Surfers make pretty good chefs. Allan Bezuidenhout, a regular Millers local, has just started his own restaurant in Stanley Street called Muse.
Popped past for supper last week and had a flipping lekker meal.
Fine dining without the associated pretentiousness or price tag. Kiff, tasty food from a menu that was off the beaten track. Also the kind of possie you can happily munch through 3 courses enjoying the taste-bud journey, without feeling prop-vol afterwards.
Caught up with Allan to find out more…
What was behind the idea of opening your own possie, Muse?
It has always been a dream of ours but we had to wait for the right spot to open up. (ML - Muse is located at the bottom end of the Stanley Street strip, under Two Olives)
What sort of food are you guys dishing up?
Classic comfort meals that have been modernized. We use the freshest produce we can find, and source from local suppliers as far as possible -the smaller okes who can guarantee quality.
What’s the inspiration behind how you cook?
Fresh and good quality produce. I love filleting a whole fish rather than buying it in already filleted. I enjoy making my own sauces and salts from scratch, and changing the menu every 3 months is very inspirational. You need to keep upp'ing your game.
Heard you were into foraging – hope that doesn’t mean we end up with some weeds outta the gutter on the plate!
HAHAHAHAHA, no, nothing from the gutter, but definitely from the valley and some stuff from the beach.
Anything that can be foraged down at the beach, so you have an excuse to come check the surf?
Ya, on my previous menu we had samphire, so I got to go to the beach quite regularly. We also make our own salt from the big blue, except if there is red tide. So get to check the surf but can't always paddle out which sucks.
(Samphire is a plant from the parsley family, which grows on rocks by the sea. Its aromatic fleshy leaves are sometimes eaten as a vegetable)
You make your own salt? How's that work?
The Salt making process is pretty simple. I look for a rock pool with lots of mussels cause they filter the water lekka. Then I take the water back to the kitchen where it gets strained a few times to get rid of any possible impurities.
From there is goes on to the stove at a low heat, so the water starts to evaporate and a crust of salt is formed at the top of the pot. I gently remove the crust and follow this process until all the water has evaporated. Then the crust of salt crystals gets dried under my salamander for a couple of hours and there you have it - home-made salt!
We incorporate herbs, chilli and all kinds of other produce to flavour it. The salt is lank potent so if you enjoy a pinch of salt on your food, with this you only use half the amount you normally would.
You’re into using fresh and organic ingredients, what’s the motivation behind that?
Flavour, I just think that you get the best flavours from fresh produce. It is also a respect thing for me - we need to respect and understand where food comes from.
Has running your own spot meant more or less time in the water?
Actually more time, but early morning surfs most of the time. I need to get to the suppliers by 09:00 to pick up my stock.
Ever come up with recipe idea’s whilst you’re out in the line-up?
Definitely, lots of inspiration out there. Once sat out at Millers looking at the reef, went back into the kitchen and recreated a complete edible reef! I made edible sand, with dried out prawn shells, oysters in shell for the rocky bit, deep fried nori seaweed and crayfish tail that was standing up to represent the plant life.
What would you say is your signature dish?
Currently I would say it is the Beef Short Rib, dehydrated vegetables, chipotle aioli and charred corn, but it changes all the time. We change our menu every 3 months to stick to seasonal produce.
You work together with your wife Simone. What aspect of the cooking is she in charge of?
She is in charge of all the desserts - She is a pastry chef and designs all the desserts on the menu.
(ML - and they are all-time! The chocolate ball thingy - officially known as a Choc-nut Sunday with twist, is a win. It comes with some hot chocci sauce on the side, which the waitress pours over the ball which melts the top half and exposes the ice cream inside it - neat, huh!)
She also does wedding cakes, novelty cakes, birthday cakes and sweety tables for weddings.
How’s the response been since you’re opened?
It has been really good. We have been blessed with lots of support.
Any words of advice to those out there wanting to own their own restaurant one day?
Have fun, stay humble and work hard at it. Things change daily so adapt.
Muse is located at 1b Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, and is open TUesday to Saturday from 12h00 - 22h00
The menu is seasonal and changes regularly. Download the current menu by clicking the link below:
Go support a fellow surfer, and have some kiff chow in the process! Cos admit it - you lekker hungry after looking at all those food pix!