Heritage is what informs a lot of Basson’s cooking in all his restaurants, and while tradition forms the foundation for many dishes, they are all elevated by his unique creativity and vision.
Eike serves a set menu of multiple courses (dietary requirements will be accommodated as far as possible) which will, in Basson’s words, change as inspiration strikes.
You can sit at a table, or at the wide marble kitchen counter, where you can watch the team up close as they plate and present, with murmurings of “yes, chef” repeated like a quiet culinary benediction.
I’d been sitting there a few minutes when Basson leaned over and pushed the rose gold plant pot closer to me. “That’s your first course,” he said. Which part, I wanted to know? Sometimes you just can’t tell what’s edible and what’s not.
“The roasted kale with dukkah,” he replied.
That was followed by a teeny, tiny wildebeest and celeriac “taco” bite, served on crumpled tissue paper on a giraffe bone.
The third dish was called crayfish cocktail. The presentation is highly dramatic, with a platter of shells and a bowl of billowing smoke.
A pause for breath and Basson lit a candle and put it in front of me. Then I was served sourdough bread, lamb biltong, and cucumber soup, and discovered the candle was made of beef fat and as it melted it could be spread on the bread.
Bobotie was deconstructed into lamb tartare with crispy yellow rice puffs, and waterblommetjies found a new identity with Cape bream and oyster in a pool of viskop sop.
The main act had been in the making all this while; giant steaks - plankievleis - strung up over a hot flame, and then finished on the grill. Gorgeously pink inside with golden fat, it was served sliced with light-as-air pampoen poffertjies (pumpkin puffs) on puréed spinach with crispy potatoes and beef fat gravy.
We were reaching the denouement, with a pre-dessert of strawberries, rose foam and sorrel. I’d acquired a menu by this time, and learnt the final course was called “What Happened in the Garden Of Eden?”
Coming full circle from the pot plant in the beginning, the shiny green apple and a quenelle of sorbet were not what they appeared to be. No spoilers; you can discover it for yourself.
I will say, however, the fresh and light conclusion to this exceptional meal was perfection.
Eike serves dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays from 7 pm.
Telephone 021 007 4231, email [email protected], or go to https://bertusbasson.com for more information.