Tiny South Africa beach restaurant crowned best in world

PARIS, A tiny beach restaurant in an isolated South African fishing village was named the best in the world.

Chef Kobus van der Merwe, 38, who did not begin to cook seriously until he was 30, forages every day for ingredients on the wild Atlantic shore of the Western Cape near his Wolfgat restaurant, where he also makes his own bread and butter.

The Wolfgat � whose six mostly female staff have no formal training � opened just two years ago in a 130-year-old cottage and cave on the beach at Paternoster.

Its seven-course tasting menu costs the equivalent of US$60, a fraction of what you would pay at a top Paris table.

But its humble setting, and Van der Merwe's belief in sustainable, back-to-basics cooking won over the judges of the inaugural World Restaurant Awards in the French capital.

With dishes such as twice-cooked laver (seaweed), angelfish with bokkom sambal and wild garlic masala, limpets, mussels and sea vegetables harvested within sight of its stoep (porch), Wolfgat also won the prize for best Off-Map Destination.

The bearded Van der Merwe � a former journalist � said that apart from the influence of the subtle spices of local Cape Malay cooking, his philosophy was to interfere as little as possible with the products, and to keep them pure, raw and untreated.

It's hyper local cuisine but we try to come up with new flavours, like dune celery spice.

The chef, who said he would not be hiking up prices, said his win was a victory for the African continent and my beautiful, diverse country.

Source: Nam News Network