Russel Wasserfall and his wife Camilla Comins are probably going to have to take out a restraining order against the Guinea Pig and I.
We are their NBFs (New Biggest Fans).
Set in an old farm house to one side of a lush vineyard (De Meye, a family-owned boutique winery in Stellenbosch), it seems somehow misleading to describe The Table as a restaurant — it feels more like visiting old friends for a long, lazy Sunday lunch.
Russel is instantly likable — what's not to love about a man who has you quaffing rosé and chatting away less than a minute after arrival? (If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s one of the South Africa’s top food photographers.) Camilla works her considerable magic in the kitchen. She's a professional food whiz: trained chef, stylist, and food product developer.
Our meal at The Table was 100% pretention-free. It was nurturing, nourishing, delicious, transportive — the antithesis of what one might expect from Jardine or Dale-Roberts (#nothingagainstthempersonally) and the like, whose dishes leave me feeling nonplussed as to how, exactly, I am supposed to have benefitted from the experience.
For R200, the set menu included steamed mussels in a creamy sauce with homemade bread to start, then a main of large, thick slices of perfectly roasted beef with Béarnaise, a flawless Caesar salad and an enormous onion tart that I think the Guinea Pig could quite happily have scoffed all on his own in a dark cupboard. Dessert was a very generous portion of some yummy kind of coconut cake with chocolate ice cream that I was just too full to take more than a bite of. Our entire meal could have fed four people. (The leftovers fed us for three whole days.)
It’s no coincidence then that Russel’s keyword throughout our sporadic afternoon conversations was 'abundance'.
Of course, we each drank our own body weight in wine, and were the last to leave. (A tip: if Russel makes a wine pairing recommendation, go with it. I didn’t and regretted it.) The Wasserfall-Comins were very gracious about our slurring, stumbling, and somewhat-embarrassing-in- the-cold-light-of-the-next-day ardour, bless them.
We are already plotting our return to the scene of the crime.
Psssst: This week's menu is…
Bushpig rillettes with caper berries and pickles, a baked mozzarella in lemon with bay leaves and crusty bread
Butterflied leg of lamb cooked with thyme and paprika, served with potato wedges, braised leeks and baby spinach with a hot mustard dressing
Strawberries with meringues and cream and a scoop of chocolate ice cream