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Review: Wolfgat in Paternoster

The view of the coastline from Wolfgat. Photo supplied.

The view of the coastline from Wolfgat. Photo supplied.

Booking is essential at Kobus van der Merwe’s new restaurant, Wolfgat, as the chef only collects wild ingredients for confirmed reservations. But once you have one, buckle up for a seven-course menu of utterly unique, hyperlocal cuisine.

Fast facts

Food type: seafood, traditional, South African
Best for: adventurous foodies
Price: the seven-course set-menu costs R595 for lunch and R650 for dinner
Star ratings: Food 5, service 5, ambience 5

Food

Over the past five years Kobus van der Merwe has sliced out an enviable niche with his hyper-local ‘Strandveld’ cuisine, inspired by both heritage recipes and wild produce foraged from the surrounding dunes and coastline.

His new home in Paternoster continues the theme, with a seven-course tasting menu (no a la carte) that takes diners on a ramble along the seashore and up into the fields. Wolfgat’s menu adapts to the seasons, but expect an adventurous culinary journey.

One of Chef Kobus van der Merwe's plates. Photo supplied.

One of Chef Kobus van der Merwe’s plates. Photo supplied.

Local limpets are minced and poached in garlic and white wine then served in their shell atop a bed of local ‘snoek sout’. Fresh breadsticks arrive with a simple skillet of bokkom-infused melted butter; the ‘West Coast taco’ uses a fleshy soutslaai leaf to hold cured angelfish, while fresh local mussels are served splashed with West Coast sauvignon blanc. The baked ‘winter oyster’ was a standout dish, served on a rich bean puree with local veldkool flash-fried in a pan with lemon juice.

It’s adventurous, delicious cooking that’s utterly unique. A must-visit for foodies on the West Coast. Booking is essential as Kobus only collects wild ingredients for confirmed reservations.

Drinks

The compact wine list focuses on estates up and down the coast, including Darling, Swartland and the boutique producers near Lambert’s Bay. There’s also a small selection of craft beers on hand.

Service

Expect warm West Coast hospitality, with Chef Kobus keeping a close eye on things from the kitchen.

Wolfgat's unassuming entrance. Photo supplied.

Wolfgat’s unassuming entrance. Photo supplied.

Ambience

Set in a 130-year-old fisherman’s cottage, the setting is as authentic as the food. Think lime-washed walls, a fire crackling in the wide-open hearth, and a broad stoep overlooking the beach. The tables on the sheltered terrace offer superb sea views.

And…

Kobus will still look after the menu at the original restaurant in the family-owned Oep ve Koep farmstall. Expect a pared-down three-course menu of Strandveld-inspired cooking.

 

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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