South Africa wins big as Wolfgat in Paternoster is crowned Restaurant of the Year.
The inaugural restaurant of the year awards were held in Paris last night.
The finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges from over 37 different countries, with judges focusing on excellence and integrity and while trying to better promote the diversity of the world’s restaurant community.
Wolfgat, based in Paternoster in the Western Cape, took home two prizes on the evening – including the best ‘off map destination’ and the coveted ‘restaurant of the year’.
“Even without looking at the pictures of Wolfgat – the whitewashed cottage, the golden sand – our inspectors’ report makes you want to book a flight to Cape Town and drive on up the coast to Paternoster in a hurry,” the judging panel said.
“The place is super simple, rustic yet perfectly elegant. We sat by the fireplace. The restaurant is directly on the beach with an ocean view. We could watch the fishermen go out, come back and empty the catch from their brightly coloured boats.”
Wolfgat also scored points for its unique ‘Strandveld’ menu, its focus on providing jobs for locals, and its focus on sustainability.
Wolfgat‘s head chef Kobus van der Merwe – Eat Out’s reigning S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year – was in attendance at the Paris event to receive the awards, one of which was presented to him by the always-glam television host, celeb chef and fellow South African, Lorna Maseko.
The restaurant, which is housed in a converted 130-year-old fisherman’s beach cottage in Paternoster offers one of the best, most untouched views in the country and is praised for a menu that is built freshness and locality. “If mother nature erected a sign saying ‘build restaurant here’, it would surely point to Wolfgat. Chosen from all the inspected big plates, our inaugural Restaurant of the Year is a small, remote haven of purity and good taste in every sense,” reads the World Restaurant Awards website.
Wolfgat offers a seven-course tasting menu at R850 per person.
According to its website, the restaurant currently only books 20 diners per sitting – part of the restaurant’s goal of staying sustainable.
Drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscape and its dramatic seasonal transformation, Kobus van der Merwe’s signature Strandveld food menu comprises a series of tasting dishes presented in seven courses.
Sustainable seafood, local lamb and venison, and seasonal veldkos is featured, enhanced by wild herbs, seaweeds from the local rock pools, and pickings from the garden.
Some of the elements on the tasting menu take weeks of preparation, while other ingredients are handpicked on the day for the exact number of bookings received.
The judging panel which named Wolfgat the restaurant of the year comprises a mix of 14 professional chefs, restauranteurs and food media.
Congrats to Kobus van der Merwe and Wolfgat! Keeping it #ProudlySouthAfrican