When next travelling the dusty roads to Elim, be sure to squeeze in a lunch stop at Black Oystercatcher. The southern Cape isn’t known for good restaurant eating but this spot is worth a 40-minute dirt drive. No surprise then that it’s a lunch destination for urbanites hanging out in Struisbaai, Arniston and Pearly Beach.
I joined an early January group eating a holiday lunch under the outdoor marquee, and we had a tasty time tucking into homemade hamburgers with potato wedges and onion marmelade, as well as grilled yellowtail with salad. This fish was fresh! Dirkie caught it on a Struisbaai fishing expedition with Springfield’s Abrie Bruwer the previous day. Also impressive, the Asian tones of a chilli and coconut milk-infused prawn and chicken noodle dish served with Indonesian shrimp chips. Expect to pay around R80 to R95 per dish.
Dirkie Human is a genuinely nice, salt of the earth type who takes on the multiple roles of winemaker, owner and restaurateur. His family have farmed in the area for generations but vines were only planted in 1998. Family involvement is still evident - his young daughter did a fine job serving our food.
As a wine ward Elim is relatively new. The term ‘extreme farming’ comes to mind, with conditions include blustery maritime winds. We experienced some of those. How refreshing that quality drinking is a major component of dining here.
Human’s delicious whites include a chalky Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (R64), or the elegant, partly wooded Sauvignon/Semillon blend called Black Pearl 2007 (R71) with just the right balance of oily mouthfeel to racy acidity. Both are delicious with food. I was amazed to find these bottle-aged whites on a restaurant menu but Human explained that his wines show better with age. He is correct of course – drinking now they are a delight. Delightful prices too, with cellar door and restaurant wines at the same price tag.
Flavour rating: Creatively tasty and freshly prepared.
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER , Black Oystercatcher winery, 7km outside Elim. Tel 028 482-1618, Oystercatcher Open for lunch.