Pictures: Theana Breugem
A sadness for many Café Delicious fans (like myself) was the day Rachel Botes threw in the towel. It wasn’t only that I would be deprived of her food, it was the venue, the bonhomie, the sidewalk chatter, a quick pitstop for coffee and chat … and yes, of course the food. But this is again their time, writes DIANE DE BEER:
But I knew that would come again because this is a chef who was born to do what she is famous for – her food and that embraces anything from breads to pies to cakes to delicious meals.
So when I was invited by the grande dame herself to attend one of the #OriginalDelicious team’s latest endeavours, I was excited.
They had been invited to collaborate with @Landje46, a beautiful performance venue in Shere, Pretoria East, and if, like me, you have no clue where that is, the entrance is on the extension of Lynnwood Road almost opposite Lombardi’s, very convenient and not difficult to find.
The invitation was for a once-off, full five-course sit-down long-table style Sunday luncheon under the trees on the lush property.
(The meal excluding drinks was R450 per person, R100 per child under 12.)
Because we were guests of the chef, we were given the opportunity to enjoy the day with the chefs and the serving staff – something I absolutely love because it makes me a part of the process – without having to work but able to watch how one does these elaborate dining experiences.
I also knew that the thing that has always excited me about Rachel’s food is her innovative nature. As a welcome snack, she already raised the bar with her raisin and black olive phyllo cigar. What a combination and what thought to put into something that is often an afterthought.
This was followed by the starter, again unusual, a pear, perfectly poached (a knife slipped through it like butter) in white wine and saffron stuffed with parmesan and Parma ham mousse. Pretty as a picture but also light and just the thing to get those juices flowing.
And we would need that because mains was another Rachel favourite, slow-roasted lamb in a pizza oven – brilliantly done.
It was served with vegetables and butternut roasted in condensed milk and rosemary. And as a delicious afterthought, a handmade olive shortbread topped with a slice of brie and preserved fig concluded that part of the meal and you could choose what to do with dessert.
In a smart move, they served Dessert in a Box, to take home. This consisted of a cocktail-sized milk tart, a mini bread-and-butter pudding, a cocktail-sized chocolate tart and homemade nougat, yet another #OriginalDelicious speciality.
You could have the desserts there, but for those of us who would have struggled with yet another course, it was the perfect ending to a special day. You could go home and in your own time, have the best teatime snack.
What I liked about this affair, was the ingenuity of the venue, which was new to me yet ideal for many different occasions. The fact that they picked the #OriginalDelicious team was an indication of the kind of quality they like promoting and thus I was curious about the owner of this intriguing venue.
Mariese van der Linde, the creative behind this versatile venue, also has a background in food and following many meanderings down in the Cape mainly, she remembered her childhood dream. She had always wanted to create a type of Babylonstoren, where people could disconnect from the outside world and focus on the good things in life, “to celebrate life in the moment,” she says.
The Landje estate presents her with the landscape and the venue and she is developing the concept organically – piece by piece. She has an endgame in mind, yet there’s no rush. At the moment she is working with the dreams of others and organising their ideal events when requested. She also does pizza evenings, music evenings (“I love the arts,” she explains) and then these monthly Sunday lunches, which I had just experienced.
This was the first time for the #OriginalDelicious group and Rachel is thrilled that this young fan who used to come to Cafe Delicious regularly has made contact.
They bumped into one another at one of Pretoria’s popular weekend markets, Busstop 7. Marliese spoke to her about collaborations, and that resulted in this marvellous lunch – with, fingers crossed ̶ many more to come.
Because I know and understand Rachel’s food philosophy, I was impressed to hear that this young entrepreneur understood when she hit gold. For the moment, it is the perfect combo and with each of them coming from such a different yet similar place, it could be explosive.
Rachel is thrilled to be dipping her toe into these familiar waters again ̶ without being overwhelmed!
It allows Rachel and Lulu de Beer, the #OriginalDelicious team to do what they do best, cook food with passion.
*The next Sunday lunch on September 4 in true Landje fashion is celebrating Spring with outdoor al fresco dining, a platter feast with delicious food by Rachel Botes from @original.delicious!
Live music by the talented @bassonlaasmusic, the perfect way to enjoy good food and company!
Meals are R550 per person;
R200 for kids under 18.
(Pizza, Ice Cream and a Soft Drink)
wine and soft drinks available
Whatsapp: 083 250 4007
CASHLESS OR SNAPSCAN
BAR AVAILABLE to buy WINE, SODAS and BARISTA Coffee (from their famous coffee truck)