In a world that demands so much of our energy, life often simply lacks a sprinkle of magic. Something to engage the senses and make you believe in the pure whimsy of the world again. We recently spent an evening in the magic-house that is Homespun by Matt. Here, the only boundaries are those of Matt’s imagination, as he carefully plates his creations for those who want to believe.
All things considered, food is food is food. For me, where the magic really happens, is in the presentation. There is reason why there lies so much truth in the saying, “we eat with our eyes first.” Being super-visual beings, we are indulging in our next meal with our eyes long before we lift the fork.
I recently received an invitation from the lovely Flora from Homespun by Matt for Tim and I to join them for dinner. Having never heard of this restaurant before, I was somewhat surprised when Google told me it’s right across the road from one of my local coffee shops. Humbly tucked away on the beachfront of Blouberg, I could never have imagined what lies inside the dark doors.
Homespun by Matt is the result of Matt Schreuder’s culinary journey across the globe. Whether he’s been flying high in the skyscrapers of Frankfurt, giving some stylin’ serving by the lake of Zurich or personally road-testing the delicacies of South East Asia, he’s drawn inspiration from all his experiences and has brought them back home.
As a part of our family in the travelling pop-up restaurant, Pret A Diner, Matt has had a huge advantage and insight into what’s unique about a dining experience.
Make sure you say hello to Matt personally because this is his passion and he’d love to hear from you. Reservations are open now. What are you waiting for? (https://www.homespunbymatt.co.za/)
The Tall Hedonist and I arrived at 18.00 on a Wednesday evening. We opened the doors and, as with any good magic show, there were drapes that hid the magic from plain sight. Once inside, I immediately felt myself fall in love with the rustic-chic space that was a playground for the eyes.
Homespun by Matt is classic with touches of industrial-chic and rustic rattan finishes. They have managed to incorporate recycled wood pallets with candle-drip bottles, copper piping, touches of leather, quirky bits of eye-candy, exposed rafters and elegant glassware to create a restaurant that is inviting, exciting and filled with whimsy. Heavy wrought iron chandeliers cast soft down-light onto the tables, whilst Victorian-style ornate mirrors and steam-punk inspired décor line the walls. Oh, how I loved every single bit of it.
I couldn’t get my camera out of my backpack fast enough, as Homespun by Matt is truly a feast for the senses. The photographer in me wanted to capture everything immediately, whilst the little hedonist in me simply wanted to indulge, sit back and take it all in.
We were shown to our table by the lovely team and we had a chat with Flora about the menus. The Tall Hedonist opted for their Heritage Menu, and I opted for the standard tasting menu, both paired with wine.
The Heritage menu special sadly came to an end on 31 October 2019, but I’m sure this will just whet your appetite for upcoming specials. The tasting menu is a standard feature on their menu (with or without wine pairing), as well as a full a la carte menu.
Once we decided on our courses, we were enticed with two ice cold cocktails – a Gin Fizz and the Hugo. The Hugo was deliciously different, mixed either with white wine or bubbly, depending on your mood. For me, the answer is always bubbles, regardless of the question.
Without giving away too much – I want to talk you through a few of the night’s highlights from both menus.
Designed around the Heritage month festivities, this menu was a celebration of everything #ProudlySouthAfrican. Playful, surprising and gorgeously indulgent, this was all your favourites reinvented with a twist of trickery.
Ostrich Potjie Soup
I basically begged Matt to please keep this exquisite starter on the menu as a permanent addition. Simmering on a miniature wood-fire doused in boerewors fat, sits a tiny pot of ostrich soup. When lit, you are immediately taken back to Sunday family braais by the smell of the fire. Oh, this dish is deliciously nostalgic and innovative, teasing your senses with kudu boerewors, chakalaka gel, samosa dip and mealie pap crisps. This dish was perfectly paired with Rietvallei’s Dark Cin Cinsault, which stood up boldly against the gamey meat.
Naartjie palate cleanser
Not often will I spend any time recounting the palate cleanser. We all know it’s a little scoop of fruity sorbet. Not at Homespun. Here, it’s an event. Combining naartjie sorbet with MCC, candied naartjie peel and electric daisy, this is a complete mind-bender. The electric daisy heightens your sense of taste and leaves you with a surreal full-mouth experience. Don’t know what an electric daisy is? Get Matt to come over to your table and explain it all.
The tasting menu is a showcase of Matt’s bag of magic tricks. You will be mesmerised by his creativity and jaw-dropping interpretations of the ordinary. A wine pairing comes highly recommended, as a lot of time and effort has been put into selecting the very best wines to complement his creations.
For the first course, I opted for the Caprese. This plate was everything I loved to eat: crunchy goat’s cheese, balsamic ice cream, beetroot duo and roasted cherry tomatoes. The attention to detail was incredible, and I probably stared at it a bit too long before reluctantly lifting my cutlery. But the mess of eating is half the experience.
Probably the dish of the evening, and one of Matt’s firsts. Deceptively simple, this dish is a brain-bender and a taste sensation at the same time. Presented as sushi, complete with pickled ginger and wasabi-infused kewpie mayo, these little beef bites are pure bliss. Add in the crunch factor with onion tempura and tone it down with a smooth caramelised onion pureé – it becomes an imaginative interpretation of what we thought we knew. This one was paired with a Rietvallei Chardonnay.
Matt Special 130gr
A lovely dish of seared beef fillet with all the trimmings, except, not as you would expect! With lashings of walnut crumb, fried capers and a gorgeously dark and salty ponzu reduction, I was simply blown away at how these elements work together to elevate the creamy Angus beef. Even more so when I paired the Springfield Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc with the red meat. It picked up the slight acidity of the smoked cherry tomatoes beautifully and added a fresh touch to the dish.
But there was more…
I couldn’t possibly list every dish we tasted that night, unless I indulge in writing a novella about our evening at Homespun. I’ll let my images do all the talking. I can, however, say that there was not a single course that we didn’t love with our whole hearts and souls, for each one came from Matt’s.
Matt turns everything on its head, in the best possible way. I felt as if I got a front-row seat at the magic show that night, but even though I watched very carefully, I simply couldn’t figure out how Matt was pulling rabbits from hats. We spent a good bit of time chatting to him about his inspiration, his passion, his future and past experiences. His creativity is endless, but so is his drive and ambition. His attention to detail is to be commended, and every plate leaves the kitchen looking like a work of art.
Having said that, his food is not just pretty – each dish has carefully been put together to create a showcase of texture, flavour, colour and a dash of nostalgia.
Homespun by Matt is an experience every Capetonian should afford themselves at some point. Be welcomed by his incredibly awesome team, who will envelop you with sincere warmth. Have a chat with Chef Josh about the magic they’re creating backstage, all from scratch. Let Matt indulge you with stories of his travels and his hunger for all things exciting.
Sit back for an evening and let yourself be swept up in the whimsy of food, leaving all the world’s stresses by the door. Because at Homespun, food is so much more than just a necessity for survival. It’s not simply about filling a gap; it’s about the full, magical, enchanting experience.
Thank you, Matt and team, for putting the whimsy back into food. Thank you for a night that filled me with inspiration, happiness and pure unadulterated joy!
Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.