From fishing village to gastronomic heaven: tables turn for Wolfgat

PATERNOSTER, South Africa (Reuters) – In a small fishing village on South Africa’s rugged west coast, restaurateur Kobus van der Merwe is struggling to course of his meteoric rise to gastronomic stardom.

He not too way back purchased once more from Paris, the place 4 days up to now his 20-cover Wolfgat was named Restaurant of the Year on the inaugural World Restaurant Awards, moreover worthwhile the distant location prize.

“In our category, which was for the off-map destination… there are restaurants that we literally hero-worship and we were like, this is insane,” the food-journalist-turned-chef suggested Reuters TV on Friday in his first interview with worldwide media since returning home.

Others on that shortlist included Japanese wild consuming sensation Tokuyamazushi.

Of every prizes, he added: “We never dreamed of making the shortlist, let alone winning.”

Situated in Paternoster, about 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Cape Town, Wolfgat’s speciality is seafood.

Van der Merwe’s seven-course tasting menu pays homage to the realm’s long-gone indigenous inhabitants, and his signature dishes are flavored and supplemented with parts foraged domestically, akin to seaweed and succulent crops.

They embrace Rooibos tea-smoked yellowtail with dune spinach and buttermilk rusk, and freshly baked bread served with bokkom (salted dry fish) butter and infused herbs.

Guests on the 130-year-old whitewashed restaurant, nestled above Wolfgat cave inside listening to distance of crashing waves, pay 850 rand ($60), or 1400 rand along with drinks.

Van der Merwe, who took the plunge into full-time cooking sooner than ending his culinary analysis, said he had no need to improve or replicate Wolfgat in an metropolis setting.

“We certainly don’t aspire to be in the city because the west coast is our muse and I can’t see Wolfgat existing anywhere else,” he said.

His clientele is break up evenly between worldwide vacationers visiting the village and well-heeled South Africans.

But those who make the two-hour drive from Cape Town had greater make sure of their reservations sooner than they set out – because of he’s completely booked for the next three months.

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