Presenting Bertus Basson’s restaurants. A pioneer of Afrikaner cuisine

Overture and Eike are just two of the many restaurants owned by this very popular South African chef and entrepreneur

24-10-2018

South African chef Bertus Basson (photo Instagram)

After a long apprenticeship in London with Bruce Poole and a low-profile start back at home, South African Bertus Basson became one of the most famous South African chefs for many good reasons.

Bertus, a lovely person, worked hard to get where he is now, and he has nothing of the arrogance shared by many of his colleagues. Born in Cape Town, but raised in rural South Africa, he draws his culinary inspiration from his Afrikaner roots. His first restaurant, Overture in Hidden Valley was recently joined by another high end restaurant, Eike, in the centre of Stellenbosch. In both cases the cuisine is deeply Afrikaner, starting from the names of the dishes: Souttert (a sort of quiche), Plankievleis (grilled meat), Pampoen Poffertjiies (pumpkin pancakes) and so on. The culinary journey he offers, however, makes it worth the while to understand the names of the dishes and the ingredients, and it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the other local restaurants that mostly offer fusion cuisine. 

Restaurant Overture, in Hidden Valley (photo bertusbasson.com)

Restaurant Overture, in Hidden Valley (photo bertusbasson.com)

Eike opened very recently in Stellenbosch (photo bertusbasson.com)

Eike opened very recently in Stellenbosch (photo bertusbasson.com)

The chef starts from his Boer roots but then transforms them by creating dishes that while preserving a strong link with tradition, are modern, lighter, and very finely presented. Both bread and cakes deserve a special mention: they’ve always been a pillar inAfrikaanscuisine and are spectacular. Bertus is the epitome of the farm to table culture, based on a selection of the best local ingredients, all supplied by nearby farms. Local herbs and vegetables, such as Waterblommetjie (artichokes), meat from the farms and fish from the West Coast, are prepared and presented as a living testimony of the chef’s memory.

Like every celebrity chef, Bertus went on TV, but he participated in  programmes that were in line with his background: The ultimate Braai Master (a BBQ contest) and another couple of programmes, strictly in Afrikaans. Aside from his top two, the chef has four more restaurants.  The Deck@Hidden Valley shares the same address as Overture: it’s a very casual and scenic terrace, where you can enjoy organic burgers.

Quesadilla lamb ribs, crispy cabbage, radish and coriander (photo Instagram)

Quesadilla lamb ribs, crispy cabbage, radish and coriander (photo Instagram)

Strawberry dessert (photo Instagram)

Strawberry dessert (photo Instagram)

Bertus Basson@Spice Route is part of a large farm in Paarl and is an informal restaurant, also following the Afrikaner tradition. Here you can eat al fresco, under big trees, and have a tasting of beer, cheese and chocolate. Basson’s offer also includes a tapa bar, a very popular type of establishment in South Africa: Spek and Bonein Stellenbosch is a lovely place that serves sharing plates and good wines. Finally, The Vrije serves strictly organic burgers, also in Stellenbosch. His conquest of the Winelands is continuing, steadier and steadier.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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