I wanted to try Post & Pepper specifically, having seen its posts, and that it had been nominated as a Best New Restaurant in Africa by the World Culinary Awards, only a few months after opening on Plein Street, in a space that was the Post Office of the town.
Post & Pepper is owned by Chef Jess van Dyk, having previously worked at La Colombe as its Head Chef, and at Protégé in Franschhoek as its Head Chef. Both past restaurants belong to the same restaurant group. At her side is Manager Dimitri Hadzigrigoriou, who worked at both the other restaurants too.
The restaurant website states that Chef Jess ‘cooks up some fresh takes on classics with touches of Asian and South African inspired flavours using locally sourced products.’ The name of the restaurant blends the Post Office heritage of the restaurant space with Pepper being a popular spice in Afrikaans households, its website explains.
The restaurant offers a Winter Special of 2 courses for R200. I chose these courses:
# Crispy and sticky pork, served on two skewers, with a huge portion of charred spring onion dip. Onion is not my favourite, and I was not asked what my dietary requirements are. The pork portions were covered in black and white sesame seeds, very tasty, and beautiful blue borage flowers. (R110)
# Mediterranean salad, an exquisite presentation, it looking better than it tasted, something strong affecting the taste, despite my having requested that the white anchovies be excluded. It consisted of filigree melba toast, tomatoes in various colours and methods of preparation, herb crumb, and Fior di latte. (R110)
Other options for the Winter Special are Furikake Tuna tartare, with sushi rice, sesame, miso, aubergine, and dashi broth (R110); 3 Ssamjang oysters with green apple, lime, curry leaf, and ssamjang dressing (R90); smoked springbok with chicken liver parfait, onion marmalade, beetroot, and hazelnut (R150) ; Pork dumpling, hoisin, spring onion, spiced sesame, and peanut chilli crisp; and Fried Mac ‘n Cheese with fried mushroom, celeriac, and truffle Parmesan velouté (R140)
I was offered a complimentary dessert by Chef Jess, and of the two options available I chose the Choux bun filled with malted chocolate mousse, topped with salted caramel and popping candy, with a side of Madagascan vanilla ice cream and plated with more borage flowers. (R120). The other option was Sago pudding with guava, cardamom, and cashews. (R110).
I did not order any beverage other than water. I was surprised to see that wine can be brought along, at a corkage fee of R100.
I liked the greenery decor, and the spaciousness of the restaurant even though I felt sorry for it having no other diners than myself at lunchtime on a beautiful warm day, with more staff than diners. A waitress seemed superfluous for the shift. I loved that Chef Jess came to greet me at the table, only having met her at Protégé briefly a year ago. I complimented her on her new five-month old restaurant having been nominated for the World Culinary Awards. She shared that some of the inspiration for her dishes at Post & Pepper comes from dining at some of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants when she worked at La Colombe. I found Manager Dimitri very withdrawn for the position he holds. The bathroom had a toilet seat that had come loose. The complimentary dessert was a very kind gesture from Chef Jess, as was the mini unusual sweet and savoury koeksister which came with the bill.
Post & Pepper, The Oude Postkantoor, Corner Bird & Plein Street, Stellenbosch. Tel 021 203-5165. www.postandpepper.co.za Instagram: @postandpepper Tuesday – Saturday Lunch and Dinner. Book on Dineplan.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide, Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide