restaurants

Hog House Brewing Company

Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House
Hog House

This year has started off with quite a bang. We started with moving house and it simply hasn't stopped. Did you know that this year is the universal year of one in numerology? This means it is a year for growth, progress, and change. So I know it is going to be a good one! 

On the note of the change. I don't often venture out of the city for dinner. I seem to have become the typical Capetonian that finds any 20-minute drive very far away. Which for the better part is ridiculous. Most places are less than 15km from my house and not quite the Cape to Cairo journey I imagine it to be. 

One of these places is Hog House Brewing Company in Pinelands Ndabeni, a smokehouse with an elevated experience. It is an awesome spot that I recently ventured out to. I always have their pasteis de nata's at the Granger Bay city farm market. If you follow me on Instagram stories or snap chat you will see that every Saturday morning before I do my organic vegetable shop at the market, my first stop is coffee and pasteis. It is a religion and I cannot go without one if I am at the market. Regardless of the sugar curbing vibe, I might be on. They are simply spectacular. 

Now on my adventure 'out' of the city (I'll have you know it takes all of 15 minutes to drive there) I discovered the restaurant behind the perfect pasteis and to be honest, the food isn't far behind on the perfection. They offer phenomenal dishes that simply are mouth watering. The Hog House does slow smoked meat using rooikrans wood, that is cooked in its natural flavour without sauce. All meat is free range and locally sourced and homage is paid to the smokey texas style of cooking. They have a full brewery that on a busy day can bottle up to 2000 bottles of fresh, crisp beer brewed with different flavours such as caramel. Now, who doesn't want a cold one? 

The menu is extensive and offers meat lovers a full variety of delectable ribs, pulled pork, burnt bacon bits, braai brootjies, chili poppers and more. The flavours are spot on and the meat is tender and juicy. What about the vegetarians? It is not often you go to an establishment where the sides shine as bright as the mains. Hog House offers sides that will allow any vegetarian to feast and be happy. From cheesy baked aubergine to roasted cauliflower topped with cheese and crisp capers there will be a meal for everyone! The cherry on the cake was definitely the ice cream cone for dessert along with the pasteis (yes I did both)! 

Booking is essential and spends per head would probably average R250. Executive Chef PJ Vadas has truly created a great establishment that I would rush back to although the cooking is low and slow!  

If you want to book (and you should) here are the details: 

bbq@hhbc.co.za
bookings 021 810 4545
office 021 531 0721

-Melissa 

The Pool Room at Oak Valley

The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley
The Pool Room at Oak Valley

Have you watched the show Chef’s table on Netflix? If you have you will remember Dan Barber from Blue Hill. I recently watched the episode about Blue Hill farm and he made a statement that stuck with me. He believes that eating needs to become an ethical act. 

This resonated with me. As you may well know I am big on buying organic. In fact, it is everything. I eat mostly vegetarian and try to worry less about meat free Mondays but more about where my meat is coming from. Dan Barber also believes that if the meat is free range and reared ethically,  it will result in a better flavour. 
All produce, both meat and vegetable alike should be treated with the respect that they so richly deserve; for the simple reason that they sustain human life.
That’s a pretty big deal.  

After a recent trip to Elgin, I experienced The Pool Room at Oak Valley with Chef Gordon Manuel. It was affirming to meet someone in our very own back yard that believes in and practices these principles in the kitchen. 
The meat sourced for the restaurant is mostly reared on the farm (or at one of the neighboring farms) and all vegetables are organic and locally sourced where possible. 
All animals are free range and ethically treated during their tenure at pasture. 
The farm focuses on the Spanish and Portuguese tradition of acorn fed pork (a pig’s culinary dream) and wagyu beef and the estate also offers their own signature Oak Valley wines. 
In case you were wondering, Oak Valley gains its name from the over 4000 giant English oaks that are scattered all over the 30 hectare property. 
Naturally this provides ample acorns for the piggery, which are harvested and stored under water in large bunkers to provide feed.
This time of year (spring) the trees glow bright green in the dappled sunlight that has made its way through the canopy. The sound of the wind through the leaves rushes upon the senses offering a tangible connection to nature.
It is truly a sight to behold. 

The actual restaurant, The Pool Room is set amidst these beautiful trees and tables are arranged around a bright blue swimming pool. 
Sitting poolside you could lose your sense of time and sip away at a never ending glass of wine on a long summers day while the children play.
A family establishment that is pet friendly (Yes – Piglet joined me on the excursion and lay sunning himself while I feasted) that offers fantastic service from well trained and knowledgeable staff.
It is an ideal summers destination also offering picnics on the lawn under the trees.

Each dish was unique and had an element of country charm. Slightly rustic in their own right but elevated under the hand of professional chef. The salmon was perfect and the rich oiliness of the fish cut perfectly with the Oak Valley Chenin Blanc. 
My favourite dish and an absolute must try was the pork. It was melt in your mouth; served with creamy mash and wild mushrooms and rounded off with a jus that takes two days to prepare. 
Liquid gold if you ask me. My brother did make advances at my plate with a piece of table bread in an attempt to grab the last remnants of my dish.
Too bad I beat him to it. 
I then made my way through dessert and it didn’t disappoint. A pear and frangipane tart with the perfect crisp and soft combination!

A perfect afternoon some might say? I tend to agree.
Establishments like The Pool Room are getting it right in more ways than one.

-Melissa 

*This blog post was sponsored by The Pool Room, All opinions are my own.