I have written about Jacques Erasmus and Hemelhuijs before. Here and here. He is a close friend so it may be that I am biased but I am compelled to write about him again.
Hemelhuijs is one of my Happy Places. It is also a place that my mother adored and so I go there when I miss her. And I missed her on Thursday. As I do every day.
And so I ordered the mieliepap, served simply with orange blossom honey and salted butter.
When it arrived, I saw that my pap was served in a gold bowl from Jacques's latest homewear collection.
There are few things in this world more beautiful than mieliepap served in a gold bowl.
The warm porridge caused both the butter and the honey to melt in tiny rivulets that ran around the edges of the bowl.
Small gold streams were circling my porridge.
The taste was as I remembered: the mielipap of my childhood.
Warm sweet and salty.
I cried. Because of its familiar comfort. Because I longed for the one who had first made it for me. And because the dish was both opulent and honest. Complex in it's simplicity. Because this particular bowl of pap was both/and. As the most important things in my life most often are.
It is a sign of a great chef when the ingredients are more important than his ego.
It is a sign of a great artist when he sees the beauty of plain porridge and honours it with his gold.
It takes a great man to recognize the value of heritage and to love it so beautifully.
My friend Jacques is all three.
71 Waterkant Street, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 418 2042
Monday to Friday 9:00 – 16:00
Saturday 9:00 – 15:00
(I hesitated before posting this photo. It doesn't do the dish justice. Believe me, in real it surpasses anything you could imagine or see on a photo)