I was in Cape Town for my birthday weekend two weekends ago, as those of you who follow me on Instagram know, and I had one of the best overall food experiences in the city to date. Now I wish I could take credit for this entire list but I had the guidance of the wonderful fellow foodie Mareli Basson who sent an email of her top picks in Cape Town. I threw in a few spots but have to say Thank you, thank you Mareli!
On this trip we made the conscious decision not to do my Cape Town usuals and absolute favourites; Hemelhuisj for brunch with a grapefruit gin and tonic and El Burro for Mexican and the best margaritas.
If you’re in Cape Town for 72 hours here’s our (Jozi Foodie Fix guided by Mareli) list because you can’t do everything but you sure can try. Tip: Go with someone; a parent, sibling, a lover, a friend because sharing is caring and you can eat more that way. We (the fiancé and I) shared almost everything!
72 HOURS IN CAPE TOWN ITINERARY
We flew SAA, because Voyager Miles, and landed at 09:40am then proceeded to have the worst rental car experience with Thrifty car hire because we missed the 12 hour cut off discount on rental with Discovery Vitality – we won’t do that again!
Brunch – Salma Hayek sandwich at Bacon on Bree
Lunch – Cheeseburger at Clarke’s an easy eating casual eatery, it’s American diner inspired with feminine Cape Town flair. We chose to sit at the counter so that we could watch our burger being made. This is a beef patty topped with just melting underberg cheese nestled between a croissant meets a classic burger bun. Once the burger is assembled it is lightly toasted and served with a side of tangy homemade pickles & rustic chips with skins. Warning: It’s DELICIOUS and drips!
Late afternoon drinks – Heart & Soul gin elixirs at The Gin Bar behind Honest Chocolate. Sitting in the courtyard looking up at the Parisian style balcony you could be excused for thinking you’re sitting under fairy lights in Europe. This was my favourite of the bars we visited. Note: Get there as close to 5pm as possible because it fills up quickly!
Dinner – Bao and a bowl of Shoyu ramen at Downtown Ramen upstairs at Lefty’s sit at the counter and watch the magic at work first hand. The ramen is a rich, slightly oily comforting broth filled with noodles, pork belly, scallions, chilli and a medium to soft boiled egg. The beer braised short rib bao lacked balance a bit too much spicy pickles drowned the rich short rib.
Live Music – Watching Felix Laband at his Deaf Safari album launch, at the New Space Theatre. An hour of my life that I will never get back with the colonial, offensive & racist images that accompanied his set – we walked out. Oh and man candy DA MP Tim Harris (my 1st year Economics tutor) was also in attendance. I do like the feel of the new space theatre on the other hand, which is in the same building as the 22Seven offices.
After dinner drinks – Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar for a substantial Gin selection and interesting Gin cocktail combinations. I tried the strawberry and coriander cocktail of the day which was surprisingly delicious, I’m going to try the combo at home. It may have been winter but I don’t buy the Mother’s Ruin hype – it’s a good spot but all the hype had me expecting more from an ambience perspective.
Breakfast – Doughssant and flat white from Jason’s Bakery because what else are you doing with your Saturday morning? The flavours change weekly but it’s guaranteed to be delicious. I had the Koeksister a delicious light coconut covered doughssant topped with a fragrant mini koeksister. Also don’t share the doughssant, you’ll want one all to yourself.
Coffee – Two cups from the rustic no fuss tiny coffee house Hout Bay Coffee. This was a recommendation from a friend of Bradley’s who flew to Cape Town to taste three cups of Hout Bay coffee. We took a sneaky doughssant along with us, for the drive.
Lunch – Tapas for two at Chef’s Warehouse Liam Tomlin’s gem on Bree Street serves seasonal tapas that changes daily, excites and delights. You’re seated on rows of high end canteen style tables circled by shelves of food products think jerk spice, array of globally sourced salt and of course a few Nomu products.
The menu is simple order from the deli or eat tapas for two at R420 (as at July 2015), but it’s well worth it! We each had a glass of the recommended red, and great find, the Scaramanga blend.The 1st round of tapas with three plates, then one plate followed by four plates – we were well sated! My favourites of the afternoon were the light fluffy polenta & mushrooms, most earthy, umami mushrooms. And the seasoned and cooked to perfection venison medallions served on a bed of tart, sweet yet savoury slow braised red cabbage. If you still have space there’s a dessert menu – we didn’t get to that, all we wanted was a lie down after lunch!
Coffee – A no sugar, like there’s no sugar in sight, espresso at the quirky, vintage, punk decor inspired Truth Coffee rated no 1 coffee shop in the world by the UK Telegraph (see the article here). Their house blend packs a punch oh and they only serve doubles – espresso that is!
Live Music – Straight No Chaser for intimate live music. We saw the pianist Bokani Dyer with the Swiss Quartet, the sound is amazing and the intimate space makes the artist really accessible.
Dinner – What Bradley (my fiancé) calls a spiritual experience sushi at Kyoto Garden Sushi warning it is easy to break the bank here. I have to admit although tough on the budget it’s the best sushi I’ve had. The precision of the cut of sashimi, the meticulous service and the speciality ginger and wasabi. We shared the medium sushi plate, chef’s special, a side of abalone and toro sashimi ended off with a warm dish called the saute. The saute is a platter of tofu, oysters, mushrooms, prawns and langoustines grilled to perfection.
After Dinner drinks – Door 221 on Bree Street, a laid back minimalist, dim lit bar with dope hip hop beats before midnight and their citrusy rum punch. It’s delicious!
Followed by home cooked Sunday lunch at my Uncle’s and dinner with friends.
Lunch – This was my birthday lunch and a treat, ended the weekend on the perfect high. Left Cape Town well pickled and fed by Bertus and the Overture team.
Overture has a spectacular view matched by the beautifully plated Modern South African cuisine. This is the food that truly moves me, the combinations of the familiar flavours uplifted with unexpected textures speaks to my food context. The Prawn and Pap with a peri peri seafood bisque is a thing of beauty well balanced, slightly spicy, sweet succulent prawns on top of house made mielie pap. A full Overture blog post is coming soon!
If we had more time or had planned better we would have also done the following:
- Late Friday after dinner bowl or dim sum snack at Beijing Opera for Yang’s good good
- Sunday brunch at Potluck Club (Talya has heard its a good deal)
- A slice at Bocca
- Nibble of cheese at Culture Club Cheese
- Hallelujah for their all female kitchen that serve up delectable lobster rolls, the BEST pisco sour & guava dessert
- Bagel at Max Bagels
- Bertus Basson at Spice Route for Tannie Hetta’s apple pie