As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with!
Here's Jessica from Tiny Oven Adventures with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!
A review of Nook Eatery
Their website says, "Nook is a cosy eatery in Stellenbosch offering light meals, pastries, cakes and daily specials.” Nook is situated on one of the oak-lined street of Stellenbosch with some tables on the sidewalk where you can enjoy the view and other tables inside the tiny colourful shop.
Why Nook? I have been following them on twitter for a while (drooling over their lunch specials) and fantasising about what I would have from the menu if I went there (it all looks so tasty!). The prices looked reasonable enough so it just had to be Nook.
For lunch, Nook has a daily lunch buffet that is priced according to weight; you pay R13 per 100g of food that you dish up. When I went to Nook for lunch, it was a sunny winters day and we got a tiny table outside overlooking the street. The buffet consisted of beef ragout with gremolata, roast garlic & herb potatoes, cauliflower cheese bake, organic bean & pea salad and organic lentil salad. I had the beef with the bean & pea salad as well as the lentil salad. The beef was very tender and flavourful and it was swimming in a thick dark sauce. The vegetables in the salads were still crunchy and fresh and not overcooked and, my word, was it tasty! I prefer my veggies on the crunchy side and it was refreshing to find them in a nice crispy state on my plate. The buffet worked out marvellously for me as I always find that restaurant portions are too large to finish in one sitting (I always end up with a doggy bag!). I wanted a cinnabon for dessert but to my great disappointment they were already sold out at 13h00, which leads me to…
The Cinnabon. I still had a craving for a cinnabon so I went and bought one the next day. Mere words cannot describe this tasty morsel sent from the heavens, so a photo will have to do.
This creation was like the result of an extreme gourmet makeover of the plain old cinnabon. The dough was light and buttery and pulled apart in light strands of doughy goodness (I believe it is called brioche). The centre of the cinnabon was saturated with a light caramel sauce that I mopped up with the other broken off pieces. Pure heaven I tell you.
At this moment this review sounds positively glowing, but I’m afraid that my experience was not quite that good. The location is beautiful, the food was amazing but the service did not quite measure up. In this case I was especially surprised by my experience at Nook, as I had read so many glowing reviews telling of the warm, homey experiences people have had there. I found the waiters cold and a bit unfriendly, and the staff behind the counter didn’t look like they knew what exactly to do with me. My lunch companion wasn’t too full of praise for the service either, she was pretty miffed about having to request a toothpick several times before someone brought it to us.
At this point in my review I felt that perhaps I didn’t have enough material on Nook to do a proper review, so I returned there again today for lunch. On the buffet menu was free range chicken pie, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, broccolini with sweet sesame dressing, organic chickpea & roast butternut salad and organic green apple waldorf salad with toasted pecan nuts & lemon crème fraiche dressing. I had a bit of everything.
The salads were great again, fresh and crunchy and yummy, but they were not the highlight of the meal… The gnocchi with wild mushrooms was a taste revelation; the delicate flavours of the mushrooms went perfectly with some lemon thyme. The gnocchi was firm and not too gummy and everything came together nicely with a thin creamy sauce. The chicken pie was very good, so good that I might even claim that it is the best chicken pie that I have had. I have no idea what went into that pie but the insides were moist, flavourful and had a hint of white wine that went very well with the chicken. Do yourself a favour and go have the chicken pie at Nook, you won’t regret it.
The service today was definitely better than last time, we all have off days and I guess that my first lunch just coincided with “one of those days”.
Overall, Nook is a great place to go eat in Stellenbosch and I would recommend it to anyone. What they might possibly lack in the service department they more than make up for with the fantastic fresh food that they have on offer.
I’ll end off the review with question to the readers; if a restaurant advertises on their website that they have a twitter feed, do you expect them to update the feed regularly and respond to tweets promptly?
To book at Nook Eatery
Phone: (021) 8877703
42 Van Ryneveld Street