One of the things that I have been meaning to do with the girls when travelling in South Africa is to introduce them to true South African cuisine. They are well educated (and fed) with the basics of biltong, Bovril and Niknaks but I’ve been hoping to expand their taste experience. It turned out brillantly that when Liam’s Parents took us to the Spice Route in Paarl, Liam’s Dad had booked lunch for us at Bertus Basson.
I’m a bit out of the loop when it comes to current South African trends and celebrities; and so I hadn’t heard of the South African celebrity chef Bertus before. At the Spice Route, he has opened his namaske resturant and here he celebrates the best of South African cuisine, with an independent take on traditional dishes. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch indoors (but during the summer months you can dine under the oak trees or on the stoep from where you can embrace the beautiful natural surroundings). The menu is made up of traditional South African favourites with a modern interpretation. We enjoyed freshly baked vetkoek with biltong butter (could have just eaten tons of that alone!) together with a Boere salad which was a combo of heirloom veggies and fresh fruit.
For the main courses, you are encouraged to order a variety of mains and side dishes to share – which was just perfect for the girls to taste test everything: They tried beef bobotie and sirloin steak served with monkey gland sauce and confit garlic. The sides were excellent: pumpkin pie with nut and seed granola, hand cut chips with BBQ spice and spiced coconut glazed sweet potatoes served with pecan nuts. Just typing this is making me long for the “kos”.
We didn’t have dessert there, as we had spotted the Ice Creamery at the entrance of the Spice Route on the way in and knew we would stop off there. But next time I’m going to stay put and try Bertus’ malva pudding or milk tart milkshake!
Also, if you are in the mood for something more casual, you can pop into the restaurant and help yourself at their “Pak ‘n mandjie” (pack a basket), select a bottle of wine, artisinal meats and delicious baked goods to enjoy on the lawn. They also had a cute Pick ‘n Mix station that the girls were able to choose a few “lekkers” (sweets) for the trip home.