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Situated in a courtyard with tables under the oldest fruit-producing vine in Stellenbosch, Spek & Bone is a relaxed, informal eatery and wine bar that is part of chef Bertus Basson’s stable. Expect generous sharing-style plates with a focus on bold, punchy flavours using sustainably sourced produce, paired with great South African wines. There are nine small plates to choose from, including the likes of lamb wontons with an Asian dressing and a topping of crunchy spring onions. The wontons are deliciously crispy and deliver good flavour – well-balanced by the dressing, which adds an umami note. Other standouts include sustainably sourced roast fish with pickled cabbage, tonkatsu broth and XO sauce (the cabbage offers great contrast and freshness with the rich broth); and gnocchi with mushrooms, Dalewood Huguenot cheese and chives. The cheese offers a hit of umami that perfectly offsets the pillowy gnocchi, while the pangrattato topping finishes it off beautifully and provides great texture. Vegetarians will also be pleased with smoked cauliflower, burnt butter and hazelnuts ¬– the cauliflower is shaved and complemented by the nutty burnt butter, with the hazelnuts adding another flavour dimension. Carnivores will enjoy the steak with a rich, balanced Jerusalem-artichoke velouté. If you struggle to choose, there’s also an option of a chef’s menu, which comprises the chef’s choice of seven dishes. Dessert is a toss-up between a dark-chocolate mousse with orange-and-vanilla ice cream, or burnt banana, peanut butter miso ice cream and brandy caramel sauce. Each plate is well-priced and delivers on both flavour and value. Those with special dietary requirements will be accommodated as far as possible, but the restaurant cannot accommodate all requests.
There’s an interesting, well-priced wine list offering red, white and sparkling wines by the glass and bottle. There are also beers and soft drinks on offer.
Service is relaxed and friendly, with the chef happy to chat about the menu. His energy and confidence are apparent on the plate, too.
The atmosphere here is relaxed and fun, with tables in the shady courtyard the best place to be on a warm day. There’s also indoor seating for when it’s cooler. It’s a family-friendly space, but may not be suitable for very young children.