Coetzee brings his signature take on fresh, farm-style cuisine, using ingredients sourced from Spier’s farm or suppliers with a similar approach to create nourishing, natural and delicious food.
MEET THE CHEF
Coetzee first found himself in a kitchen aged 16 when he started as trainee at Dunes, a family eatery in Hout Bay. He spent two years here learning the basics – such as the proper way to hold a knife – before getting a job in The Bay Hotel’s kitchen in Camps Bay – his first introduction to fine dining. The Cape Grace Hotel was next – he spent four years here working under the renowned Bruce Robertson as a sous chef.
Coetzee was the launch chef at Caveau, the much-loved restaurant in the heart of Cape Town, going on to launch its sibling restaurant at Josephine’s Mill in Newlands two years later. Changing the chalkboard menu every day, he emphasised seasonal produce, using a trusted network of small suppliers.
After a stint at andBeyond’s Ngorogoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, Coetzee opened the Alphen Boutique Hotel’s Le Belle Bakery – his last posting before being invited to join Spier.
“An introduction to food was the first time I found something in my life that I enjoyed. I began reading more about it, and ended up enjoying it even more – the more you learn, the more you love it, and the more you want to know.”
And so, while a lot of Coetzee’s knowledge has come from the countless hours in the kitchen, the books he’s read have also been hugely inspiring – particularly those which explain how dishes were invented or unpeel the traditions and cultural and emotional aspects of what’s on our plate. He cites Michel Roux’s Life is a Menu and Marco Pierre White’s autobiography, White Slave, as particular favourites.
TASTING THE EARTH
“At Eight we want to create memorable dishes. They embody simplicity and honesty, using the freshest, best quality ingredients. This is farm-style food, with an emphasis on natural flavours,” Coetzee says.
While the food is unpretentious, Coetzee believes presentation is still important – which is why there is more than just a hint of sophistication in even the most comforting of dishes.
Spier's land is farmed in a way that creates a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Coetzee has taken inspiration from this approach in his creation of a new, more expansive menu which will change once every two months - depending on what is available from Spier's vegetable garden where greens and veggies are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertiliser.
One of the new menu’s highlights is a meat tasting plate: sweetbread paté en croute, oxtail, roast beef, biltong, brisket, pickles, mustard and bread – all from grass-fed cattle reared on Spier’s pastures. The Spier farm also supplies the restaurant with tasty eggs laid by happy hens that scratch around freely in the fields; both the chickens and cattle are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones.
A BEAUTIFUL SPACE
Eight is not simply about food: the restaurant's décor embodies its ethos of balance, cycles, harmony and abundance. Artist Heath Nash was responsible for the impressive ceiling on the terrace, crafting its 10 000 individually crafted flowers which were made from recycled white plastic milk bottles, and lit with low voltage LEDs. The light fittings in the main part of the restaurant were made from recycled plastic bottles.
Eight is open Tuesday to Sunday for brunch from 10:00 – 12:00, lunch from 12:00 – 15:00, and tea from 15:00 – 16:30. From October, Eight will be open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is also available for private functions. Contact the reservations desk on 021 809 1100 to make an enquiry or booking.