Up the Garden Path

Travelling the Cape’s magnificent garden route to visit some restaurants for my guide. Along the way, have come across a few good ones that happen to be in guest houses. There is a trend for upmarket guest houses to bring a “name” chef in and to create a semi-stand alone restaurant, but I am not convinced that this always translates into a success for the outside visitor.

At Daniela’s on Leisure Isle, Knysna, for example, a place that is highly regarded by foodies, the lunch visit was not one that I would rush to repeat. The deck and views were great, but there was no-one else there. Wait, the guys fixing the roof were there, and so were the guys delivering the umbrellas. The chef rushed off, and the front of house was vague.

Dinner is when it happens, I guess, and this is the nub of the problem: places like this don’t feel the need to be “switched-on” all the time. They have other concerns, like the rooms, and the restaurant is always ancillary. A restaurant, on the other hand, needs to be the constant fly-trap – if you are open, you need to allure. You can be open and vague, but you certainly won’t last.

So I am thinking of dropping these “in-house” restaurants from the guide. Of course, there is always space for a restaurant that happens to have rooms… but there are few of these in the Cape, or South Africa. It’s more a European thing.