Paternoster, one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of the Western Cape province, serenely sits a 20 diners a night Restaurant, called Wolfgat. Unknown to the world, until this intimate, seashore restaurant was awarded ‘off-map destination and restaurant of the year’ at the first edition of the World Restaurant Awards on 18 February 2019 in Paris.
This two-year old restaurant, is not only now an award winner, but is an eatery of remarkable coastal history. A 130-year-old building, located on the Wolfgat cave, Archaeologist John Parkington, affirms it as “a substantial chamber lying under an unusually large calcrete shelf”. Almost certainly, the chamber, and passages leading into it, owe their origin to underground stream erosion that has removed softer sand from below the cemented shelf”, according to their website.
The menu is customised in Chef Kobus van der Merwe’s signature beach vegetation foods. Imagine for a second, homemade bread and butter, local seafood, lamb and/or venison, married with handpicked wild herbs, seaweeds from the local rock pools. The Chef teams up with his six mostly female staff, to prepare the food with some of the features taking weeks of preparation.
Sharing his excitement, following his win, Van der Merwe was quoted by @worldrestawards saying; “I’m really proud to bring something like this back to our continent and beautiful country. I’m very proud to be working in a team of mostly women.”
Not only has Wolfgat become a trailblazer in the culinary industry, but is now a conversation starter on the global stage, for its exclusive scenery, a stone throw away from the tranquil, yet rippling Atlantic Ocean and a contributor to South Africa’s Nation brand image and reputation. Wolfgat has strengthened and reaffirmed South Africa as a country that inspires new ways of excellence and has remained authentic to its diverse cultures and true to its robust history.
“Just making the longlist was incredibly overwhelming, because I look up to all of the other restaurants that were nominated with us, and we certainly didn’t feel worthy of being there, so this is a few steps of insanity above this, so I can’t quite put it in words. I think it willl all sink in.” said Kobus van der Merwe of @wolfgat on winning #RestaurantoftheYear and #OffMapDestination at the #worldrestaurantawards.We only book 20 diners per sitting – by keeping it small, we keep it sustainable.
Brand South Africa congratulates Wolfgat for the incredible win which has elevated the country brand to new heights. To book a seat at the award winning restaurant go to – Wolfgat Booking
Fun facts about Paternoster, home to this incredible restaurant
- Paternoster, meaning “Our Father” derives its name from the prayers of ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors
- Famous for its abundance of crayfish
- Enjoys ten months of the year watching of whales and dolphins, frolicking in the ocean
- A breeding ground for over 250 species of birds with seabirds (seagulls, cormorants, sacred ibis and the oystercatcher)
- Five kilometres outside of the fishing village of Paternoster the last manned lighthouse constructed in 1963, rests on a windswept coastline within the Columbine Nature Reserve, the Cape Columbine Lighthouse