‘In die Sop: Restaurant Evolusie’ : Chef Bertus Basson transforms Readers Restaurant in Tulbagh and Backyard Café in Wellington!



I’ve previously written about Chef Bertus Basson’s new kykNET series ‘In die Sop: RestaurantvEvolusie’, a weekly episode focusing on the transformation of country restaurants in the Western Cape.

The first two restaurants featured were Red Tin Roof in Riebeek Kasteel, owned by the now infamous  journalist Jacques Pauw, and Evita se Perron, now run by owners Hentie van der Merwe and Frits van Reyneveld of Darling Sweet….. in Darling.

In this post I summarise the transformation of Readers Restaurant in Tulbagh and Backyard Café in Wellington.

Chef Bertus Basson is ‘In die Sop: Restaurant Evolusie’, a restaurant turn-around TV series, including that of controversial journalist Jacques Pauw!

Readers Restaurant & Grill, Tulbagh

Readers Restaurant in Tulbagh is owned by Cordon Bleue Chef Carol Collins, and is located on the town’s historic Church Street, this oldest building dating back to 1754.  The program notes supplied by kykNET inform that Chef Carol has 25 years culinary experience, and that her restaurant kitchen is 300 years old, which meant that Chef Bartus’ team had to tread lightly in its transformation.

As program notes of each individual episode are not available, I watched the episode and checked the restaurant’s Facebook Page. On Facebook Carol posted:

NEW LOOK thanks to kykNET and the In Die Sop Team – My decluttering process was difficult in the begin (sic) but once over the first hill it introduced new energies new creative ideas and new simplicity that is amazing to work with in. Misi Overturf Creative Hein Scholtz Bianca Du Plessis Malan Tania Spaight Reed Bertus Basson Errieda Du Toit and a huge thanks to the whole team and Ian du Toit for the amazing photos. #kyknet #readersrestaurant #discovertulbagh #Westerncape #foodandwine #restaurant DStv’

In the episode Chef Bertus leads Carol into the transformed restaurant foyer, and she expresses surprise at the decluttered reception area, a bench and a counter having been removed. Cats are decoratively used, but must have been there before. An interesting lamp with a most unusual paper pages lampshade is the central focus when one enters the restaurant, possibly a literal interpretation of ‘Readers’.  A lounge-like room was transformed into a second dining room for ten diners. Carol was blown away by the transformation, loving the openness, the whiteness, the classiness, the cleaness, and the lights. The menus have become placemats, which can be thrown away after use. The natural wood of the tables was retained.  The kitchen was decluttered and more space was created to operate. A new grill and fryer were introduced, with stainless steel shelving. The menu was simplified, to reflect the new restaurant name : Readers Restaurant & Grill.


Jaart, former Backyard Café Wellington 

The Backyard Café belonging to the Hougaard family must be hard to find in Wellington, its former  ‘website’ describing its location as between Mica and Tops in its headline!  It is in a parking lot.

The name of the restaurant was changed to Jaart, with funky signage, its owners expressing shock and surprise at the changes. The kitchen and its equipment clutter was addressed. The transformation made the restaurant more youthful and funky, plants were added, it was made more open, lamps were added to the tables, a new bar was created and local gins were sourced, and a new Menu was created, with food designed to attract younger patrons, focusing on pizzas, burgers, and schnitzels.

On its  Facebook page Jaart posted as follows, after it reopened after its three day renovation closure:

We know everyone has been very curious for the reason we have been closed the past few days , and here is the answer. We had some renovations done inside and out. We might have changed the name of our restaurant BUT the owners and staff remain the same. We have a more improved and focused menu that we are very excited for all our customers to try out. And don’t you worry the feel and the vibe has not changed , in fact it has doubled with pride. We hope to see you all @JAART in the new week to see the change !’

In die Sop’ is broadcast on Wednesdays on kykNET on Dstv.


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com  www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide


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