I strongly suspect a
brainwashing conspiracy going on here as otherwise, why send the English girl
out to report back on a good old South African braai? Not to worry, I am more
than happy to forsake the burnt-hamburger-barbecues of my English past and
replace them with this ‘lekker’ experience. See - the brainwashing is working
Middelvlei is a total
family-run affair. The Momberg family has various adult members involved in
growing the grapes, making the wine, marketing the wine and now that they have
decided to add a food offering, the next generation of the family are getting
in on the act as well by waiting on tables – including the 14-year old (child
labour - hooray!)!
Jeanneret Momberg, who
is the driving force for all changes in this family, didn’t want to open a
restaurant so decided to offer a more relaxed, family-focussed, true South
African experience – a boerebraai. For R115 you get pates and bread followed by
a hearty plateful of meat served with braaibroodjies, pampoenkoekies, baked
potatoes and salad (toasted cheese, tomato and onion sarmies and pumpkin
fritters for non-Afrikaans speakers). If you still have room, you can finish up
with a darned fine Malva pud and custard.
All this food is
prepared off-site by Jeanneret’s partner in this venture, JD de Villiers from www.spitmaster.co.za and
expertly cooked by Chef Elliot on the day. The success of the braai has taken
them by surprise – they originally budgeted on doing about 20 over the weekend
whereas they are actually up to about 50 per day instead, so if you want to go
and try it out, I’d advise you to book.
There are so many good
points, that I thought I’d bullet-point them:
· Food is excellent
– home-cooked, fresh and plentiful
· Wine is
great and all at cellar-door prices so no mark-ups. I especially liked the
Shiraz and the Unwooded Chardonnay.
facilities for families – a kids’ lunch costs R40 and includes a stokbrood
which they can cook themselves.
Ben Momberg has a veritable menagerie on the
farm – goats, cows, chickens, geese, pot-bellied pigs and wallabies – and you
can buy feed for some of the animals. There are also large lawns and donkey
is kept to a minimum – proper plates, knives, forks and glasses with just one
cardboard container for the pate bits and pieces and one for the salad.
views over the wetland.
· Open till
late – last week they packed up and left at 7pm leaving customers still
chilling on the lawn. Plans are afoot for a special sun-downer package coming
Um – it was raining
when I visited? Er – the wallabies wouldn’t come out and talk to us? George
Clooney didn’t drop out of the ether and offer to share his immense fortune
with me? Not really sure I can think of
any offhand. I suppose if you were a vegetarian, this might not be quite your
thing, although there is a veggie option. Other than that – nothing really.
Middelvlei is one of
those places which just gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. I’m not a religious
person but I am sure that if there is a deity, he or she will be quite happy
about me spending my Sundays out here, enjoying my family, my friends,
wonderful nature, a beautiful view and a lovely meal.