There are certain streets in Cape Town that are very inspiring to foodies – Breë Street in the Cape Town CBD area and Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, are two of these fascinating streets.
Spek & Bone on Dorp Street is owned by South African chef and TV personality, Bertus Basson. In Afrikaans we have a well-known saying – “jy werk vir spek en bone” – meaning you are working without getting paid much, maybe only a plate of bacon and beans.
Both Deon and I love small shared plates of food, called by various names such as tapas, meze, smorgasbord, etc. We loved our experience at the tapas restaurant Fork on Long Street in the centre of Cape Town.
Our best meze experience to date was when we visited Liam Tomlin’s restaurant, Chefs Warehouse, on Breë Street.
I also remember our lovely evening in Barcelona at a restaurant which served the most hearty tapas – our friend, André, was with us. That was also the evening we gasped in awe at the Barcelona magic fountain of Montjuïc, a breathtakingly beautiful display of music, colour and water.
When we entertain guests at home, we often serve meze, especially Greek meze, which results into a very relaxed and lovely extended lunch. We also enjoy preparing the meze ourselves and sometimes ask the guests to lend a hand.
Spek & Bone, the restaurant, is situated next to the well-known Oom Samie se Winkel, translated to Uncle Sammy’s Shop, which is a Victorian shop, an institution in Stellenbosch and a popular tourist attraction. Spek & Bone was named after the chef’s pets – the boxer Bone and the pig Spek. The two animals are best friends. A pig with a chef as owner? Bertus, luckily for Spek, promised never to eat her.
Outside, under the oldest fruit-producing vine tree in Stellenbosch, are tables for a joyful visit in summer. As the weather was chilly, we were seated inside in an informal, but cosily decorated space with a large picture of the pet animals. The friendly and well-informed staff was quick to serve the patrons.
We ordered four different plates of meze with our crisp white wine. The plates were brought out one by one. The first was Octopus Salad-“Provençale” with garlic emulsion, tomato, anchovy, olive paste and charred courgette.
I loved the Sauté Potato Gnocchi with mushroom, crisp crumbs, chives and parmesan. It was light and fluffy, not the heavy little balls of potato that you usually get when ordering gnocchi. It had a wonderful earthy taste.
The Roasted Hake was served with crisp squid, parsley, radish and spring onion on a coconut sauce. It was very fresh and tasty.
We both did not really enjoy the roast Cauliflower, served with roast macadamia nuts and crispy onions. The cauliflower was a little bit too al dente for our taste.
Under the heading Sweet Things to Share we had to choose between Tannie Hetta’s Apple Pie, Peppermint Crisp King Cone or Handcrafted Fudge or Nougat. Our choice was the apple pie, served with home- made vanilla ice cream and crème anglaise. It was a very light and tasty apple pie.
We had a very enjoyable afternoon, but are still in search of the best meze in Cape Town. Next will be Liam Tomlin’s latest restaurant Thali on Park Road, Cape Town. Indian tapas, for me, will most probably be a wonderful dining experience and something tells me that we are heading for the best tapas restaurant in our beautiful city!