On Saturday we had the good fortune of having lunch at Casparus in Stellenbosch, a collaborative effort between two legends, Chef Etienne Bonthuys and Artist Strydom van der Merwe. The occasion for us making the trek out to Stellenbosch was twofold - the enticing blog written my step Dad and wanting to spend some quality time with my dear friends who are lucky enough to live in Stellenbosch.
The service was as service in Stellenbosch often is, a little haphazard and lacking in warmth – the weather in contrast was scorching and not much effort had been made to counteract this (a fan would have been welcome). But a jug of ice water and bottle of Secateur (an Adie Badenhorst blessing in a bottle) soon soothed the mild irritations and once the food arrived we were all smiles and the conversation lingered over flavours, textures and colours as we tasted each other’s dishes each claiming that our dish had to be the shining light of the lunch collection.
I had been a bit overwhelmed while trying to choose my lunch as we had had a rather big and late breakfast and I didn’t want to make a mistake and have buyer’s remorse, so I had asked the waiter if he could get the Chef to choose my meal for me. I had a moment or two’s anxiety over this but ultimately had to trust the Chef would want to give what was at it’s best that day rather than what he was trying to get rid of before it spoiled. Either way my meal was exceptional.
I started with a caprese salad, which was everything that an authentic caprese salad should be and then a whole lot more. For my main course I had a sirloin as tender as the best fillet with all the flavour of sirloin, topped with marrow and sauced with a dreamy jus. The accompaniments of buttery turned veg and potato dauphenoise could have been a meal on their own they were so perfect. All I could manage for dessert were a selection of sorbets which I shared with Hannah our nine month old guest. She agreed that they too were a sensation!
I have heard the name Etienne Bonthuys in my home ever since I can remember. My parents used to treat themselves when we were little to culinary extravagances with him whenever they could afford it. I however have never had the good fortune to do so. Saturdays experience in a down to earth setting with an unpretentious menu, and extremely accessible prices means that I will recommend Casparus to all my friends and followers and hope to be able to eat there on many more occasions.
I wish you every success!