I have for a very long time wanted to eat at Oep ve Koep in Die Winkel op Paternoster, so we went on my birthday, and what a way to celebrate. Kobus van der Merwe has made such a name for himself and his magical food over the past five years.
We were blown away. The kindest, gentlest man with a vast knowledge of foraged dune foods, and the freshest of local ingredients, smoked and fresh fish, game and his dune and veld greens. His food is so different and imaginative. Colourful and packed with textures and flavours.
The Guide Michelin says a place like this is ‘well worth the detour’. Let me assure you, this is well worth the trip. Best to book well in advance as the restaurant seats only 16 people.
Kobus has a short wine list with local craft beers and wines. Nothing like a glass of Darling Chenin Blanc 2013 to accompany all the dishes on the menu.
The bag of bread came with two types of freshly baked bread with fragrant fresh picked marjoram twigs, a pot of smoked mackerel paté and a preserved green fig.
First up was a chapati cut into four, resting on a bed of nettle-leaved goosefoot and the filling was also made from the nettle-leaved goosefoot with some Indian Spices.
The White Fish Pickle was served on a leaf of Ice Plant, a succulent that look fleshy and tough, but was crisp and a perfect textural contrast to the fish and the pink grapefruit and the fragrant fennel flowers.
Shoreline Salad used the iconic West Coast dried fish the Maasbanker Bokkom, also known as Horse Mackerel. The fish is traditionally dried and salted and it was served with thinly sliced pears, fresh smoked oysters and shoreline greens.
The Saldanha Bay Mussel Umqa was something so delicious. I often wondered how a risotto made from mielie-rice would work. And it does. The mussels were plump and tasty and the ‘greens’ were everything from veldkool to thinly sliced waterblommetjies and any number of other exciting crisp and tasty foraged plants.
The Springbok was served on a bed of the legendary heerenbone, puréed, with moskonfyt and dune spinach.
The dessert was a Frozen Shiraz Sabayon served with a crumble and caramelised pears.
This was an experience to remember for a long time.
Truly inspired and very different food in enchanting surroundings, served with a generosity of spirit by a legend of foraging. Kobus has a book in print now that will appear in Spring.
Oep ve Koep is in Die Winkel at Paternoster. Turn left at the first stop street in town. Please phone for reservations, the restaurant seats only 16 people.
St. Augustine Road
Paternoster, Western Cape
022 752 2105