If you had asked me two months ago what my favorite restaurant was I would have drawn a blank. I might have given you a few options with no concrete answer. But now, as of December 18th, 2022, I can confidently say that the best restaurant I’ve ever been to is The Table at De Meye.
While my mom was on a work trip to South Africa (for which I had eagerly tagged along) we ventured our way to the wine lands of Cape town. As rolling vineyards surrounded us, my mother and I found ourselves driving down a dirt road encased by trees. We pulled up to the restaurant as the rain started to trickle down from the sky.
We were welcomed by our waiter, Lovejoy, who directed us to a round table in the center of the room. The restaurant was quaint as if the building was converted from grandma’s living space to a dining room. Lovejoy explained that the table we were at would be ours for the rest of the day- we could sit until the kitchen closed if we wanted to.
Then the first course arrived. Along with it, a waitress gave us in-depth details of everything that sat before us. She started with the bread – a Klein Joostenberg sourdough which had been made that morning accompanied by a curry aioli that I would happily spread on any edible surface. Next up in her explanation were fresh Kalamata olives from a wine farm 20 kilometers away. She continued with a fava dip from Northern Italy topped with green bread sauce and fresh green asparagus from their garden. By the time she had finished explaining the dishes, my mouth was watering to the fullest extent.
I had to start with the aioli and bread. As we divvied up the warm sourdough and soaked into the curry garlic mixture, I knew that the drive would have been extremely worth it. Every item that was on the table had been made fresh that morning, from the garden at De Meye, or a nearby farm. As I savored every bit of the bread and asparagus, I wondered why the US didn’t have these kinds of restaurants. It was simple but so amazing. The chefs had perfected their menu without needing to add other options for their customers.
As the next course arrived, my jaw dropped in awe. A 15-hour braised, free-range karoo lamb neck was set on the table along with a cabbage dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. On the next plate were potato “croquettes” with caramelized onion puree and puffs of smoked Stanford cheese. The second course was finished with a plate of roasted carrots garnished with candied nuts and dried fruits. My mom and I dove in and our expectations were exceeded again. The freshness of all the food made all the difference. It felt as if we had sat down and a farmer was making us a meal from his entire garden – which is exactly what had happened.
Once dessert came, The Table at De Meye was one of my favorite places I’ve ever set foot in. Anyone who knows me is extremely aware of my obsession with passionfruit, so when Lovejoy brought us a scoop of passionfruit gelato on top of vanilla crumble and custard, my love was devoted to this restaurant.
Not only was all the food delicious, but The Table at De Meye was also an experience. Despite the distance, I’m already dreaming of my next meal at this South African farm-to-table restaurant for another culinary adventure.
Photo Credit: Erin and Avery Krusiewicz