Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Strand Day 1

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My mum picked me up at the airport in Cape Town and we went for dinner to Stellenbosch which may be known as a wine region or a university town. We wanted to go and eat at De Oewer a nice place with outside seating but it was all full, so we went right next door to Volkskombuis which offers mostly traditional dishes in a somewhat fancy way. I started with a carpaccio of ostrich and springbok and had some lamb ribs for the main course, finishing things off with a trifle.

The carpaccio was made with nice meat but it wasn’t particularly carpaccio-ish as the meat was sliced thinly but not quite thinly enough. A nice taste but the wrong name. The lamb was good with slightly too much fat for my taste (but just the right amount for local standards). The trifle didn’t impress. I could’ve done a better one. It seemed to have been made quickly in the afternoon by simply ‘assembling’ it of ready-made biscuits, jelly, custard &c rather than putting them all together while they’re still liquid and warm and letting them mix nicely while cooling off.

Perhaps this summarises South African cuisine quite well. All the good ingredients are there. There a plenty of fresh and good – if underused – vegetables. And there’s even more good meat, mostly beef, lamb and game as well as fresh fish, often in the local favourites of kingklip, yellowtail or snoek. With those ingredients all you have to do is be a meat eater and choose the simple dishes. Choosing the fancy ones can be disappointing as many of the local chefs don’t seem to be up to the job and thus leave you disappointed in seeing a nice piece of meat mutilated…

After dinner we went on to my parents’ flat in Strand, which – as the name suggests – is right at the beach. The house is right at the beach and the flat is on the top floor. And while there are a few other houses around to block the view there are still plenty of opportunities to see the sea right from our windows.

March 2, 2005, 23:20

Tagged as country:za, south africa, travel.

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