I’ve known Russel Wasserfall and Camilla Comins for a couple of years now.
He takes stunning photographs and writes beautifully about all matters food. He has also produced some wonderful cookery books and I first met him through his work on “Bloke”,a cookery book written by his brother-in-law, Jason Comins, which celebrates blokey ways to make food. Think do-it-yourself outdoor ovens, braai’s and so on.
Camilla has been in the food business for years and has done everything from working in restaurants internationally to managing the kitchen on the family farm.
When I heard Russel, Camilla and Jason were collaborating on a ‘pop up restaurant’ I immediately made plans to get out to the De Meye Estate in Stellenbosch to see what was going on.
The Table at De Meye is a 35 minute easy drive up the N1 from Cape Town. Tucked in between the vineyards on the De Meye estate there’s an old sheep shearing cottage that has been tastefully renovated. In front of the cottage is a scattering of oak trees which dapple the sunlight across a springy green lawn.
Slightly wobbly old pine tables, both indoors and outdoors, are simply dressed with flowers, glasses and mix-and-match old plates.
The menu is fixed, and is brought to the table on platters for everyone to share.
Our palates were refreshed with a few glasses of Terre Madre MCC, made by Nicole Precoudis in Elgin.
We started with a warm chilli chicken liver salad with organic greens and tempura nasturtium flowers which had been picked by Camilla 5 minutes beforehand. The livers came from Klein Joostenberg next door and the salad from Steve the Magic Man in Porterville.
The mains was a melt in the mouth fillet of beef in a red wine jus, with baby potatoes, beans and a roasted beetroot tarte tatin. It was a hot day, and a De Meye Shiraz Rose washed it all down beautifully.
We finished with pear and hazlenut cake and coffee ice cream.
The Table at De Meye is a welcome antithesis to the bling wine region estate restaurants.
There’s no menu, no choices, no wine list. Don’t expect rapid fire service or a business lunch experience. Do expect to chat to Russel and Camilla, and Jason if he sticks his head out of the kitchen.
You need to book in advance and, to make the most of it, be prepared to take the afternoon off for the full experience.
I felt I was visiting a friends house for Sunday lunch. The emphasis is on the conversation (you can wander into the kitchen to say hello to the staff) or loll on picnic rugs in the shade of the oak trees and have a snooze.
Lunch costs R200 per head.
To book call Russel on 083 252 9588 or e.mail him on email@example.com
Check out The Table at De Meye’s excellent blog, with recipes; http://thetablerestaurant.wordpress.com