The tiny restaurant, seats just 20 diners, was opened about two years ago in a 130-year-old house in the fishing village of Paterson, in the western Cape of South Africa, 150 km from Cape Town.
Despite its size, it was eventually awarded as the restaurant of the year by the World Restaurant Awards, an institution that aims to highlight the diversity in international gastronomy.
In this restaurant you meet the 38 year old chef and owner Kobe Van der Merwe, who prepares a 7 dish seasonal menu at the cost of 53 euros each.“The menus at Wolfgat usually come about very intuitively,” he says. “We are inspired by the West Coast landscape, with its dramatic seasonal transformation, and unique Strandveld Fynbos plant kingdom. Dishes are adapted according to the weather and the season, led by what we find on our daily exploration of the coastline.” It doesn’t get better than that!
The philosophy behind this restaurant is: “keeping it small, we keep it sustainable”.
What is so special about Wolfgat? Well, Van der Merwe works with a tiny team of local people who go foraging together, cook together and serve together. They even do the washing up together. There are just six of them in total, and they learned on the job.
“We don’t have a distinction between front of house and the kitchen,” he says. “We serve a small tasting menu of seafood enhanced by seasonal wild herbs and succulents and seaweed that we pick around the village.”
This attitude of the chef and owner of the restaurant reveals his general policy of abolishing the hierarchical structure in the operation of the restaurant as the staff works in a very warm atmosphere which is understood by the customers of the restaurant who go to taste their special dishes.