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Wolfgat: The Best Restaurant in the World. Really?

Wolfgat: The Best Restaurant in the World. Really?
Paternoster. Photo by Philippe Verheyden on Unsplash

Everybody in the world has been to dine at Wolfgat, on the Cape’s West Coast. We didn’t know that last week, but we know it now, because all the people in the world have decided that it’s the best restaurant they’ve been to. Anywhere... Funny, that. Food Mole seems to have missed the bus to Paternoster.

Now look, Food Mole is not saying that Wolfgat is not the best restaurant in the world. Okay, he is. Let’s start again.

Now look, Food Mole is not saying that Wolfgat does not serve wonderful food. It very clearly does, because some very fine palates have dined there and pronounced thus. And these are palates that Food Mole admires, not least that of Margot Janse, the South African (okay, Dutch, South African by choice) judge in the pack that decided which restaurants are the best in the world for the inaugural World Restaurant Awards.

The World Restaurant Awards. What are they? Nobody knew about them until this week. Basically some people decided, “Let’s have some new restaurant awards”, and now Kobus van der Merwe has to have the entire world trying to book a table for the rest of his life. In his 20-seater restaurant. Food Mole has reserved a table for 26 October, 2047.

But there are some obvious questions, or is it just me? Like, how many of the judges went to eat at Wolfgat? Why did they only assess the food and not the venue? (Have you seen it?) When exactly did all these judges go to Paternoster? Did they eat at any other other restaurants in Paternoster? Is it possible that there’s a restaurateur in – I dunno, Lamberts Bay maybe – that is thinking now, “Damn, I should have invited all those judges while they were here?” What about Nobu at the Waterfront? Are we sure that’s not a bit better? I mean, it looks quite nice. Did they go there while they were here? Or to the Greenhouse or Overture or La Colombe or The Test Kitchen or or or… What about the restaurant at the top of the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong? Or the one on the second floor? And all those restaurants in London and New York and Paris and Singapore and Dubai and Buenos Aires or … or is it just me?

And where did they all stay, or did they go separately, at different times of the year? Did they all go unannounced? Did chef Kobus van der Merwe not notice that there were all these judges from all over the world in his restaurant? That there was a sudden surge of creepy looking people sniffing their food more than eating it?

And how is Heston feeling right now? And Raymond and Gordon and Anne-Sophie and Emeril and… What a blow. Poor old Heston. “If I knew all I had to do was open a bloody shack on a beach in South Africa… oh well.”

If you thought Food Mole was surprised to learn the news this week, you should have seen Kobus’s face when he won. He honestly looked as though he thought it was a bit of a laugh, which is another way of saying ridiculous. And isn’t it that? Really? Hey? Come on.

Kobus, ou maat, Food Mole is not poking fun at you. It’s clear that you make brilliant food, that you have your very own way of choosing ingredients, right there on your beach, and that what you do with them in the kitchen is culinary art. One day, in 2047, Food Mole hopes to taste the truth of this for himself.

In the meantime, my gabba, you’d do well to rake in all the money you can in two or three years or so, and then close the bloody place down and go and open another restaurant somewhere where nobody but your actual customers will find you.

They would be the ones who were coming to your restaurant anyway, as Food Mole had been planning to do, rerig ou maat, but sadly this is now impossible. Good gaan, boeta. It would have been nice knowing you. DM

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