Wolfgat chef Kobus van der Merwe accepts the World’s Best Restaurant award at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards in Paris. Photo: Andy Hughes

Cape Town – Local chef and restaurateur Kobus van der Merwe put Paternoster on the international culinary map as his Wolfgat restaurant was named the world’s best.

Wolfgat is based in the seaside town and took home two prizes at the inaugural Restaurant of the Year Awards in Paris.

The finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges from nearly 40 countries. The Western Cape restaurant took home two prizes on the evening - including the best “off-map destination” and the coveted “restaurant of the year”.

Van der Merwe said: “I’m really proud to bring something like this back to our continent and beautiful country.”

Wolfgat scored points for its original menu and focus on job security and sustainability. The restaurant is in fisherman’s beach cottages and serves local dishes enhanced by garden and wild herbs with seaweed. 

Wolfgat feeds only 20 people at a sitting and offers a seven-course tasting menu.

The judging panel said: “The place is simple, rustic, yet elegant. We sat by the fireplace. The restaurant is directly on the beach with an ocean view. We could watch the fishermen go out, come back and empty the catch from their brightly coloured boats.

“The village of Paternoster is stucco white, like a place in Greece, charming and not touristy.

“Essentially, it’s a dream of perfect balance, unspoilt charm and accessibility. You know that feeling you get when you feel that you are among the first people to discover a place?”

MEC for economic opportunities Beverly Schafer extended her congratulations to the restaurant.

“This is a phenomenal achievement. The chef is doing amazing work, using sustainable, seasonal and foraged ingredients in the small seaside village of Paternoster and the world is taking notice.”

Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris said: “We are immensely proud of Wolfgat and the team for putting the quaint West Coast town of Paternoster on the map.”

Cape Times