The Accidental Foodie: Where to eat well in Hermanus

There’s a saying amongst the people of Hermanus that it’s a town with lots of restaurants but nowhere to eat. This past summer, though, things have changed with the addition of a very special eatery, especially if you’re brave enough to attempt vegetarian-only fare. Now there’s every reason to eat well in the popular Overberg coastal town.

It’s hidden in a courtyard behind a gallery and although Emilia Knight, the owner, is all about keeping it a special secret, it would be a sin not to write about Appetite Knight. We stumbled upon it in December and have been back five times since, plus we’ve sought out Emilia’s stall at the Hermanus Country Market on a Saturday for breakfast. (There you’ll find freshly baked pita bread, croissants that make you dream of France, muesli baskets, heirloom organic tomatoes from Tesselaarsdal and fresh eggs from Pearly.)

We happened upon the prettiest little square in town, with a big green tree where birds sing and tables are laid out in the shade. (The inside of the eatery is just as welcoming, now that the days are getting colder.)

The menu is tiny but supplemented by the dishes of the day on the board. Every open sandwich, poached egg, vegetarian bolognaise or homemade soup is overseen personally by Emilia and her tiny but proud staff.

First, a warning: as mentioned, you’ll find no meat and no fish on the menu. But you can find eggs aplenty, supplied from a free-range bio-organic farmer in Pearly Beach. And if you’re into the new trend of eating plant-based, you’ve come to the right place. The food at Appetite Knight is exquisite. It’s flavoursome, organic, fresh, hand-made and utterly delicious. So delicious that you won’t realise you’re not eating meat, fish or any other animal product except milk and eggs.

When you’ve been somewhere on five separate occasions, all within the span of a few weeks, you come away with a long list of highly recommended dishes, and this is no exception. Go for the open sandwich with falafel, hummus and salad – all freshly made and dressed with homemade dukkah and other spices; fresh gazpacho made from organic tomatoes; a flavoursome vegetable curry; mushroom tagliatelle; home-made croissants with scrambled organic eggs; and the butternut-and-lentil bobotie. For dessert, must-tries include the cheesecake with plums and the best carrot cake ever.

Apparently a man once stormed out because there was no bacon on the menu, but about this Emilia is philosophical: “The right people will find me and they will continue to support me.”

And they have, indeed.

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