Mind-blowingly good tomato tart and chilled Blaauwkippen 2017 at Veldemeers Cafe.
YES, money’s too tight to mention, but it’s Sunday, the long weekend stretches ahead, and I’m hungry. And because I notice that Veldemeers Cafe in Arundel Village is advertising a new menu, I book a table for two, on the verandah, please, with a view of the flowering shrubs in Mr Chris’s Nursery on the left, and beyond, the distant hum of commuter buses hurtling down Quorn Avenue.
Everything was as it should be when we arrived. A pleasant-faced young man came around from behind a display of mouth-watering chocolate, carrot and almond cakes to greet us. We feel important as we are ushered to our table with its reserved sign displayed. How often have you walked into a restaurant and stood around aimlessly, waiting to be greeted, before finding your own way to an empty table?
Before long, our ‘waiter for the day’ introduced himself, handing out the new menus. There’s an abundance of crowd-pleasing dishes on the menu – peri peri chicken with French fries and salad, pan-fried rump steak with pepper sauce and fries (why does pan-fried sound so much more appetising than plain ‘fried’?), beef burgers and fillet steak rolls. Well-priced and delicious-sounding filled rolls and toasted sandwiches, fresh salads and pasta dishes also feature. Among the specials chalked up on a board I find my choice – a tomato and caramelized onion tart with feta cheese, French fries and salad, $7.95. This will pair well with a glass of chilled Sauvignon blanc.
Our waiter, who returned to Zimbabwe from Tshwane just before the coup that wasn’t a coup last November, proffered the wine list, explaining that although he wasn’t a sommelier, he had tasted most of the wines while waitering in Tshwane. Veldemeers Cafe has an pleasing variety of white, red, rose and sparkling South African wines available at reasonable prices, with a glass of Boschendal house wine priced at $3.75.
On our waiter’s recommendation we go with a Blaauwkippen Sauvignon blanc 2017 from the vineyards in Stellenbosch. Well-rounded and smooth, yet crisp on the palate, this paired well with the sweet roasted tomatoes and melt-in-the-mouth pastry of my mind-blowingly good tomato tart. George had ordered a beef burger with French fries and a side salad ($12.55) and insisted that a ripe fruit flavour in the Sauvignon blanc complimented the hearty beef patty in his burger. Which goes to prove that there’s no hard and fast rule about drinking only red wine with red meat.
The tomato tart was beautifully presented and served with a fresh red and green chilli salsa and a salad of micro greens grown in Veldemeers’ own organic vegetable garden. Veldemeers prides itself on making delicious food that is also healthy. No trans fats, the cheap artery-clogging oils that cause diabetes and heart attacks, are used in the making of their pastries or cakes, or in their salad dressings. All the patisserie is made with real butter, and the delicate flavour of the salad dressings is achieved with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).
Bearing this in mind, we ordered a waffle with ice cream and Belgian chocolate sauce ($7.25) and pancakes with whipped cream and Belgian chocolate sauce ($5.25). Both the pancakes and waffle were crisp and light as air, the Belgian chocolate sauce made from the best cocoa beans, rich and fudge-like. Caliente, a chilli hot chocolate drink ($3.50) tasting of real chocolate, was not over sweet, and flavoured with the slightest hint of chilli.
Apart from a uniquely delicious light brown mayonnaise made in the Belgian way with eggs and oil and served with the French fries, there were no typically Belgian dishes on the menu. Excepting, of course,the patisserie and Belgian chocolate sauce. If you fancy moules-frites (mussels and chips) or anguilles au vert (eels in green sauce) you can either book a private event with a tailor-made menu at Veldemeers, or stop off at the Belga Queen Restaurant on your next visit to Brussels.
The clientele at Veldemeers is laid back and friendly, the surroundings attractive, the service sharp. The food is so good, that should disposable income once more become a reality, regular
trips to Arundel Village East could become de rigeur. – A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff
Cafe Veldemeers in Arundel Village East
50 Quorn Avenue
Monday – Saturday: 7.30 – 22.00
Sunday: 8.00 – 16.30
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