Brought to you by Stella Artois
Wesley Randles from Nevermind in Cape St Francis, winner of the Eat Out Stella Artois Best Destination Restaurant Award for 2022, tells us how this unique location creates a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience.
There’s something truly remarkable about this area that only certain people “get”. It’s kind of weird – I can see who gets it and who doesn’t. This piece of land where we are and its surroundings are incredibly special – you have the ocean on both sides so it’s probably the cleanest air you’ll ever breathe. We just had four orcas swimming past us! I really want people to come and enjoy the area and to realise that it’s a pretty unique place. Doing so while indulging in good food and your favourite tipple, well, that’s the experience of Nevermind.
I’ve always developed my menus around my ingredients, but here that concept has been a bit of a game-changer. Without the luxury of regular suppliers with an extensive daily catalogue of ingredients to choose from, we had to adapt and start sourcing ingredients the way the community does. That means hunting your venison in the out season and fishing from the bay in front you instead of doing a daily shop. It’s a much smarter and healthier way of living. I hunt all the venison for the restaurant, processing it right here, and the fish served is decided by what was caught in the bay that day. It’s a more ethical way of living, knowing exactly where your meat and produce comes from, and it makes our menu much more special.
Cooking, for me, has always carried a much deeper meaning, it’s truly more than just delivering a good plate of food. I think diners can sense when they sit down for a meal that has been really carefully thought out, and that a lot of blood sweat and tears went into it. If the chef has been hands-on in the evolution of this dish from stage one, it imparts the deeper understanding that this is not just another plate of food, but that it’s been shaped and developed from the very roots. There shouldn’t be the need to spell this out – the food should speak for itself.
Winning an award like this means a lot – not only to our staff, but also to the locals. For a brand new establishment located next to a historic lighthouse in the middle of the Eastern Cape where there’s not too much going on around us, this recognition is very rewarding. It’ll go a long way towards drawing more visitors to our area, aside from the busy school holidays and long weekends. Something else I didn’t anticipate is how super proud the locals would be to have us here, which means everything to us. Setting up a restaurant that was appealing to the locals and having them come in for coffee and lunch on a regular basis was very important to us from the beginning.
Restaurant photos: Sandy Coffey Photography