Watch our video of Urs concocting his homemade herb vinaigrette
Story By Ron Swilling
With the understanding of exquisite food combinations accumuldate from years of experience, a heightened awareness of the senses and creative decorative skill, a meal prepared by Urs Gamma at Gathemann Restaurant can turn a food heathen into a believer and a meal into a religious experience.
Named after the original owner of the house, Heinrich Gathemann, who ran a transport business running ox wagons from coast to capital in the late nineteenth century, the restaurant was opened on the premises in 1986 and was operational for a year before Urs Gamma took it over. He found the correct balance of tastes enjoyed by his many and various diners, transforming cuisine into an art.
The menu he created keeps the character of European dishes but uses quality Namibian products – meat, game, fish and oysters – as the base for the meals. The Namibian game and beef he buys from surrounding farms. Namibian cheeses from Otjiwarongo, oysters from Walvis Bay and fresh fish from the Atlantic coast.
Over time, Urs, both owner and chef, has built up a Namibian network, buying products from small farms and suppliers spread across the country, many seasonal, their availability dependent on rainfall and weather. He uses unusual ingredients such as rosella from Tsumeb, related to the hibiscus flower and with a similar taste to cranberries, for a local rosella ice cream.
Organically grown citrus fruit, wild honey – its colour and taste varying with flowering trees – and passion fruit from Owambo are enjoyed at different times of the year.
When in season fresh Swakopmund asparagus are added to dishes, their unique taste absorbed from a ground rich in minerals. The fixed menu is complemented by daily and weekly specials, using seasonal items when they become available creating an authentic Namibian flavour.
Recipe text compiled by Marita van Rooyen
Amarula crème brûlée
Salad Platter Gathemann (also known as Salad Platter Hubertus, named after the saint of the hunters)
A colourful salad variation with a small game steak, mushrooms, and fruit.