It started out as a catering partnership between a dancer and a designer.
'Moerby Kultuur" is a pair of delicious double-entendres: mulberry, or to throw together (as in a recipe); while culture could be as in yoghurt, or in ballet. It started off as a catering partnership between Free State ballet dancer Mynhardt Joubert and Johannesburg designer and part-time farmer Eugene Nortje. They met in a bar in De Waterkant, Cape Town, and decided to cater corporate lunches to pay the bills.
The pair headed to Riebeek-Kasteel, that Bohemian village that is more affordable than Franschhoek and closer to Cape Town than Greyton. Bar Bar Black Sheep was the name of the restaurant they started next door to Crisp, an organic vegetable shop, and the Wine Kollective bottle store. (Joubert sings the praises of Anton Espost's Swartland Santa Cecilia #2, which the store sells online.)
The food was unashamedly boerekos; the wine list, unique. "This is the best book I've ever read," enthused one dame. "The descriptions are terrific." From comparing Adi Badenhorst's whites to the enthusiasm Elvis had for sleeping pills and describing Eben Sadie as "the baby Jesus of SA wine", it was compiled by searching for an appropriate image rather than a string of adjectives.
When it came to food, the hearts of various animals were de rigueur, while the Lucky Star fishcakes - "made from a recipe given to me by a 70-year-old in my kitchen" and served in a tin can - were a future classic. The décor was Rocky Street Yeoville circa 1970, Andy Warhol's silk-screen portrait of Chairman Mao with a slash of scarlet lipstick confirming the arrival of Asian food in the platteland.
Dishes such as wild boar terrine with crab apple and mint sauce paired with the Annexkloof SMG 2010 Mediterranean blend confirm it is not necessary to pay Franschhoek prices to enjoy a spicy Swartland red, as this one costs all of R55.
Dutch importer Fons Aaldering, who supplies exotic ingredients to 2600 Asian restaurants in the Netherlands, was so impressed he signed up Moerby Kultuur to prepare dim sum for 20 Chinese restaurant owners coming to the winelands. Now there's a compliment.
. See recipes on the following pages.
. Moerby Kultuur will pair dim sum with wine at the Food/Wine/Design Show at Hyde Park Shopping Centre, Johannesburg, November 22-25.
Contact 0765557736 (Eugene Nortje) or 0760331839 (Mynhardt Joubert).