If you were clever and avoided the madness of Valentine’s Day last week, but still wanted to do something special with a loved one, I have the PERFECT idea. The reason why it is PERFECT is because it totally surpassed Mr John and my expectations; and if being pleasantly surprised and happy isn’t what you want with a loved one, then I don’t know what is!
When Were You Last in Durbanville?
The last time I went to Durbanville was more than 10 years ago. Why? Well, because I pretty much don’t know what’s out there! I’ve not really had reason to go out there. But I was really happy when Diemersdal invited Mr John and I out for lunch because I love doing new things and I thought I’d be nice to revisit the area.
I knew we were able to access Durbanville from the N7 and thought a country road version would make the trip fun – we were right. It was FANTASTIC seeing the mountains from a totally different point of view. We took a random turn and went through the ‘burbs which slightly killed our job (if not interesting to see how the area’s developed and how other citizens of Cape Town reside).
We arrived at Diemersdal, parked easily and made our way to the restaurant. Well, we had no idea it would be a converted barn with so much charm! They have a skylight which allows the beautiful summer light in while still keeping patrons cool. There’s also an outside picnic area for families with small children who’d like to run around on the lawn and see the sheep in the pastures.
Mr John and I really weren’t expecting so much care and love to be found at Diemersdal. From the modern table decor, glassware and interiors, we were really, really pleasantly surprised.
Starters at Diemersdal
Once we were seated we were offered a plate of freshly baked breads and pickles, just to get the taste buds in motion. They were fresh, simple and delicious.
Diemersdal has a lovely Sunday lunch special for R250 per person. It includes an array for fresh starters and then a heartier meat dish. On this particular day it was a steak pie followed by dessert. But we were spoilt and were allowed to try some of the main dishes, just so that we could photograph and share the joy of Chef Martin De Kock’s food.
To start, I had the port roasted fig salad and it was EXQUISITE! Gourmet food that actually tastes better than it looks! Disks of beautiful beetroot, fresh watercress, deep fried aubergine under a sprinkle of ash. Ash that tasted good not bitter burnt! I LOVED this starter. Really, it was delicious.
I had the sauvignon blanc with my lunch, which is surprising since I’ve moved onto Chenin these days. I find that sauvignon blanc doesn’t sit well with me these days, too bitter, too sour, but the Diemersdal was wonderful. I’d 100% order it again. (I only found out after the fact that they had award winning wine! They once sent me some, but I left it at a friend’s house & didn’t get to taste it! 🙁 )
Mains at Diemersdal
We were spoilt with a second “starter”, the carrot and hazelnut tortellini (which is actually a vegetarian option off the main menu). With braised carrots, cumin cake (think this is done in a polystyrene cup in the microwave, so clever & tasty!), carrot reduction and shitake. Again, a wonderful dish, but not nearly as good as the fig or the main…
For mains I think I had a combination of two dishes, but I could be wrong. The reason why I say so is because I had spring onions, broccoli & gruyere (from the sirloin dish) and roasted cauliflower and pea shoots (from the lamb dish)! Either way, I LOVE this kind of food! Braised meat, mash and a veg, the triple threat in my food book – SO GOOD! (I was away from the table when they delivered, btw, that’s why I think it’s a combo). I absolutely loved this meal because of the textures, soft of the palate, but rich in flavour (not too rich, just rich enough).
Desserts at Diemersdal
The dessert on the day was rather exotic! A strawberry tart with cucumber ice cream and basil cream! I Not something I’d ever had before! I didn’t love it, BUT I didn’t NOT love it because it was bad, I’m just not big into basil. Basil for me is a ‘meh’ herb. Always used in cocktails and stuff, just not my vibe. The pastry was crunchy and the strawberries were sweet and delicious. If you like basil I really think this would have taken you by surprise, I loved the inventiveness of it and would say it definitely worked all together. I’m just more of a chocolate, salted caramel, fudge kinda gal.
Visiting Diemersdal Again…
I’ve been contemplating gourmet food lately and really feeling like it’s just not for me. It always looks amazing, but I almost NEVER sit on my couch at home and say, “Hmmmm I really wish I could have that expensive restaurant’s a,b,c again.” Perhaps it’s just me, but I believe food should leave you with a longing, a chuckle, a sense of gratitude. You should want to go back and have it again, tell your friends about it and laugh when you think about how good it was. That’s what food should make you do whether it’s your Mom’s cottage pie or a fancy restaurant’s offering.
I’ve genuinely thought about Diemersdal a few times since visiting and thinking about what kind of occasion would suit bringing the family out that way. I live 40kms away and it’s a perfect lunch venue for something outside my own neighbourhood. I’d love to return and try more of the chef’s food as it really impressed me. (Not to mention, I’m keen to visit other places in the region as well!)
If you decide to visit, please tell Diemersdal that you read about it on Boring Cape Town Chick so that they can give you extra special treatment. 🙂
Thank you Diemersdal, for having us. Really looking forward to returning soon! Check out the Diemersdal Facebook page or Twitter more info about the venue.