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Meet Muse Restaurant’s Allan & Simoné Bezuidenhout

… an enduring love for food and each other

Gqeberha circa 2011. Two young students, Allan Bezuidenhout and Simoné Vosloo independently enrol at Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Nelson Mandela Bay campus. A few days later they find themselves in the same practical class and, while the mutual attraction is almost instant, it takes Bezuidenhout a few months to build up enough courage to ask Vosloo out on a date.

The couple graduate in 2012; Bezuidenhout takes Vosloo surfing, pulls an engagement ring from out of his wetsuit and proposes. A year later they get married.

Flash forward two years and after working in the corporate world and saving up their earnings, the Bezuidenhouts open their own restaurant which they name Muse, deriving as it does from another restaurant where they’d had their first date.

Says Allan: “The restaurant’s name was Amaze. We liked the short and impactful name and agreed that we wanted something similar. We chose Muse because it means inspiration to an artist. We, as chefs, are also artists with the plates as our canvas and the food as our paint.  Food is our inspiration.”

In an interview in 2018 the Bezuidenhouts were asked where they saw themselves in five years’ time and their answer was: “We’d love to have a bigger restaurant with an open kitchen.”

That goal is now a reality and Muse, having recently moved from its previous location on Richmond Hill to Main Road, Walmer, has now almost doubled its seating capacity and features a redesigned kitchen for easy flow.

Despite being as manic as ever, with various projects on the go, Allan found some time to answer a few questions:

Next year will be Muse’s 10-year anniversary. That’s an amazing run. How have you kept the momentum going?

Yes, next year Muse will be celebrating 10 years since its doors first opened. It’s been a real journey; I think we have kept evolving and learning as we have gone along. We’re always trying to improve our menu offerings to our guests and give them an unforgettable dining experience.

Tell us about your menu

We change the menu every six months. In the last few years we have started looking more closely at sustainability and local produce and we are now getting a lot of our goods from smaller farms and suppliers. We are also SASSI ambassadors and make use of green listed seafood only. When it comes to certain items we still make our own – things like ice cream, stock, pasta, sauces, yoghurt, cheese, flavoured oils and spice mixes.

What are your most popular dishes with customers?

Popular starters are the Beef Croquette with smoked paprika sauce, the Bone Marrow with parmesan crust and the Duck Samoosa with peanut slaw and plum sauce; for mains it’s the Smoked Pork Belly, which comes with bok choi, tender stem broccoli, sesame, red cabbage, chili and ginger and a maple jus, a Confit Duck Leg with black garlic risotto, veggies and juniper berry jus and the Muse Bowl with falafels, roasted vegetables, harissa quinoa, dukkah, seed crackers and yoghurt cheese, which is popular with vegetarians. Favourite desserts are the Deep Fried Cranberry and Almond Nougat with champagne jelly and rosewater ice cream and the Dark Chocolate Torte with whiskey caramel, paillette feuilletine and miso caramel ice cream. We also have a wide selection of salads, pasta dishes, curries, wraps and tacos and pizzas which are more popular with the lunchtime crowd.

You also have a range of tempting cocktails don’t you?

Yes, and part from the usuals like mojitos, margaritas, mimosas and Aperol spritzer, we have a Muse Surfer (spiced rum, orange and cranberry juice, soda, blue curaçao, lemon and mint), a Smoked Honey Old Fashioned (bourbon, smoked honey syrup, bitters) and a Paloma (tequila, lime, grapefruit, soda). We also have a good wine list with something for every palate.

How did you cope during the Covid lockdown?

It was tough, but we tried to stay busy testing recipes at home and honing our respective crafts. When we had the opportunity to start trading again – whether it was with frozen meals or takeaways, we jumped back in and cooked our hearts out.

Do you still split duties between you in the hot section and Simoné in pastries?

Yes we do. Simoné is also almost finished with her BSc degree in Dietetics which means she has a lot more to offer from a healthy food side.  She will continue to pursue a career in dietetics but also keep a close eye on Muse when it comes to standards and menu design.

Where do you see yourself in 2029?

That is a pretty good question! Currently, I have a great team at Muse and would love to free up some day time to do a bit of consulting. I will always want to be in the kitchen for the dinner service but would love to consult and have a small test kitchen to improve on recipes and dishes.

We heard that your loyalty to your old alma mater runs deep, and you often employ graduates from Capsicum Culinary Studio.

Yes, currently 75% of my staff are from Capsicum. They all did their industry placements with Muse and were employed fulltime thereafter. On a final note, Allan and Simoné say their ultimate dream is to be listed in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants. Let’s hope the judges of this prestigious competition read this, pay the restaurant a visit and make the Bezuidenhout’s dream come true!

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