Paarl locals who know a good thing when they see one, which is why Noop is always packed with fans, says Greg Landman.
This is food that is imaginative without being precious, delicious to eat and with portions that satisfy without making you feel too full.
The knockout starter is the homemade Norwegian salmon gravlax. Salt- and sugar-cured, with a hint of Pernod giving it that extra little something, it’s served with a cucumber and sour-cream salad, red and spring onions, and a dill mayonnaise – a completely irresistible dish. Another delicious option is the thinly sliced slow-roasted pork belly with cashew nuts, curry cream and banana crisps.
Meaty mains include a popular venison burger with caramelised onion, crisp bacon, camembert and truffle mayonnaise, and a beef version done the same way. The crisp roast half duck with a Cointreau jus, served with potato and butternut dauphinoise is certainly worth leaving home for, and the various steak cuts with great sauces have devotees from all over Paarl. To end your meal, consider ordering the Frangelico creme Catalan, a silky smooth, rich and delicious treat.
A very good list with some specials from the owner’s cellar, like a Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2003 and a De Toren Fusion 2009. There are four French wines available, including Dom Perignon, and brands like Pernod and Remy Martin to begin and end your meal.
The approach is professional, knowledgeable and friendly in the country manner.
Noop is located in one of those gorgeous old houses on the Main Street, with a delightful front stoep where tables are set and a smaller one in back overlooking a tiny garden. The interior is warm and comfortable with air conditioning in summer and is usually packed with locals who know a good thing when they see one.
There’s a small bar in front, just the place to start or end a special evening.