Imagine a hundred little electric shocks pulsating across your tongue. Then a tingling sensation which stuns your senses into a trance-like state. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and the only place you can experience it is at a restaurant called Homespun by Matt in Table View.
The ingredient that sent my mind into a tailspin is called a szechuan flower and if you’ve never heard of it before you wouldn’t be the first. Native to Brazil, it is also known as an electric daisy or a buzz button, for good reason. The flower, once chewed, zaps your tongue causing increased salivation and a sensation which you are not sure you love or hate. It is used as a palate cleanser because of its power to dissolve all other flavours, and it is fascinating. Other uses include toothache and to ward off parasites.
For this intriguing experience, I will heaps tons of praise upon owner and Executive chef Matt Schreuder. He took my tastebuds to a place they have never been to before and this will be the topic of conversation for many dinner parties to come.
Very few menus have this power. The power to invite a patron to experience something rare and unconventional, at a price that is very affordable. This is what Schreuder wants his guests to enjoy, unique flavour combinations in a relaxed and intimate setting.
In a windy corner of the Cape known as Table View, you will find a street lined with bars, restaurants and take-aways. It is a holiday-makers paradise and a place Capetonians haunt on the weekend for the close proximity to the beach.
I walked straight past Homespun and then doubled back to find the entrance. It is the most unassuming restaurant I have dined at recently.
It is a random Thursday evening and Homespun is buzzing with chatter. Full restaurants are a sign of good things to come. You have the option of choosing between an à la carte menu or a tasting menu, don’t think twice, definitely opt for the tasting menu. The decor is minimal, hanging pendant lights are draped throughout with a few odds and ends from Matt’s travels which have found a space in the eatery. Candlelight pierces the dim lighting and the atmosphere is sultry. A fully-stocked bar stands at the far end of the restaurant and a significant wine selection is on display.
What can you expect from Homespun?
“Modern fusion gastronomy – mostly using french cooking methods to transform worldly ingredients. Our main influences are asian, african and european flavours. We focus on balance in flavours, textures and temperatures on the plate,” says Schreuder.
The first dish to make it’s way to our table on an exquisite piece of deadwood is pani puri, which is an Indian delicacy. A hollow crispy shell is filled with delicious asian -inspired goodness and fresh edamame. In one glorious bite, all the layered flavours and textures melt together.
The next dish quite literally came to life on my plate. A prawn dumpling topped with Katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes) is doused with a dashi broth which causes an effect that makes it look like the flakes are dancing on the plate. Clap along, you have to applaud the genius.
While some dishes taste better with the smoke and mirrors, this exceptional creation could stand all on it’s own. The sweet prawn meat, salty broth and pungent Katsuobushi create beautiful music together.
Each course left me waiting in anticipation for the next. The last ingredient I would ever expect to find in a samoosa is an oyster. And yet, there it was. The oyster was wrapped in warm crunchy pastry sitting on a creamy sauce beneath a gremolata, with a side of rooibos pearls, honey and citrus drops. I would never consider eating an oyster this way and that’s probably what was so unexpectedly unreal about this delicious dish.
Believe it or not, the best was yet to come. The first palate cleanser was a champagne sorbet with strawberry caviar. Smooth and refined, the caviar created bursts of flavour in each bite.
The next course was the Matt Special – a beef fillet with wasabi, a ponzu sauce, capers, walnuts and tomatoes. The beef was pink inside and seared on the outside. The smokey sauce, with a swipe of capers, and walnuts was big on flavours and ginormous on technique. Because that’s how you get to this stage of cooking, by masterfully understanding technique – Chef Matt has arrived and he is owning every single dish that he sends out of his kitchen. You are guaranteed something that you have never felt, or tasted before in a meal. Can you even begin to imagine how difficult achieving this is, especially in a city like Cape Town?
His foray into food started at the age of 12. “I have been working in a lot of different restaurants basically my whole life. The biggest inspiration and learning when it comes to food was my experience at a Michelin star restaurant pop up concept where every month we had to setup a new restaurant in a new city with a new michelin star chef from different places in the world,” he says.
At this point I was ready to have him autograph my menu as a keepsake. Then came the electric daisy. With the electrifying experience I caught a glimpse of what the chef tried to achieve with this restaurant and it all fell into place. This is his home and what he has spun it into is a web of unnatural experiences paired with incomparable combinations. That’s the beginning, the end and everything in-between Chef Matt’s explosion of flavours. It is incomparable.
In his very own words: “Homespun is all about all the things I discovered, experienced and enjoyed in my career put together to create my ultimate favourite restaurant.”
Dessert is an ode to South Africa – a milk tart with amarula cream and Tonka bean ice-cream. The sauce is silky and full of depth but not overpowering in the least. The ice cream is sweet and simple. Everything prepared is supremely self-confident.
There are so many reasons to love this very unique spot in Cape Town, the most authentic would be for the electrifying aspect. It truly is shocking, in every sense of the word, how great their food is.
Contact: 021 556 2824
Address: 3C Porterfield Road, 7441, Table View, Cape Town