I really wish Keri Bainborough owner of NOMAD restaurant hadn’t comp-ed my bill at lunch today because now you wont believe me when I tell you what a fantastic experience I had losing myself in a whole new “lifestyle choice”-no I’ve already come out of the closet. I am talking about the conscious choice to take into consideration our fleeting environment. Whether it be turning total vegan or just choosing to slow down on the meat consumption. All that matters is that you truly take stock of your life, realize your worth and do the same for the lives of other, chickens, cows and piglets included.
I arrived to a very moody Stellenbosch and the fact that I had gotten lost (even using GMaps) and that I have seasonal effective disorder didn’t help matters. I am all about minimalism and light at the moment. Less clutter, less unhealthy food, less negativity and less work (that would be nice) so arriving to such a crisp, clean and natural enviroment was right up my alley.
I had read that the focal point of this natural and minimal space was the wood fired pizza oven but I couldn’t help but gravitate to a panoramic fire place that engulfed the blanc surroundings with warmth and I just so happened to be seated right next to it. The waitresses words to god’s ears!
After snapping every possible decor item in this picturesque space, heading out to the deck which overlooks over a dam of sorts and a meander through the herb garden which I’m sure gets used in the zen kitchen for everything and anything. I needed a Bordeaux, Shiraz, Port, espresso, morphine-anything to appease this mood both inside and out.
Surprisingly this carefully curated super vegan friendly space offers Italian branded Lavazza (a coffee I am not a fan of), and not a local organic, fairtrade option-husband and fellow owner Andrew loves it, i was told. Blady coffee snob, I happily opted for Tea and Sherry, the must haves when seated next to a roaring wood fire, I thought!
Both Andrew(an Omni) and Keri owners and patrons of Nomad live a Vegan Lifestyle a way of eating I am slowly trying to explore and understand. Knowledge is power-Thanks Tata Madiba. It was this reason and the lack of Vegan offerings that these two salt of the earth people wanted to create a space where friends and family could come have a glass of wine, reconnect and not have to rearrange the entire menu just to be able to have a meal to eat with loved ones.
The menu has an array of both vegan (Veggie) and Omnivore (non vegan folk) options. I consider my self a adventurous nomadic eater, in the sense that I will visit a new place and rather than order 2 or three courses, I have the waiter suggest 2 or three starts and I allow this to show me a variety and full offering of an eatery and of course, skill of the chef.
I was not prepared, nor enlightened enough for the journey i was to travel. Vegan, VEGAN butter and farm made bread arrived at my table something so inventive-you learn something new everyday. Delicious!
Two Vegan dishes:
Sweet potato gnocchi served with crispy greens, sweet potato crisps and tomato broth
Red quinoa falafel with pepper purée, confit cherry tomato, rocket and toasted pine nuts
Coming from Durban, I love falafel. With our high Indian and Muslim population the great use of spice and ancestral recipes passed down from generations meant these were perfectly made often unsurpassed. These moist morsels are really something I have missed since leaving home. Usually dense and stodgy, chef Marile Van Niekerk had my heart after my first bite into my medallions served with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate plumps. I honestly mistook the dish for a whole grain mustard fillet at first!
I couldn’t not try the West Coast Lobster tails served with lemon beurre blanc and garden greens. Traditional Beurre Blanc!? The chef honestly was just showing off, I could have simply had the green beans corseted in this emulsion and converted then and there.
After chatting with Keri and Andrew, Keri tried to convert me into a dessert loving person- I think I’d convert to being Vegan faster. Although I am not one for sweet things. This cheesecake was a vegan dish bedded on roasted mixed nut based and topped with blueberry compote. This sweet treat could very easily have passed for a full milk fat cream cheese based dish. A little more dense compared to a non-vegan option but still packed with flavour and not unbaringly sweet. Alas Keri did not succeed, still not my thing!
I could have lovingly got lost in a bottle of wine covered in a blanket whilst staring into the beautiful mountains just moments away from the deck outside. With accommodation on its way, I eagerly imagine rolling to my room after a delicious dinner and spend the night secluded in Stellenbosch. Now all I need is a border collie. Until the next vegan adventure, Nomad team, I thank you for your part in my nomadic food journey.
Nomad Restaurant Stellenbosch | Call: 0218652456 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Find: Previous Radish & Onsgenot, Next to Hartenberg | Bottelary Rd, Koelenhof,