture-perfect white cottages; in good weather diners – all twenty-four of them – dine outside in dappled sunshine. Ingredients for most of the dishes are sourced within eyesight, others responsibly and innovatively from the locale and landscape of the West Coast. Wines too, interesting as they are, are selected to authentically represent the surrounds, intuitively paired.

One of the challenges of this diminutive restaurant is that summer, the dry season, is their busiest. Winter, when nature offers more in leaves and succulents, is quieter, so they operate within a flexible, seasonal menu framework with details metamorphosing daily. The experimental team are hands-on and for them this is home, it is here that they grew up. There is a palpable feeling of pride from them that equals the excitement of the diners.

Anticipate extraordinary. Starting with a spectrum of Strandveld snacks that could be limpet, angelfish and kumquat, or dune celery and snoek roe, you may move onto a dish that is simply called ‘oyster’. Know that it will be anything but simple – its companions strandsalie and pear with Strandveld vermouth and sea pumpkin provide emotive background noise for the hero ingredient. Main ingredients like mussels, venison and squid join the anticipated fish as stars of the show. All senses will be piqued, from the scent of the sea to the intrigue of the unusual ingredients. From the eye-catching terminology (with botanical names to lessen the confusion) to the stunning and artful plating of each dish on custom-designed crockery. Applause is loud and unanimous, whether from home or away, diners love the familiar, indigenous ingredients like Rooibos, mebos, bokkoms and amasi.

Whilst creating cutting-edge, world-class cuisine, this talented chef has paved the way for his culinary peers, botanists and horticulturists of the wild food. A pioneer, he has not only been notching up awards and rewards, but the respect and support of the industry too.

“We allow the menu to evolve, as inspiration comes from the ingredients.” Chef Kobus van der Merwe.


Address: 10 Sampson Street, Paternoster, 7381, Paternoster, 7381

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