There is something about the West Coast, it may be the untouched beauty or the quaint pockets of homes that make up small towns, what ever it may be…it’s incredibly humbling. Translated directly to “Long table on the dune” this is exactly what Isabella Niehaus has created. She invites you to join her at her home that she transforms for an afternoon of fine food, amazing wine and wonderful company.
Nestled in between the sandy dunes of Langebaan, there is a calming sensation that blows through the air, must be the permitting energy from the city folk finally relaxing.
If you are a familiar face at Isabella’s home you may pick up a knife and start helping in the kitchen, if you aren’t don’t worry…you will soon be captivated by her infectious smile and feel as though you grew up together. Isabella is one of the kindest people I have met in this impressionable industry of ours. So when I heard there would be another Langtafel, I couldn’t wait to join this widely spoken about occasion.
Familiar faces and some new ones that I had not recognised as most of us hide behind our Instagram and Twitter handles, it was a pleasure to meet some of the famous names. Sharing a passion for food is one thing but being in a room with various people who do and appreciate the work each of us do makes for an afternoon of compelling and contagious conversations as our energy bounces off the walls in the room.
Isabella has a particular modern and simplistic style that she has captured incredibly well in the home she build. With views of what seems to be the end of the earth, across the open shores of Saldanha Bay. This was me in the form of a house! Every detail, every picture, every corner had a particular warmth in the concrete interior that I enjoyed.
With stacks of plates for these occasions, family photographs and inspiring cook books, what more could a girl want?
Even her newest member of the family made us feel really comfortable…
A long table has always been a symbol of coming together and sharing in perfect harmony. Simultaneously enjoying a meal as we clink our glasses across to on another. With a spacious open plan kitchen flowing seamlessly into the entertaining area, you could see the steam from two or three pots on the go, oysters being shucked, bubbles being popped, the slicing of apples and the frying of vetkoek, a traditional South African bread that we enjoyed with bokkom butter (a small dried fish native to the West coast region.)
The bubbly was on ice and there was more than enough to flow around the room. On this particular occasion the owners of Black Eagle Breweries were there to showcase their incredible handcrafted selection of beers along with Isabella’s inspiring menu.
With a story behind each of the labels and never before flavour notes in a beer, Black Eagle has truly nailed the art of beer. With a beer for every palate it is truly remarkable to have a room of this size nod at each of the pairings. If you would like to read more about the art behind Black Eagle you can click the following link for more information: http://www.bebc.co.za/
Isabella as I should have known always had a trick or two up her sleeve having been at the forefront of hosting and entertaining for years, in the corner of her kitchen I heard music to my ears…oysters being shucked. Not just any Oysters, some as big as my hand and fresh from the West coast waters…I’m drooling!!!
It took two men to carry this spectacular platter of oysters out onto the patio and there it sat in all its glory. Completed with the traditional accompaniments, not a single detail was missed!
After enjoying a glass of bubbles, a few oysters and making a few new friends…the smell of freshly baked pie shells wafted through to the patio and it was calling my name. I had to pop back into the kitchen and see what was going on next.
Portioned vetkoek lay strewn across the floured counter and just next to it the first batch bubbled away in piping hot oil.
The most amazing thing about joining someone you look up to in the industry for a meal at their home, cooked by some of their most cherished friends is that you can feel love and passion pervade through the air.
As we took our seats, the freshly made steaming vetkoek piled onto a plate in front of us made for a traditional break bread with those around you type of moments.
With a few words from the Black Eagle Breweries team and an introduction into their pairing choices I snuck off to the kitchen to capture what the first coarse consisted of…WOW!
A mussel bobotie in a phyllo pastry shell with homemade cauliflower patties and a cucumber sambal.
And there it is…it was as delicious as gorgeously and thoughtful presented.
While the scraping of our knives and forks onto the plates indicated how the room enjoyed the starter, in the corner of the room was our lunch slowly baking to perfection.
Salt baked angel fish stuffed with aromatic herbs and a fresh garden salad topped with micro greens and edible flowers
One of my favourite inspiring foodies Yvette Jordaan, enjoying the second course.
If the fish looks like that when you are done with it…
Must have been an outstanding meal! IT WAS!!
Not long after the fresh aromatic herbs and the saltiness from the fish crust had left the air, the small of buttery roasted caramelised sweet potatoes wafted through the air bringing back even sweeter childhood memories.
Tomato roasted chicken drumlettes with caramelised sweet potato, buttery carrots and a fragrant green wintery salad
One by one everyone got up from the table, some to mingle, some to pour another glass of bubbles, some to enjoy a new pairing with the black eagles team and some like me, ventured into the kitchen to secretly loosen my belt buckle and witness what spectacular dish Isabella had up her sleeve next…
Kotie, a long time friend of Isabella had this course under control as she juggled the bright green apples ready to take on THE MASTER of all things apple pie…
And there it was..30 minutes later, a few glasses of bubbles, multiple laughs and stories shared…out of the oven…crispy apple pie…I am completely content with life right now!
As the afternoon of incredible food, new friends, deliciously paired beers and full tummies, we look over at the oyster shells of those that have dined before us and realise the one of a kind mark that Bella has on us all. Her friendship and humble nature add to the spectacle day.
Long live the Langebaan Langtafel!
Thank you Bella, your incredible team of long time friends and those around the table that share your love of food, wine and all things love…cheers!!!! We salute you.
If you would like to book for one of the upcoming Langtafel op die Duin events then you can click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Duinhuis/ or read more about it herehttp://www.isabellaniehaus.co.za/blog/2016/07/18/n-langtafel-op-n-duin/
I can’t wait to be back…