Enjoy lazy weekend lunches with generous and nurturing country food
Picture tables under shady oak trees, friends and family gathered, old-fashioned serving plates generously laden with tasty food. That’s what The Table, at De Meye Wine Farm near Stellenbosch, is all about. Add the spacious lawn with picnic blankets for post-prandial siestas, the organic vegetable garden and green surrounds of the boutique wine estate and a leisurely lunch here is a special weekend escape.
Chef Jessica Shepherd and her husband Luke Grant have created a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and, by keeping the restaurant small (serving a set lunch menu to about 60 people Friday to Sunday), have preserved an intimate family feel. Jess serves the best kind of country cooking: nurturing, generous and creative – the kind of food that you wish you could cook at home. “My food is about feeling happy, it’s food that speaks to me on a personal level. I’m not trying to do fine dining, it’s like a meal that you would eat at home, cooked with a lot of care and skill. It’s about the ingredients you use and the way you put them together.”
A whole beetroot tarte tatin arrives for the two of us topped with sour cream and a salad of baby leaves with a lavender-infused vinaigrette. Fresh and deep flavours mingle, with sweet and savoury perfectly balanced. There’s crusty sourdough from Schoon in Stellenbosch on the side, farm butter and olives. Luke tells us the origin of the ingredients as he brings each dish: what they don’t grow in their organic veggie garden, they carefully source and collect personally from small local suppliers. It’s this dedicated approach that recently won them the inaugural Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award.
Two pretty oval serving dishes arrive, one bearing rich and tender slow-cooked beef (pasture-raised and supplied by Ryan Boon) with Hasselback potatoes, the other an abundant selection of roast veg from the garden, baby turnips, fennel and radishes drizzled with zesty gremolata.
And then dessert: home-grown raspberries and strawberries on yoghurt panna cotta with a perfumed sorbet of peaches poached in a rose geranium syrup – summer bliss in a glass. The magic of this secret country hideaway is hard to leave behind and we stroll around the vegetable garden and budding permaculture food forest before reluctantly tearing ourselves away.
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Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Kit Heathcock and Supplied