We all crave the same thing from a restaurant, the good, the solid and the reliable, at a decent price. The place we can keep going back to because the food is always going to be of the same quality. Noop, located in the picturesque town of Paarl, is that restaurant and we’re glad we got the chance to experience it.
Noop came highly recommended, so the expectation was a tad bit higher. Paarl is known for their dutch-style, white-washed buildings framed by overextended trees and warm hospitality, and Noop fits in perfectly.
The decor is directly influenced by its location – old-world chic with red touches of eclecticity – the wooden floors have been restored to their former glory and paintings on the wall reiterate the era from which the heritage house belongs.
Besides the extensive menu, there are weekly blackboard specials which showcase the best of local ingredients. Owner and Head Chef Zian Oosthuizen is a firm believer of fresh first and buys local and sustainable produce.
Oosthuizen is also a master at striking the right balance between homely and lip-smackingly different. His plating techniques are immaculate and each dish is artistically presented.
Starters include homemade potato gnocchi, fresh Saldana mussels (which they are famous for), prawn tempura, pork belly and a tuna taco prepared with an asian dressing – which was choice of starter.
It was a delicate flavour, heighten with asian nuances, that couldn’t get any fresher, and the textural aspect was on point.
It took a while to consider options for a main meal – between the black board specials and the menu favourites – I eventually decided on a good old fashioned slow roasted deboned Karoo lamb neck served with a veggies, croquettes and fresh vegetables.
It was the right decision, the lamb was succulent, the jus rich and earthy and the veggies fresh and tender. An outstanding meal that smacked of a home cooked roast and flavours associated with comfort. Other main dishes include several meat options, I’ve heard the Noop fillet is the one to try, and the crisp roast half duck is another speciality not to miss. They guarantee fish of the highest quality so you could never go wrong with the pan fried line fish either.
Dessert was a display of the finest sweets South Africa has to offer – this is where my advantage of being a food reviewer kicks in – I get to sample little portions of everything to understand the offerings. It is impossible to choose a favourite between the sago pudding with homemade ice-cream, chocolate fondant or malva pudding with fresh custard – I suggest you get one of each and decide for yourself. The plating was reminiscent of a flower garden in bloom, a delicious idea beautifully executed.
Noop has a fully stocked bar on the second floor of the restaurant, and they cater for private functions in this elusive area as well. In the four years that the restaurant has been opened it has earned the reputation of excellent quality and consistency in the great cuisine they plate and serve.
Great. Reliable. Solid. A winning formula indeed.