If small is beautiful, then the Golden Palm is a veritable treasure of divine. The twenty-seater hole in the wall off one of Plett’s busiest courtyards is a total labour of love. Created and run by Plett local Chris Bosman, the Asian Steam Kitchen was inspired by recent travels, a love of people, and a need to create.
“The whole place was going to be white and gold,” says the chef. “But then we went to Bali and were blown away by how well restaurants and shops are fitted. People are really given an experience. It’s not just about good food and good service, it’s about really being immersed in the vision, being transported beyond yourself. If eating out is a treat and I believe it is, then it really needs to be a something special.”
Enter the shop and the wallpaper hits you bang in the middle of your forehead. A wild scene of tigers and toucans, frangipanis and delicious monsters, it sears in golds and greens, picking up the warm wooden tables (albeit there are only three) and the gold pressed bar. This is eccentric, it's wild and it works. Most likely because it is so small with immaculate attention to detail.
Also, the menu is miniscule with only three choices: dim sum, ramen or poke, each in three flavours. “I became really involved with dim sum a few years ago,” Chris explains. “Playing around with different flavours at home. I then discovered poke and it's just such a great dish – part salad, part sushi, all wholesome.”
Building constraints dictate a steam kitchen and whether it's the prawn dim sum or the spicy salmon bowl, all the dishes have a mix up of Asian with a hint of fusion, a bit of tropical and a lot of freshness making them simultaneously hearty, but easy. Simple, but laden with umami.
From the sourcing of Kewpie to the raw linen server aprons, nothing is left to chance and that can be uncommon in this part of the world. But then there are other things that really work here – excellent local ingredients. For instance, the tofu is hand made to order. The beef and chicken is grass fed and free range and the veggies naturally come from local farmers.
“I know that I'm able to offer the best of the best of local,” he says. And what about in season when the queues streak out the door? “I've worked out my capacity and when we're sold out, we're sold out,” he says. “Hopefully you'll come back the next day.”
As golden cats wave from the corners and bowl after bowl of poke goes out, it's clear The Golden Palm concept works and while for now it may be a mere thirty square metres in Plett, it's easy to envisage national expansion. Especially with a hashtag like #noodleinyourface.
“I've been really humbled by the reception,” adds Chris. “I just wanted to make a beautiful restaurant making beautiful food and to do what I love.”
10 Church St
Tel 060 485 7471