CELEBRATING HERITAGE & FOOD WITH CAPITEC AT MELKBOSSTRAND'S DAMHUIS RESTAURANT
The Insider SA dines at Melkbosstrand’s historical Damhuis, an award-winning coastal restaurant within one of South Africa’s oldest national monuments – an ideal summer outing for Capitec Scan to Pay users.
Melkbosstrand is one of the West Coast’s most picturesque and laid-back destinations, seeing holiday-goers and families flocking to its scenic beach over the festive break. But one building has been standing since long before tourists started flooding in. Housed inside a national monument dating back to the 1700s, the Damhuis Restaurant is a culinary hotspot within one of the oldest buildings in the country.
Executive chef and owner, Stefan Meintjes describes his home away from home. “Damhuis is a family-style restaurant. We try create our own niche. We do casual fine dining – it’s quality, locally-sourced produce cooked in a traditional way. We have 13 qualified chefs in the kitchen and the portions are decent. You’re not going to leave here hungry”.
Like every chef, opening the restaurant in 2009 was Stefan’s dream come true. In the process, he not only mastered his art of cheffing, but he learnt how to run a business. However, this achievement didn’t happen alone. “My biggest asset is my staff”, Stefan shares. “I’ve got guys here that’s been with me for 11 years. It’s like a family”.
And with a view of the ocean and a location seeped in history, what’s not to love? Stefan shares the 200-year-old stories of Damhuis, explaining, “It’s actually a national monument since the building was built in 1785. We wanted to tell a story of Damhuis and the people who lived here 200 years ago: the Brand family. They came from Woodstock to live in Melkbos and were one of the first people living inthe area. They built this house and had children and grandchildren here”.
Inside the cosy and intimate interior of Damhuis, you’ll find the results of six months of hard work and planning that it took to restore this historic site from ruins back to its former glory. Stefan reflects on the steady structure, saying, “The walls are almost a metre thick. It was made out of rock, cow dung, whale bones, and a bit of wood – whatever they could find in those days to build the premises”.
Naturally, Damhuis is named after the dam that used to be right in front of the house. Today, there is still lots of freshwater underground that’s used for irrigation and refined to drink. The underground water is also used to grow fresh herbs and produce, feeding into Damhuis’s philosophy of sustainability and respecting the history of the location.
With an abundance of seafood right on their doorstep, Damhuis keeps things fresh, local, and above all sustainable with a variety of classic dishes inspired by the history of the area. However, their diverse menu also specialises in many other local cuisines with one of their most popular dishes being the succulent pork belly, explains Damhuis chef, Hein Botha.
To truly celebrate their locally-inspired cuisine, Stefan and the Damhuis team put together a cookbook to showcase their favourite traditional, South African recipes. The cookbook shares Damhuis’s classic dishes while also it also telling the story of the Brand family and their journey being one of the first families in the small seaside town of Melkbosstrand.
The cookbook was created by Stefan along with the co-owners of Damhuis. Dirk Nagtegaal helped develop the recipes with Stefan, and the late Reinet Nagtegaal wrote the historical essays inside before she passed away in 2014.
At Damhuis, Stefan always make sure his guests and their meals are treated with a little extra love and nurtured with time. “We are patient about what we do here, it’s not just a job”.
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If you’re craving a coastal getaway this summer season and dine at Damhuis, Capitec clients are in luck. Scan to pay using Capitec’s banking app is a major leap in improving the way clients can transact, making it simpler, faster, and easier than ever to pay at Capitec merchants like Damhuis.
It’s the only banking app that allows you to scan to pay using major QR codes; Masterpass™, Snapscan and Zapper™! So there’s no need for multiple apps for QR payments anymore.
Stand a chance of winning a copy of the Damhuis Cookbook: Recipes and Memories of a Housevalued at R450 when you pay for your bill at Damhuis using scan to pay from the Capitec Bank app. Competition runs till the end of December. T&Cs apply.