It is always exciting when a brand new restaurant opens up in Franschhoek.
A small Japanese restaurant on the GlenWood vineyards opened its doors yesterday. Okamai is run by a South African who spent years in Japan studying the martial arts, particularly of the 16th century. There he fell in love with the traditional Japanese way of doing things. He has adopted a Japanese name Kiyomasu Deon Sensei.
Everything is authentic from his clothing to the Samurai movies playing in the corner to his explanations as to why one should always eat with your arm down. This way of eating is to make it more difficult for an assassin, with a long thin spike easily hidden in his robes, to murder one. The spike would go in from under the victim’s arm directly into his heart.
When the writer of this blog was a small boy that was the way they used to murder people on the over-crowded trains to Soweto on Friday’s pay-day when the weekly paid workers had cash. The Tsotsis used a sharpened bicycle spoke because it was silent and deadly and no one could see who had committed the crime.
The food at Okamai is wonderful and Sensei is a perfectionist. He insists on doing everything the authentic way and everything is prepared fresh, fresh, fresh and served in a traditional bento box. Wasabi should never be more than 3 hours old for instance. Much of his raw material is sourced from Japan. Since the Tsunami Japan has had difficulty in growing enough rice. Sensei buys it from Uruguay as the Japanese are now growing rice there.
GlenWood is already one of Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House’s favourite farms. It is splendidly situated, away from everywhere else, in the valley along the Robertsvlei La Motte dirt road. The wines are great and Alastair, the owner, and Nikki are passionate about the farm and the food and the wine and it shines through. D.P. the winemaker and Sensei and also their wives make up a wonderful team.Next time in Franschhoek make a visit to GlenWood. You will not regret it. Remember to book though. The restaurant is really small.