Destination Damhuis

History on a plate. Photos: Melkbos.net

History on a plate. Photos: Melkbos.net

A simple Sunday lunch became something else yesterday. It had to do with location, location, location, and in this case the location was the historic Damhuis restaurant in Beach Road, Melkbosstrand. Think whitewashed thatched roof building that has been lovingly preserved. And then stop thinking.

My friend nearly overthought his order but finally settled on the lamb shank. He had one qualm. Would it be – aah, fearsome thought – too small? Then it would not be worth it!

dam-13It was not a little lamb shank
But the friend calmed down when the lamb shank arrived looking more like two lamb shanks than one. And the humble veggie burger was a Mount Kilimanjaro amongst veggie burgers and pretty tasty too. But enough of the food talk. The Damhuis is a destination for yuppies and history buffs and ghost hunters. Built approximately around 1785 it is the oldest building in Melkbosstrand and its original use was a far cry from what it is now. It was used as a barn in which fish was cleaned, salted and dried.

And here’s a fascinating factoid
The walls contain chunks of whale bone – whales hunted hereabouts. One can only wish that these walls could talk because the Battle of Blaauwberg took place right in front of this building. But sadly walls are mute witnesses to history.

dam-14A battle and a drowning
We ate Sunday lunch in the part of the restaurant which is known as the Voorhuijs. It is home to a portrait that is charged with great emotion. Gladstone Sullivan, the artist, depicted the tragic drowning of one of the sons of the Damhuis’s first owners, Christiaan and Gesina Brand. I always make a beeline for this painting and peer at it – which is precisely what one has to do as it is dark and murky, as old paintings tend to be and sadly, rather unphotogenic, too.

History might not be everyone’s cuppa. Still, for me going to the Damhuis is a no-brainer. I get more than I order. I get a meal served with a seasoning of history and drama; and more than that I cannot ask.

dam-10 damhuis dam-12 dam-4 dam-7

 

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