There seems to be a trend of people opening small restaurants with limited menu and wine list, often open for limited hours. I reviewed The Dog’s Bollocks the other day which is basically a guy selling burgers out of his garage in the evenings, and this last weekend I went to The Table at De Meye.
We were lunching with our good friends Roger and Dawn from Jorgensen’s Distillery, and they suggested this as a good place to have a nice long, relaxed lunch. They were right, it’s a great place to have a nice long, relaxed lunch. It was a boiling hot day and the tables were all positioned in the shade of the various trees scattered around the lawn.
It was warm but we kept well hydrated. They stock Darling beers so we had to start with a round of those. Then to be responsible we ordered some water. They offer tap water, served in those cool retro Dairybelle orange juice bottles (remember from the days when they delivered milk and orange juice to your house?). But the filtered water (still or sparkling) is only R10 a bottle as they filter and gas it themselves. The filtered water is also served in a reusable bottle. And if you are one of those people who puts the reusable bottle in your bag and takes it home, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! It’s called stealing. Look it up.
We then got serious and ordered some MCC. They only sell De Meye wines except for alternatives when they don’t have that variety of grape. So the MCC is from Saltare and it’s great. The wines are very reasonably priced. The MCC was R150 and it’s priced at R140 from the estate so that’s a steal. The De Meye wines are priced from R55 to R90 with one costing R125.
It’s good that the wines are inexpensive because the food, at about R250 for 3 courses, is not. But there is a good reason for that. While just about every restaurant these days tells you they use fresh, local ingredients where possible (something I quite expect regardless), the provenance of each ingredient at The Table is important and this information is shared with the patrons. Commitment to the sourcing of ingredients of such high quality attracts a premium price.
The way the menu works is a bit different to your normal a la carte restaurant. The Table is only open for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the menu for each week is set in advance. A ‘menu du jour‘ if you will. You can view the menu on their website before booking to check that you are happy with it. Vegetarians will be catered for with advance notice. The ingredients are all purchased according to the bookings (less than 10 tables per day) so last minute cancellations are a costly exercise. Why do Capetonians do this?
Below is the menu we enjoyed:
there’s a trick to good chicken livers that Camilla learned years ago from a griller called Goodman. she’s got a stunning knack with getting the spiciness just right and will only use livers from free range, hormone-free chickens. They are completely delicious and we’ll be serving them with crusty bread on a bed of Steve the Magic Man’s organic baby leaves as a salad for starters.
oven roast Karoo lamb is the main, we’re still quibbling over the cut, but our butcher Wim has sourced some lovely meat for us. there will be hasselback potatoes with that because they’re just so good and a little seasonal salad. one of our favourite books at the moment is Movida, and the Moroccan-influenced carrot salad will make another triumphant appearance on tables this week.
if you have room left, we are considering the heat and serving ouefs a la nege, a light dessert of soft meringue islands in creme anglaise. thoroughly delicious and just the ticket before a little sleep under an oak tree.
As you can see, very personalised and all about the ingredients. Everything was delicious. It’s certainly not fancy (except for the dessert, that was pretty fancy). The food is served on platters for the table and each person helps themselves (except for the dessert, that was fancy). It’s country style eating with a focus on the simple, true flavours of the ingredients combined in slightly unusual but careful ways.
The same attention that is paid to the food, is paid to the service. While Camilla and her brother look after the kitchen, Russel, Camilla’s husband, handles front of house with the assistance of 1x super jacked waitress (Mariska). Russel introduces each dish to the table, explaining a little about the ingredients and from where they are sourced. The service is best described as personal. Almost as if you’re having lunch at a (very helpful) friend’s place rather than a restaurant.
We arrived at about 1:30pm and departed at about 5:30pm after a stroll around the deli which sells some of the handmade sauces and relishes which accompany the meal. Don’t book at The Table if you’re short on time, it’s the quintessential long, lazy lunch. But be sure to book early in the week to avoid disappointment.
The Table at De Meye
Muldersvlei Road, Stellenbosch
Tel: 083 252 9588
ps. I took the photos off their website as mine did not turn out well.