(an SA Blog Beta post from Your Correspondent)
Part 2/3 – a Lesson in Culinary Improvisation
The places to eat in Greyton are many – but the reasons to book a table are, alas, few. Among the latter is the fact that all of the establishments sell cold beer, a real elixir on a hot day in the Overberg. (Afternoons can be uncomfortably warm in summer months, but nights are usually cool.) Other highlights include the handmade Belgium chocolate available from one of the cafes, and the flag of Iceland flying brightly over a certain pub.
The food which the local menus invite you to consider, however, does not inspire. An example was dinner at Rosie’s Cafe – a cute place with a small seating area and an ample back courtyard. If you go there, order the wood-oven-baked pizza, which looked and smelled delicious as it floated by on the waitresses’ palms.
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I and my lovely assistant made the mistake of not doing this, and instead, she ordered vegetable lasagne, and I – gulp! – the fish of the day. We picked through her dish to find a pasta noodle, but couldn’t (the “lasagne” was a slab of cheese, melted over stewed veggies); and the kingklip I ordered came out magically transformed into yellow tail, and somewhat soggy yellow tail at that.
No matter: the need for good food is the mother of all culinary improvisation! The next evening, we made use of the kitchen and braai (barbecue) facilities at our self-catering cottage (see previous Greyton blog for details), and invented our own, rather scrumptious coq au vin, cooked in a crock pot directly on the coals.
The chicken went down nicely with a 2004 Porcupine Ridge Syrah – not too young, not too challenging. A gentle breeze kept the bugs off as we dined on our little patio, Venus appeared overhead, and the sky turned the beautiful amythest hue that SA country towns keep all to themselves. It was fairly perfect.
In truth, I shouldn’t be so hard on Greyton’s cooks. After all, I wasn’t able to visit every establishment (of those I didn’t get to, the Pepper Tree looked most interesting), and we did manage to have one good meal: breakfast at the busy Oak & Vigne Cafe, which, with its hair-straighteningly strong coffee, makes out-of-towners feel right at home.
See the next post for the recipe.