Roosterkoek and melktert

South African favourites at the Old Gaol in Swellendam

Roosterkoek, a braai staple, are literally ‘grill cakes’. To make them a ball of bread dough is cooked over hot coals to create a charred, smoky outside and a hot fluffy centre that begs for butter.

Fillings can be savoury or sweet, and here at the Old Gaol in Swellendam they’ve upped the game with gourmet toppings to make for a uniquely South African sandwich.

The restaurant is located in a historical house on Church Square. Directly opposite is the town’s Dutch Reformed church, and the stark, white building cuts an imposing silhouette against the purple backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains. We’re overlooking the restaurant’s garden; here there’s a collection of antique horse and ox-carts, a children’s playground, a traditional wood-fired oven, and even an antique store.

Rose hips curl on a vine above us, and it’s all very pastoral, and relaxing. Lunch comes quickly; we’ve both ordered the house specialty, of course. Our roosterkoeks come piled high with toppings: mine; salmon, capers, and rocket, while my partner has springbok carpaccio with glossy roasted vegetables.

The Old Gaol began as a private empowerment venture at the Drostdy Museum complex. The initiative employed four local women, who went on to own shares in the business. These days two of them, Charlene Mfundisi and Michelle Dyantyi, are the sole owners.

For dessert, we have the other house speciality, melktert or milk tart. It’s traditionally baked in a beaten copper pan, also over coals; the shortcrust pastry falls apart to my fork and makes delicious scaffolding for the delectably dreamy filling inside.

Huwelijk! And that’s Afrikaans for ‘it’s so delicious it’s heavenly.’

Words and photographs Malu

Idyllic Swellendam farm-style getaway, boutique wedding or big group stay with some unique experiences? Have a look at Rotterdam Guest Farm in Swellendam.

Plan on visiting soon? Check out our Swellendam overview for all you need to know.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with what's happening whats happening city. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a seven day weather forecast. 

Cafe Extrablatt buffetThis Sunday brunch could be your new ...

At Café Extrablatt there are waffles, omelettes, pastries, bacon, cereals ...

Cafe Extrablatt workingAll you can eat breakfast buffet every ...

A bottomless buffet, free wifi and a vibey shisha lounge at Café Extrablatt

Scootours Kids Birthday PartyKids party Fridays at Scootours at ...

Kids and friends race down mountain slopes on Monster Mountain Scooters

Divine Wine BoutiqueA guide to wine bar crawling

Free wine tastings, live jazz, pizza bagels + more

Ouzeri interiorTraditional Grecian tavern meets Cape ...

Ouzeri is bringing vacay vibes with Cypriot-Greek cuisine and wine

Paint PouringGet messy with paint and create ...

Pick your colours, pour them on a canvas and watch the magic happen

halaal-lamb-curry-cape-townDurban curry at this upmarket halaal ...

Lamb curry, lamb rogan josh, tiger prawn curry, butter chicken are specialties

Happy Boy Cafe Happy Boy, the street-food café in ...

Simple South African street food classics like vetkoek and Stoney

TRIVIA

image description

GiveawaysTravel Tips