Good Mood Food

June 28th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

Poor me landed at Dear Me’s doorstep after months of gorging myself on rich, over-faffed food, feeling like a foie gras duck minutes before the slaughter. With a bit of bronchitis thrown in to drive the point home that I was bent out of shape and desperately needed to recalculate. My inner GPS was free-wheeling through Lardville. And Dear Me was just the place to remind me of my true food self.


Yes, you deserve a medal


‘Green is the colour of true love’ some hippie whispered through a bong haze in my distant past and it also happens to be my favourite colour. And Dear Me is all about the love. Or just being good and kind to yourself and the planet. But there’s none of that neurotic wheatgerm gleam in the eye that some health stores get off on. This place was a long time in the making and it shows in every inch of bespoke, conscious quality. From the slinky green Thyla chairs to the Deep Heat infusion (ginger, lemon, chili and apple) that manager Ronel suggested for my beleaguered bronchi, smart sensibility prevails. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to your health and the planet’s, being kind means being clever. In the long run.


So pretty to me


Deep Heat infusion


Call me feeble but glass teapots really excite me. Dear Me has juices, teas and smoothies down to a fine art. The menu changes constantly but if ever you’re there and the warm cauliflower & cheddar tart is available, it is God’s way of telling you to have it. I know foams, emulsions, reductions and sous vide sakkies don’t come easy (or cheap) and they have their place in this world but to me, a bite of this tart is the milk of human kindness made edible. So simple, yet so delicious. The cauliflower held its own and for once, unadorned by a whole team of flavours, displayed depths and nuances beyond its humble reputation* and of course the cheddar, in line with Dear Me’s superb provenance philosophy, was of the kick-ass, tongue-puckering kind.


Plain fabulous



Perhaps it was my lucky day but they just happened to have some of my favourite flavours on the menu. Like horseradish and celeriac… nothing new-fangled and technique-driven, just the cleanest, most thoughtful combinations, mindful of tried and tested flavour relationships. Sensibly, most dishes are available in two portion sizes and prices are extremely fair. Chef Vanessa Marx is ex-Caveau Newlands, if that adds to the picture.


Beetroot-cured trout gravadlax, fresh horseradish cream, pickled carrots, dill, lumpfish caviar



No blobs or puddles, just seared kudu, celeriac remoulade, red onion & rocket


I’m a graduate of the skidmarks-belong-on-tarmac school of dining and though flexible, it was a truly heart-warming experience to find a restuarant that so met my true food needs. I could throw endless adjectives at it but I’ll leave you with real, true & beautiful.

Cape Town has many great eateries but every few years, a place opens that raises the bar in terms of capturing Deep Cape Cool and I daresay, Dear Me is that. Owner Ilse Koekemoer and her team have added much needed freshness to the CBD. But it gets better. Just above Dear Me is Tjing-Tjing Bar. Tjing-Tjing opens when Dear Me closes, at around four. The same kitchen team provides light meals for the trendy bar crowd. Tjing-Tjing is retro fab gorgeous.


Painting in the stairwell leading from Dear Me to Tjing-Tjing



And I’m going there tonight. So, dear friends, if I seem a bit slow on the uptake at 7.30 am on SABC3 Expresso Show tomorrow – when I will be reviewing Dear Me –  you’ll know why…

PS – Dear Me serves filtered tap water – still and sparkling – for free. Restaurants, take note…

*proof that the frequent reading of wine writing leads to ebullient poncification of inanimate and blameless entities