My feelings about something – whether it is a place, piece of art, dish or object – are always influenced by my first impression. What I enjoy the most is the surprise element of having my expectations either met or completely overturned. This has always intrigued me and this is what happened to me in Elgin.
Just forty-five minutes from the heart of Cape Town, we stumbled across a hidden gem of a restaurant deep in Oak Valley called “The Pool Room”. It was an unexpected surprise, having decided to hunt for a good country breakfast on our way to our final destination in Elgin to buy some fruit trees.
We were lost, hungry and a tad irritated by road works and deviations. Only this time, the deviation took us right to Oak Valley. After stopping a few times to ask where the nearest cafe for a hearty breakfast was, and receiving unhelpful shrugs in response, Oak Valley Estate, like a rainbow, appeared out of nowhere.
I’m not going to rewrite the blurb – I’m going to tell you exactly how it is written by Gordon Manuel. The menu is shaped by the abundance of exceptional produce right on The Pool Room’s doorstep, where the restaurant has its own free-range pork and beef. The farm has invested in the finest breeds of livestock and rears them in an ethical pasture environment to bring you a small yield of excellent product. The devotion to quality and integrity is obvious since the vegetables; honey, cheese, olive oil, herbs and other products not made on the farm are sourced through local producers that make use of sustainable hydroponic and organic methods. It is an inspiring mixture of superb ingredients, presenting diners with the ultimate fusion of nature, passion for food and the time taken to put these together.
We left The Pool Room in a bit of a dwaul having had an excellent meal. Now, however, it was time to buy some trees before I started putting down roots of my own.