Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Luckily they're OEP VE KOEP

An hour an a half north of Cape Town (and it's blockbuster mountain) is the traditional West Coast fishing village of Paternoster.  With newly whitewashed cottages, an ever-present artistic talent and some fabulous dining options, it has well and truly secured it's spot on the South African international and domestic tourist trail.  A visit to the town will provide one with the opportunity of experiencing the warmth, generosity and good-humoured nature of the locals, and you'll inevitably encounter informal fresh fish and crustacean trading on most street corners. 

Oep ve Koep is a small, bistro-style restaurant attached to a little shop of the same name.  Kobus van der Merwe (Head Chef) has created something special from his tiny kitchen and put a wonderfully original spin on well known West Coast cuisine.  A great deal of effort goes into sourcing local and sustainable ingredients and he introduces guests to a few wild local herbs and vegetation, foraged from the coast, the surrounding area and a few nearby gardens.  

The restaurant is enormously refreshing with some serious flavour combinations (and a great wine list) presented in a relaxed, garden environment.  A visit gives you a sneak peak into the world of a chef that is in tune with his (and our) natural heritage and isn't scared of showing it off. 

The menu changes daily but some of his most popular hits make regular appearances.  The surprise snack of fresh bread with sweet preserved orange and lip smackingly moreish bokkom/olive tapenade had a slap of salt that required the urgent assistance of a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.  Luckily the wine flowed and the food continued to deliver.       

Bread, preserved orange and a bokkom/olive tapenade

Maasbanker (Cape horse mackerel) bokkom, pear and shoreline salad

Saldahna Bay mussels, salvia-smoked angelfish and tulbaghia (wild garlic)


Kobus has given us a great snoek recipe.  If you can't get smoked snoek, mackerel will do.

Kobus' smoked snoek croquettes

  1. 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  2. 250g smoked snoek, flaked
  3. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  4. juice and zest of half a lemon
  5. small handful of fresh fennel, chopped
  6. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  7. breadcrumbs
  8. flour for dusting
  9. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  10. vegetable or seed oil for deep frying
  11. 60g butter
  12. 100ml cream
  • in a small saucepan, cook the potato in salted boiling water
  • when the potato is soft throughout, strain
  • pass the soft potato through a potato ricer, add butter, cream and season
  • combine the flaked snoek, potato mash, onion, garlic, lemon, and fennel
  • season to taste with salt and black pepper
  • add one Tbsp egg and mix well until combined
  • using your hands, roll the snoek mix into small balls
  • dust each ball with flour, dip in egg and roll in bread crumbs
  • deep-fry until golden and crispy

Enjoy as a snack or make a simple meal of it, served with whole sweet potato baked in foil over hot coals.

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