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Wolfgat

Wolfgat
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Cost
R750 per person for seven-course lunch and dinner tasting menu
Ambience
Groups, Special occasions
Food
Seafood, South African
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Sam Linsell

Food
At Wolfgat, Kobus van der Merwe’s iconic Paternoster restaurant, diners can expect a lengthy food adventure that takes you through seven tasting courses showcasing indigenous ingredients specific to the West Coast. The menu features mainly seafood, but Kobus forages for local plants and seaweed to add to the dishes. The restaurant is purposefully kept small (maximum of 24 seats) to maintain sustainability.

The dishes are the culinary manifestation of the area and are hugely inspiring. Some elements on the tasting menu take weeks of preparation, while others are handpicked on the day. The Wolfgat menu constantly changes, adapting to what’s available and in season.

Start off the meal sipping a glass of bubbly and nibbling the amuse-bouche of minced limpets poached in white wine and garlic, and served in a shell on a bed of snoek sout. The bread course of home-made breadsticks, with a pan of hot bubbling farm butter infused with bokkums and seaweed, will have you scraping every last umami-packed morsel. These prepare your palate for the following seven courses, which are delicately seasoned to allow the flavour of the ingredients to shine through.

The meal starts off with a watermelon summer soutslaai with strips of raw yellowtail and a delicate dressing reminiscent of the sea. The lightly poached oysters with tsamma melon and samphire are presented on small West Coast pebbles that give them a beautiful sense of place. The mussel dish is theatrically brought to the table smoking in wild sage branches, with the shells served in a delicate mussel broth with peaches. The seasonal dune salad that Kobus explains is the most challenging dish for diners is made from whatever edible ingredients he finds at the time.

Farmed Jacobsbaai perlemoen poached in a creamy sauce with klipkombers is delicious and memorable, and the final seafood dish of grilled yellowtail spiced with masala and wild garlic, served with bokkom sambal and plum chutney, rounds off the savoury part of the menu. A refreshing dune celery ice cream completes this unique dining experience which is not to be missed by adventurous foodies.

Drinks
A neat wine list features some unusual wines from the region and the Swartland.

Service
Friendly and relaxed, with Kobus himself explaining most of the courses.

Ambience
The restaurant is housed in a 130-year-old cottage on the historic Wolfgat cave overlooking the beach. Wolfgat has breathtaking views over Paternoster so its worth going in the day to enjoy your lunch while gazing over the sea.

And…
Lunch and dinner is served by appointment only. Reservations can be made via email on diewolfgat@gmail.com.

(April 2017)

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  • Richard Holmes

    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) taking diners on a ramble along the seashore and up into the fields. The menu adapts to the seasons, but expect an adventurous culinary journey. Local limpets are minced and poached in garlic and white wine, 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, and 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
    A compact wine list focused on estates up and down the coast, including Darling, Swartland and the boutique producers near Lambert’s Bay. A small selection of craft beers is on hand too.

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

    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. 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.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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User reviews

  • We absolutely LOVED our dining experience at Wolfgat. Unusual combinations that worked together beautifully. Loved the locally foraged fresh produce used in the dishes and the fact that Kobus explained the dishes himself. A sublime fine dining experience (without a “snobbish” atmosphere, which is a big positive in my book). Kobus is a brilliant chef and his “Strandveldy” food impeccable. Next level “veldkos” and wonderful wines from the West Coast to go with the dishes. One of my favourite places. We have been to Kobus a couple of times (since his days at Oep Ve Koep) and have never been disappointed. One for the bucket list if you haven’t been to Wolfgat yet.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Lunch

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