WHEN it is said an event is suitable for everyone, the Boerebraai at Middelvlei is what they mean. When we were there this past weekend, between all the “normal” guests, there was a group which appeared to be a bachelor’s party, with everyone dressed in shorts (some much shorter than others) and stripy socks, and at least one, maybe two, children’s parties. They move around a lot, so it’s hard to tell. From what we could gather, there was also an elderly lady wearing a sash, who was celebrating her birthday.
There was much singing, jollity and running around, as one would expect from small humans with a ball. At one point, the group of adult men thought it hilarious to tell one of their number (probably the groom-to-be, with the shortest shorts of all) that the minibus driving away was theirs, and he immediately took off across the pastures, leaping the fences, in a futile attempt to stop it, until he realised he’d been taken for a gat, his word. So yes, something entertaining for everyone.
Middelvlei, in Stellenbosch, has been owned and run by the Momberg family since 1919. I’m not sure how long the Boerebraai has been happening but this is my third one since 2019; it’s just as reliable as it’s ever been. Pinkie (pictured below) is the resident braai mistress, and she gets her fires going sometimes as early as 7am. There she keeps her logs and coals burning perfectly to first bake the potbrood, then grill the meat and braaibroodjies for all the guests, as they order. Her temperature control is impeccable, and the chops, wors and honey-mustard sosaties are just right. You get one of each, and can order extra if you’re still hungry. As someone who braais at home, I appreciate Pinkie’s skills, and it’s sommer lekker to have someone else do it for you, and do it well. I speak from the experience of overcooked and undercooked meat.
Along with the proteins, you get no-frills potato salad, a green salad, and pampoenpoffertjies. They call them pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters) on the menu but those are actually flat and use no raising agent, while these are balls, crisp and sugary on the outside, light and airy inside. The joy of sweet and savoury on one plate is truly South African. No traditional boerebraai would be complete without a broodjie.
As delicious as this all is, for me the highlight – and the reason I’d never dream of doing this low-carb – is the soft, spongy potbrood served as a starter. It comes with butter, jam, and smoked snoek pâté, and is a reason for living. My friend enjoyed hers with a wine tasting, while I just went straight for a glass of unwooded Chardonnay. Later, we got a bottle of Shiraz.
The Boerebraai experience includes boeretroos, for which there is no real English translation. It’s farmer plus comfort, which equals coffee that is hot, strong, milky and sweet – ideally with condensed milk. Dessert is malva pudding with ice cream, which is not included in the price, but is the ideal finishing touch. It’s autumn now, which means warm but not too hot days, and it’s pleasantly easy to linger in the gentle sunshine, sipping wine, chatting, and gazing at the cows doing cow things.
The braai is available Saturdays and Sundays 12pm to 3pm, and costs R265 per person. Children’s, low carb, and vegetarian options are available. Booking is essential: call 021 883-2565, email [email protected]
For more information, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©