With the devastating impact on the hospitality industry of repeated lockdowns imposed as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19 has meant that years and years of blood, sweat and tears endured by many entrepreneurs in building a successful business in tourism has been swept away with the sweep of a pen by those not in the least affected by their actions. As we enter another phase of slightly relaxed restrictions, it is important that we should play a part wherever possible in the resumption of normal life and assist the embattled industry to rebuild their tattered dreams. In particular, we now find ourselves in an economy where the customer is truly king and can cherry-pick the businesses to support. In the hospitality industry, this means there is no room for mediocre, nor eye-watering prices as the forex of tourism has been replaced by the local currency.
In November 2019 – the old days – our wine tasting group had an excellent lunch at the newly opened restaurant, Eat, at Perdeberg Winery under the skilled hands of Chef Rob who has a long list of culinary credentials. It wasn’t long before Covid-19 changed our lives and a further visit was not possible. It was thus a very pleasant surprise to find that the restaurant has weathered the storm and would be ready to receive us after our wine tasting on Thursday last week. The revised winter menu was sent out to ready us for our first outing in a while, and the dishes sounded mouthwatering. Leaning heavily towards traditional, there was bobotie (with a vegan option), venison and Cape Malay chicken curry, together with steak, pizza and a kiddies’ menu. Starters, desserts and surprisingly, a good selection of breakfast dishes.
It was good to see numerous tables filled with patrons both inside and out, and service was neither slow nor over attentive, striking a happy medium. Chef Rob came out of his kitchen to welcome us back, not lingering as our orders had been placed and we were relishing the prospect of a good lunch after an enjoyable session in the wine-tasting venue, where a small fire had taken the chill off the room.
To say that the food more than exceeded our expectations is no exaggeration. The bobotie was rich and dark with perfect flavouring, every morsel a marvel. The chicken curry was generous and aromatic, made with leg meat rather than breast which is unusual in a restaurant and greatly enjoyed. I had the trio of bobotie, chicken curry and venison pie – these portions came in little ramekins about the size of a creme brulee and could easily have been shared between two people – and hence I am able to comment from personal experience on these three dishes. If all venison tastes like that, I am a convert – lean, soft and in a delicate gravy with feather-light pastry lid; a taste sensation. The steak was pronounced generous, tender and well-flavoured with a creamy pepper sauce, accompanied by crisp, perfectly cooked chips. Every dish is accompanied by a choice of parmesan mash, raisin yellow rice or chips, and a satisfying selection of vegetables.
Dessert and coffee were simply out of the question – you must go there hungry or only eat starters and skip the main, but that would be a shame to deprive the senses of such delight. If you are out in the country, I highly recommend that you make a turn into Perdeberg when lunch time nears. It won’t be long before booking is essential, I am sure. You can also pick up a few cases of their very quaffable Soft Smooth Red at prices to make any pocket happy.
General consensus: a return trip soon!