Suzi Holtzhausen has opened her second restaurant in Paternoster, called Gaaitjie. This is an impressive addition to eating out in this part of the world.
Starting with the location – it’s right on the beach. When the weather is right it’s paradise, with the deep blue seas and endless skies providing an idyllic setting. Even when it’s a bit windy, you are provided with blankets to snuggle up in, and indoors there are wood burning stoves.
Inside the renovated fishermans cottage you find yourself in a series of rooms with plain wooden furniture.
After a windy sundowner on the rear terrace we sat at a cosy table beside the stove to read a menu which featured lamb, fish, pork and poultry dishes, sourced locally where possible. Many are done with a unique South African twist. No fancy nouvelle stuff in sight, hallelujah!
I had Vine Baked Harder on a Butterbean Curry. Harder is a local fish, a bit like a large sardine crossed with yellowtail, a new taste for me. The curry and the fish worked beautifully.
We also tried the Tomato and Tamarind Gazpacho, which came in a large whiskey tumbler style glass. Perched cheekily on top was a slice of toasted crostini with handmade suasage garnished with chives and salsa. It disappeared in record time, interrupted only by the occasional quiet mumble of appreciation. This was brilliant.
Seared Mustard Beef and Beetroot Salad arrived. It was packed with unctious thick slices of tender beef, pink in the middle, and coated in a grain mustard sauce. Next came the Sour Fig and Lamb Stew – Suurrvytjie Bredie, with buttered cornmeal, sour cream and crunchy onion. My taste buddy thought he’d died and gone to heaven. It was the most satisfiying delicious dish he had eaten for a long time.
I ordered the Crisp Pork Belly on Butternut Humous with an Apple, Sage and Onion Chutney. This was a great dish to order because it was an opportunity to see if the kitchen could get it really crispy ( a skill in itself ) and what the quality of the pork was like. I need not have worried. The skin was as crispy and moreish as a salt cracker, and the belly meat was not the wobbling layers of fat that I have experienced in other restaurants. Very tasty.
Gaaitjie is on the money, and when you saw Suzi’s capable smiling face beaming from behind the counter you understood how everything ran so smoothly.
Cheese, Homemade Crackers and a Glass of Muscatel. The mango infused with ginger on the cheesecake was genius. What a taste combination! The cheese plate looked too perfect to eat, and when I did try it the soft balls of goats cheese were complimented perfectly by the muscatel.
Is this the best meal I’ve eaten in the last year in the Western Cape? Yes you’d better believe it.
I’d rate Gaaitjie ahead of most of what Cape Town has to offer. You have to book ahead to get a table. I can’t wait to go back.
022 752 2242