New Cape Restaurants – Cape Town and The Cape Winelands, South Africa

New Cape Restaurants – Cape Town and The Cape Winelands, South Africa

This section is an update of new Cape Restaurants that I have tried, or want to try in Cape Town and the surrounding Cape wine regions.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive list – merely a list of what looks really exciting for this season.  We are blessed to live in Cape Town, a creative hub where new restaurants open all the time.   So here follows Pam’s list of the hottest openings of new restaurants in Cape Town & The Cape Winelands.

New Restaurants in Cape Town:

  1. Grub & Vine –  by Chef Matt Manning serves refined bistro-style fare, in a relaxed, contemporary space.   Grub & Vine’s seasonal menu changes regularly and the wine list features some of South Africa’s most respected producers.  “No-nonsense, good grub. Beautiful produce and honest cooking” – Chef Matt Manning.    After visiting for a multi course lunch – his philosophy caught the essence of his philosophy completely.   It was a celebration of freshness from start to finish.   I think what I enjoy has changed with age – I am over foams and over fiddled food – my body craves freshness – I love meals that have an abundance of fresh produce.   I like to eat real food that is freshly harvested.   I love food with flavour.   Matt met this brief on all levels.   At lunchtime one can order one course or do a mix of half courses to enjoy more flavours.
    Grub & Vine Summer Vegetable Salad
    Grub & VIne – Sea Bass, Burrata and Salsa Verde
    Yellowfin tuna nicoise salad
    Hake! The best hake dish I have ever tasted
    Lamb with naughty lamb fat potatoes!

    For dinners one needs to do a minimum of two courses.   Note that Matt has opened a hands on cooking studio upstairs.  He also has a private dining room that can be booked for dinners or parties – it can seat 20 people.   In the same block a wonderful wine bar has opened called Foggitt & Spronkel who offer wines from smaller estates by the glass or by the bottle.  This is a great addition to the city as we have a limited amount of wine bars!   Note Grub & Vine  is open for Xmas dinner, Xmas lunch & New Years eve.  Location – 103 Bree Street – city centre Cape Town (upstairs!).  Note that you can book online for dinner at Grub & Vine.   Dinner bookings are open from late afternoon for those who fancy and early dinner!

  2. Chef’s Studio -by Chef Matt Manning – location – upstairs from Grub & Vine.   Note Matt Manning is a well known Chef who has been offering interactive cooking lessons for years in Cape Town.  Finally he has his own hands on cooking kitchen to give classes.  To quote Matt: “The Chef’s Studio is a unique concept space located in the heart of Cape Town. We host interactive and experiential events for people who are as excited about what goes into creating a beautiful dish, as they are about eating it.   The Chef’s Studio sees guests exploring their cooking abilities under the guidance of a professional chef, before sitting down to indulge in a feast for the senses; a multiple course meal which showcases the best that fine dining has to offer.   Featuring custom-built workstations equipped with the latest cooking technology from Siemens, a communal table for social dining, as well as an elegant private dining room, guests can indulge in a one-of-a-kind experience while soaking in the ambience of the Mother City.   The venue has just been completed and is looking wonderful!   I will get a photo when I am next there!    Location 103 Bree Street Cape Town.   You can book on facebook or from their website
  3. Fyn – is one of the most exciting openings of the season – they opened on 1 December 2018.   Chef Peter Templehof brings over 20 years of experience to the new restaurant – Fyn – a contemporary inner city restaurant located on top of a building in Church Square.  Chef Peter is the owner and talented Chef behind  The Greenhouse, which is one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa.     The word Fyn means FINE in English – it could also be a shortened version of Fynbos – our indigenous cuisine.   The two pivotal team members in this venture will be  Executive Chef Ashley Moss (his head chef at The Greenhouse for 4 years) and Jennifer Huge (Former La Colombe Restaurant manager).    I loved my dining experience at Fyn!  The venue is gorgeous –  funky & contemporary in design.   The tables have no table cloths and no clutter.  They simply have your chopsticks on a plate.  Everything about it is sexy.    They started us off with a lovely glass of champagne in a wonderful old fashioned champagne glass – it felt so elegant.   The dinner is a tasting menu.   Price R975 for the food and you can opt to do the wine flight at R550.   The dishes were all delicious and each had was fun and innovative.   The service was warm, relaxed, friendly, knowledgeable and unobtrusive.   Perfect!  Our Italian friends commented on how lovely it was to have such a wonderful fine dining dinner in such a relaxed environment.   They loved the warm and friendly service.
    Watching the kitchen and the bottom floor of the restaurant from above

    Canapés from bento – Daikon maki & a white fish sushi
    Canapés from Bento – Prawn samosa and spicy chicken
    Squid Ramen, game fish, Quail with glazed eel & pickled cucumber……..all were delicious! I loved drinking the ramen from the bowl!

    This is a great new addition to the city!  I would highly recommend that you book it immediately for when you visit Cape Town.  They are now open for booking!  

  4. Riverine Rabbit – Young talented Chef Ash Heeger has closed down  Ash Restaurant  and has reinvented herself  (in the same venue) as Riverine Rabbit.    The new decor is much warmer and the lighting is  now really good!   Her focus is on fresh local ingredients and her signature style is to cook over hot coals in her Josper Oven.   The new restaurant offers a more fine dining feel to the meal – to me it feels like she is now really wanting to showcase her skills and show that she is one of the top chefs in the country.   The focus is on tasting menus – there is no a la carte menu.   Options range from 3 to 7 courses.    I tried out the new restaurant with a friend and we really enjoyed our evening at Ash.   The service was good, we were seated where we could watch Ash cooking – which is always a treat – the ambiance was lovely and the food was good.  
  5. Tjing Tjing – have completely re-invented themselves and gone Asian in a big way!   I love Asian – so this is my idea of heaven.   We popped in a few weeks ago to try out the casual Asian spot downstairs and to have a drink upstairs.   I LOVE the quirky decor downstairs.   It is so much fun.   We had a booth and in my normal style I just ordered a bunch of random goodies for us to share.   I loved every bite!   They initially told us that we were limited to either House White or House Red for the wine – I almost exited!  When I looked closely the House White was by David & Nadia – from the Swartland!   I love their wine!     This venue is called Tjing Tjing Torii – it is open from Tuesday to Saturday and does not take bookings.   On the middle level they have launched Tjing Tjing Momiji.   Everything is smarter on the middle level.  Lovely decor.  They are focusing Japanese tasting menus that can be paired with drinks.    I am so excited about this spot – I cannot wait to try it.   R795 for the tasting menu and an additional R395 to pair with drinks!   It is open for bookings from Thursday to Saturday night.   The third spot here is the rooftop bar – which is a great secret bar to know about in the city for summer.   (Located in the city bowl).  Closed Mondays
    Tjing Tjing – discerning house wine – David & Nadia from the Swartland!
    Tjing Tjing downstairs – Asian Streetfood
    Tjing Tjing downstairs Asian Street Food Restaurant
    Tjing Tjing middle floor – now doing fine dining Asian influenced tasting menus that look amazing! This is the seating for Tjing Tjing Momiji – which had not opened yet when we were there.
  6. Belly of the Beast – this is a new spot in the new emerging Eastside District of Cape Town – it is in Harrington Street – this is literally on the fringe of the city – being parallel to Buitenkant Street.  This hood has now become really cool as it is home to Harringtons, The Raptour Room, Lefty’s…New York Bagels, Naked Foods….and more!  Belly of The Beast is a great addition to the hood.   It is a beautifully decorated small restaurant that seats 20 people.   It is intimate and owned by two chefs who are friends.   They focus on nose to tail dining – so they aim to have a zero wastage kitchen.  They are however happy to accommodate vegetarians – but need to know in advance! This is definitely a tasting menu strategy – they however do not commit to how many courses they will feed you! Just book online and come and experience it for yourself.   I see they are fully booked already on quite a few nights!   I must get my booking in! OPEN SUNDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT – a rare thing to find in Cape Town!    
  7. TRUTH.  After Dark –  Desserts at Night.  Tuesday to Saturdays 6pm to midnight.   Ok – so we as a team admit it – “We are Kamal groupies”.   We literally have stalked and tasted every croissant, every pain au chocolat and every tart made by this talented French man’s hands.   Do you know that they have a hidden French person with ovens above the coffee roastery and cafe?   What do you do when your pastry chef and creator starts getting bored?   You create a platform for him to have the cafe for himself at night.   So Truth Cafe changes into TRUTH. After Dark from 6pm.   Come and explore some of Kamal and his teams wonderful creations, stay for a coffee or a drink and enjoy the vibe of the steam punk cafe at night!    Verdict – once again we as a team enjoyed every bite!
  8. The Art of Duplicity – Shhhhhhhhhhhhh – There is a new secret speakeasy in Cape Town’s emerging Eastside District (ie on Buitenkant Street!)  This is fun!  You have to book online to come for a drink – they are open from 6pm till late.   They have a wonderful assortment of cocktails – I love the creativity behind them and that many of them arrive wrapped in newspaper!  I loved the feeling of subterfuge – announcing ones arrival at the front – heading down coffee alley – sneaking in the back door through the loo and then the secret knock to get in.    I would recommend booking to sit in the lounge part as the chairs were really comfortable and we got to sit right next to the jazz singer.   I loved her performance.    Note that they have kept it simple – drinks, nuts and a charcuterie platter – this is not a dinner spot – plan it before or after dinner.   It would work well with a dinner at Belly of the Beast or Downtown Ramen one street down!   Note that the cocktails are pricey – but worth it!  Click here to book.  And please – do not tell others about it!   It is our secret!
  9. Bocca – has been sold to an Italian couple who are originally from Milan.   They have been working in the Bermuda for 10 years for a 5 star hotel.   They decided that they want to put down roots and open their own restaurant.   They chose Cape Town as they have family here and they love the climate here.   Interesting that they kept the name of the restaurant as Bocca as they have taken the venue – got a wonderful decorator in to spruce it up and have introduced changes to the menu.  Naturally it is still an Italian Restaurant.  I love the decor at the new Bocca – it is a really sexy restaurant – gorgeous!   The stand out dish was the pizza’s – you MUST have the pizza’s if you go.   The pizza’s are now only available in a small size – a pizzette as they call it- 16cm in size.   As such one would need to order a few!    I would encourage them to supersize them!  The pizza oven was brought in by the previous owners from Naples – and it makes a huge difference to the taste!  Note that they are now allowing bookings (in the past it was first come first served).    Note that this restaurant has an outside section for warm evenings.
  10. No Fixed Address – this is a quirky street food concept in a book shop – many of which have an Asian twist of flavours.  Truly quirky – it is located inside a fantastic second hand book store in the suburb of Observatory.   Everything I ate there had me licking my fingers (and the plate if they were not looking) and wanting to return for more!   No Fixed Address is owned by a local South African chef who lived in Vancouver in Canada for many years.   He felt homesick and this is his new venture here in Cape Town………………..track him down and find him – it is a great quirky spot.   The book shop had a passage and a back courtyard that has been changed into seating for his restaurant.       Note this is not a late night spot – so if you are heading for dinner – get there early and buy some drinks at the liquor store next door as they don’t have a liquor license yet (or bring your own).   In line with being quirky  –  they  do not have a website or a facebook page and his Instagram just mentions his catering company in Canada – it does however have pics of his yummy food in Cape Town!   76 Lower Main Road Observatory, Cape Town +27 73 070 5386 (across the road from Pancho’s)
  11. The Lawns at The Round House – this is the re-invented and relaunched spot that has replaced the Round House Rumbullion Lawns.   This is an outdoor restaurant located in a nature reserve – with sweeping views of Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles (side view of table mountain).   When the weather is perfect there can be no nicer spot to sit in the world.   They are open for breakfast, lunch, sundowners and for an early dinner.   They have revamped the tables, put down an artificial lawn on the one level – which looks great – added cute huts to serve the drinks.   We ordered pizzas – which were great.  The menu has expanded and has everything from a whole chicken to snack on through to ribs!    Book this for sundowners to meet up with friends at 17h30 and stay to watch the sunset!  Note they close at about 8pm.   This is an early evening spot!  
  12. The Commissary – This is defined under their “about us” on their facebook as –
    • Commissary – kɒmɪs(ə)ri/ noun –  a restaurant or food store in a military base, prison, or other institution.
    • What is it?   It is a little bit of a secret bar – perhaps sort of a speakeasy (but not a late night one) – it is for drinks and small dishes prepared and created by the top chef team that work and own the Shortmarket Club Next door.   They do not take bookings and are open in the evenings until about 22h30.   They are a night venue.   Find the secret door and light at 88 Shortmarket Street.   Here is a picture of the entrance for you to find it more easily – good luck!    
  13. Restaurant at The Nek – this takes the place of Harbour House at Constantia Nek.   Harbour House was not working so well away from the sea!  The Restaurant at the Nek is also part of the Life Brand Group – it represents their first dip into the fine dining restaurants.      I have been getting good feedback on Chef Dylan Laity’s dishes that he has been serving here. Background – ex-Round House, Aubergine and Michelin restaurant in London.     He looks like a talented chef and I am keen to try out the Restaurant at The Nek one day!   Note as per the theme of many of the restaurants this season – they have gone with tasting menu’s – one has to have a minimum of three courses.  (One can also do 5 or 8 courses).   So note – a visit is a commitment – this is NOT suitable for a quick lunch or dinner.   Below are a few pics from the restaurant from their website to give you an idea of the venue and Chef Dylan’s food.    Note that for summer they have an outside area with views over the vines of Constantia.   Southern Vines did a nice blog on their lunch there – check it out.
  14. The Shop (Seapoint area) –  they do real food – real portions and don’t overcomplicate things – what a unique proposition!  It is owned and run by a husband and wife team.   I love their summary on their website:   “We met at cooking school, 9 years later we got married.   We have both worked abroad, in restaurants and on the yachts- and now we have THE SHOP.
    Our food, is simple, tasty and uncomplicated.    We feel very strongly about where our food comes from choosing free range, green listed and sustainable produce where possible.
    On our menu you will find meat, fish and vegetarian options – a space for everyone.”   We went to try them out this week.   What a lovely warm couple – I can see them becoming the 2nd home to many Seapoint families who don’t feel like cooking. (They have taken the space that was Buzby’s – a legendary spot which is next to Clicks in Three Anchor Bay ie the start of the Seapoint main drag!)  It matched all my expectations based on my research above.   The food was good and wholesome.   I was however blown away by the warm welcome we got and their passion for what they are doing.   This spot has a lovely relaxed vibe.   It feels like you are at home.   The food is accessible and it is like having a foodie friend as a chef and he has cooked dinner for you. This is a great spot to catch up with a group of friends!      

    Kudu carpaccio with pinenuts and carrot puree – it was delicious!
  15. Salsify at The Round House –  The Round House has died – RIP The Round House!   Happily a new spot has opened – so the legendary fine dining meals at the Round House will continue!   The relaxed picnic lunches and early dinners on the lawns at the Round House Rumbullion Lawns have however been terminated (It was one of my favourite places in the city – so I am really sad about the closure).   Luke Dale Roberts, of The Test Kitchen Restaurant fame, has opened another restaurant – Salsify at The Roundhouse –  his 4th restaurant in Cape Town.   This one boasts a 7 course tasting menu – a definite theme for this season – you do however also have the option of doing a la carte.    Bookings will open on the 1st of the month at 08h30 for the upcoming month.    The menu looks fairly pricey for locals – but not too bad if you are spending dollars or euros!  Note a deposit is needed to secure the booking and a gratuity is automatically added to your bill – regardless of the size of the table.
  16. Riva Cape Town – new Italian fish restaurant in De Waterkant.   Love the decor – it is warm and welcoming……as are the Italian Chefs.   This is a joint venture being opened by the owner of True Italic (one of Cape Town’s favourite Italian Restaurants) – and a team of Italian chef friends.  Their description: “‘Two Italian chef’s & friends bring to Cape Town the flair of true Italian fish dishes.  From classic to modern & innovative plates that will just make you scream…Mamma Mia!!’”   We enjoyed a Burrata to start, then shared a variety of pasta and gnocci dishes – all of which were wonderful.   We also shared a fish platter – this we found to be quite pricey for what was offerered.   Our welcome to Riva was wonderfully warm.    We had friendly service,  met the chefs and had a lovely evening.        Location – 4 Napier Street, De Waterkant.   Book on Facebook messenger – they are super fast responders, call  021 418 0657,or email –  rivacapetown@gmail.com  Open Monday nights.
  17. Upper Bloem –  this one is still on my  “to try list”!!   I would recommend this one for anyone who is visiting South Africa who would like to enjoy a taste of local flavours, presented in a contemporary way, by a talented young chef.   This is a joint venture between Henry Vigar (owner of a local Cape Town favourite restaurant – La Mouette) and  his former Chef from La Mouette –  Andre Hill.   They have teamed up as partners to create a new restaurant called  Upper Bloem.    Andre brings his Cape Malay heritage into the kitchen.   As a partnership they bring both of their backgrounds, and the flavours of Cape Town, into the kitchen.   The menu is a set menu of 6 small tapas dishes for lunch (R250pps)  and 9 dishes small tapas dishes for dinner (R450pps).     Note that there is no a la carte menu.   From the picture below I feel like I can taste the flavours of the Cape spices.    Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.   Location – Greenpoint (10 minutes from the city).  (Note the pics used are from their website – and will be substituted once I get there to try them out!) 
  18. Table Seven – There are many sides to Table Seven!  Firstly this is perfect for a birthday party or a small work event – you can book a Chef’s Table of up to 20 people and they will design the menu and drinks around your interests.   This sounds like a fabulous option to have two wonderful chefs plan a great night for a foodie tribe!   Prospect 2 – they will be doing shared table evenings where you can book to join others for dinner (they are launching this next year!  Watch their facebook for details on dates that can be booked).    Prospect 3 is that they are a catering company and can also be booked to do private chef jobs.   Prospect 4 – they do lunch at their place – they have a simple chalk board that has a meat and a vegetarian option each day.   Check out their facebook – lunch looks fabulous – so I am going to head there for lunch in a weeks time and do some detective work!   Until then I have borrowed a pic from their website and they have also sent me a few pics!  The address for lunch is -Table SevenUnit C5, Salt Orchard,  Salt River.   Tel no (+27) 082 588 7804 (Chef Luke)
  19. Bao Down – owned by Phillipa and Graham Oldfield – Phillipa had a catering business and Graham is the former head chef for Chefs Warehouse in the city.    As the name indicates – they do Bao & Asian style street food with a western twist.   Chef Graham is a wonderfully talented Chef and every morsel melted in our mouths!   My recommendation is to go with some friends – that way you can order and taste the whole menu!   Note that ordering many small dishes does add up!   But it was worth every cent!   Yummmmmmmmmmmm.    Phillipa and Graham have done a wonderful job with the decor.   It is relaxed, quirky and fun.   I love the space they created.   Even better for us is that it is across the road from where we live!   So we will be happy Bao groupies forever!  Location – just above the city  – 3 Vredehoek Avenue (just below Muti Gallery) 
  20. The Gardens Collectors Club has replaced Chalk & Cork in Kloof Street – if you are into Craft beer and want to taste a great selection of local beers –  this is a great spot to head to! An added plus is that they have a wonderful courtyard for chilling.   An added plus is they do food – everything from snacks to pizza’s and burgers – so if you don’t end up going home – you can simply relax and spend the whole night here with your mates.   Crush magazine write an article on it  – click here.  I have not popped in yet.   I loved this spot when it was Chalk & Cork.   It looks like they have also got a good selection of local wines – so this may just be a crowd pleaser spot for a reasonably priced evening out!  Note that Kloof Street is rapidly becoming a hub for fun artisan spots.   If you are in in the area combine this spot with Cause Effect to have a second round of drinks/cocktails!
  21. Mecau Asian Tavern – has taken the place of Savoy Cabbage in the city.   It is owned by local restauranteur Seelan and the kitchen is headed up by Chef Kuan Lai (former head Chef of Thai restaurant Kitima).   Chef Kuan Lai worked in Mecau for a couple of years.   This is an Asian inspired Tavern & cocktail bar.   The location is in the inner city in the space where Savoy Cabbage was.   This is a great location – it is part of the old Heritage Square and as such the building dates back to 1771.   The walls of the Tavern are exposed so that you can see the old bricks.   They have done a fun revamp – it is amazing how much fun adding some hanging plants adds to a space!   I loved the ambiance here, quirky with nice music and very friendly staff.  We ordered a couple of dishes to share.  They were all great – but two out of the four dishes made me want to pause and lick the plate!  Delicious.   Highly recommended for a fun and delicious night out.   Note also open on  a SUNDAY for lunch & dinner.
    Mecau Talented Chefs at Work!
  22. NEW – Ding-Dong Tachinomi Bar  -is the latest offering by talented Chef Cheyne Morrisby (Owner of Cheynes/Shio/Lucky Bao).   It is a little Japanese hole in the wall bar offering small Japanese inspired dishes and cocktails.  Cheyne specializes in restaurants that offer Asian & Pacific rim inspired flavours.   I love the other three – so this is a must do for me!   Location – 47 Napier Street De Waterkant

NEW RESTAURANTS IN THE CAPE WINELANDS:

  1. The Long Table Restaurant at Haskell Wine Estate – the verdict – this may be one of my favourite soul retreats for summer.   I absolutely loved my visit!   This restaurant was an absolute favourite of mine as it has one of the prettiest locations – it is on a hill and you sit right next to the grape vines and enjoy a backdrop of dramatic mountains.     The chef that started the restaurant made accessible foodie dishes that made everyone who visited happy!   This spot closed about 3 years ago and had not returned to the estate since they closed the restaurant.   Imagine my delight yesterday to find that we had arrived on the first day of the launch of the new Chefs menu.   Who is the new chef – well………………….the head Chef of Babel at Babylonsoren has moved to the Long Table – Chef Cornelle Minie.    Her concept is small sharing plates.   Being used to harvesting products before service – she has asked Haskell to add to their vegetable garden so that she can continue this practice here.    She has simply divided the menu into “cold dishes” and “hot dishes”  and “desserts”.    Thank goodness we were a group of 7 and could simply order most of the menu and work our way through all of the flavours.    It was one of the most wonderful fresh flavour journeys.   None of the dishes were too complicated.   All were beautiful and felt like a mini celebration of summer.    We asked if we could meet Cornelle and she popped out to meet us.   What a lovely down to earth chef.    This may be my new favourite spot in the Cape Winelands!   Ps Locals also take note – as this spot has always attracted mainly locals they have kept the dishes well priced – so three small plates are R250.   Absolutely amazing value for money.         
  2. Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery at Spier Wine Estate – Stellenbosch – this is owned by Chef PJ Vadas – who is one of South Africa’s most talented chefs – yet the concept is extremely simple – great locally sourced produce – cooked really well. They focus on Smoked and BBQed meat.   If you are a carnivore with a sweet tooth – this spot is for you!   This is a group of friends working together.   They have a passion for sourcing the best local produce they can find – and that does all the way from the locally sourced meat and eggs from Farmer Angus on Spier through to the kombucha, the flour, the beer and the coffee.   The list of where they source their produce has been proudly included on their website.   This spot is family friendly and you sit out on the terrace under the trees.   This is the perfect spot to relax and unwind with a group of friends – I would advise you to order portions of meat and sides to share – that way you get to enjoy lots of different flavours!   This was my first visit since the spot had been the Hoghouse Smokehouse – it is now Vadas Smokehouse – not much changed  –  same Chef – perhaps the ownership structure changed!   Verdict – an absolute favourite chilled lunch spot for real food with real flavour!                         
  3. The Kraal Restaurant at Joostenberg Wine Estate – This is a very special spot.  It is only open on a Sunday for lunch and one has to book it in advance.   The concept is simple – a family Sunday lunch sourced from the farm (& the region) reflecting what is fresh and in season.   This spot has been created as a summer restaurant by the family who own Joostenberg Wine Estate.  It is a wonderful setting in an outside courtyard that was historically used to house the families animals! This lunch was a feast of seasonal freshness.  It is my favourite way of eating.   I believe there would have been enough food even is one has a fussy family member!   Below I have done a visual journey of our meal course by course.   However to see a little more check out – Drizzle & Dip Blog gives a wonderful taste of the lunch experience .   The cost is R360 per person for a 3 course menu featuring farm produce and recipes from childhood memories.               To book email: kraalrestaurant@joostenberg.co.za or call +27796411320            
    Starters – lots of freshness – leeks &  courgettes – yummmmmmmmmmmyyy  – this meal was a wonderful farm feast of freshness!   Note Susan’s mom grows roses – so every table has a beautiful rose!
    Pork Belly for our main dish – makes sense as the family are experts at Pork!    Delicious fresh sides from the farm
    Dessert if you have space!

    The seating is in the old animal kraal which is next to the wine cellar on the Joostenberg farm
  4. PROTÉGÉ  – the La Colombe team has taken over a second area at Le Quartier Franscais Hotel in Franschhoek and created a beautifully designed open plan area  for their new concept restaurant PROTÉGÉ.   The concept is relaxed fine dining where talented Chef Stephen Raaff offers a menu of small plate dishes.  The idea is to have 3 or 4 dishes per person and a dessert.   The prices look good and it feels like a wonderful spot to spend an entire afternoon with a group of friends!   I cannot wait to try this one out!  The photos below are courtesy of our guide Shelley who snuck in to check out this new spot while she was on tour! Note that this spot will also serve breakfast for the hotel guests and will be open for breakfast bookings outsiders.   Note that they are taking bookings for Xmas and New Year.            
  5. Eike is a great new addition to central Stellenbosch by top South African Chef Bertus Basson (owner of award winning Overture Restaurant).   This is a great addition for a number of reasons – firstly Stellenbosch town has a shortage of fine dining restaurants – so this one will fill the gap for foodies who are staying in Stellenbosch Town on holiday.   Secondly so many of our Chefs celebrate foreign cooking techniques – Chef Bertus has always drawn inspiration for his dishes from his Afrikaans upbringing.   His new restaurant focuses on offering a menu that celebrates our South African heritage.   The restaurant offers only tasting menus that will take you on a journey of local flavours.  The current cost for the tasting menu is R850 per person and the menu will change regularly based on what is fresh and the inspiration of the Chefs.  Here is a sample menu from this week to give you an idea:Menu 11th December 2018 Maize, Chakalaka, MorogoFlavours of Bobotie with Black BreamPrawn CocktailJam Biscuit & MilkOpsitkersRoosterkoek, Suurdeeg,Homemade ButterAn 80’s Office PartyCucumber, Amasi and PeaWest Coast MemoriesHarder, West Coast Umami, SeaweedSoutribbetjie, Sorghum, TurnipBraaied Springbok Loin,Rys, Vleis en Aardappels, Gem SquashBazaar PuddingPeachy, Just PeachyMelktert and KoeksisterMenu Price Per Person R 850It looks like such a fun menu!  I cannot wait to try Eike!   Open Tuesday to Saturday nights from 7pm.   50 Dorp Street Stellenbosch.   Book online (once on the website click Establishment and then Eike or email info@eikerestaurant.com
  6. Le Petite Manoir – is located on the main “drag” in Franschhoek.  It is combo of luxury guesthouse, deli and a fine dining establishment at night.   Visit in the evening to enjoy tasting menu prepared by award winning chef, Kevin Grobler, or to have a drink at their trendy bar.  Chef Kevin  previously lived and worked in Nice (France) for just under three years.  He was the Head Chef at  Michelin Star restaurant JAN (who to us is a rock star legendary South African Chef and the first South African chef to be given a Michelin star).    He has also worked at local restaurants such as Delaire Graff, Cavalli and Terroir.    I have not been to try this one yet as dining in Franschhoek at night requires a few night visits to Franschhoek!  So this one is on the list for my next overnight stay!    As you can see below – I have been stalking them during the daytime!  Closed on a Sunday night and a Monday.               
  7. Gåte at Quoin Rock opened early in December on one of my favourite wineries in Stellenbosch!   I was literally stalking the progress online!   The estate had been sold in 2012 and was closed to the public.   It is now high on my “hitlist” to experience their newly built wine tasting room and the much anticipated restaurant in the newly constructed premises.    It is not often that South Africa attracts rock star chefs and so as foodies this creates a wonderful sense of anticipation!   The reviews so far are all fabulous! Chef Rikku Ò’Donnchű has worked for Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz.   He is supported by a rock star team who have also worked at Michelin restaurants and some of the World’s top 50 Restaurants.  Dinner is a 16 course menu where the Chef matches his taste for the avante-garde with the freshest produce to create a wonderfully theatrical meal!  This sounds like such fun! I just need to find a guesthouse that I can book in close to the estate!   Open evenings Tuesday – Saturday and Sunday lunch.  Tasting menu – R1250 per person plus 12.5% gratuity.  For more info email –   info@gaterestaurant.co.za   Bookings are live on their website 

Cape Town New Openings from early 2018:

  1. Crofter’s Kitchen – shared table concept with a rock star Chef Nicky Gibbs in her gorgeous home in Noordhoek.   This is five course fine dining tasting menu paired with teas.   Her ingredients are “croftered” and foraged from her garden, the fynbos, the forests and the coast line.   Chef Nicky introduces each course and explains each dish and its ingredients.   We loved our visit to try out Crofter’s Kitchen.   Chef Nicky is a wonderfully warm and welcoming host.   Her home is contemporary and located on the side of the mountain in Noordhoek – as such one enjoys views of the ocean in the distance.    All of her dishes are plated in front of you and you are welcome to chat to her and her chef friend as they create each dish in front of you. The menu will change often to reflect seasonal ingredients.       This is a wonderful seasonal local flavour journey!  As she does not have a liquor license – one is welcome to bring one’s own wine along.    I would advise that one needs about 2.5 hours to work through the five courses!   Lunch is restricted to 16 people maximum.  So book and settle in for the afternoon!   Cost – R765 per person excluding gratuity.   One has to book and pay in advance.   Contact Chef Nicky to book – +27-837315208 or nickygibbs247@icloud.com 
  2. Bistrot PascaleClosed down already sadly.
  3. The Ceviche Bar Cape Town Closed down – sadly the building they were in in Woodstock has been sold – find the guys at Biscuit Mill Market on a Saturday.   They are going to keep their eyes open for a new venue for summer.  
  4. Chefs Table Cape Town – Shared social table for dinner in the home of a top Chef.   Chef Santi Louzán has opened his inner city apartment for dinners on a Wednesday & Thursday night.   The concept is a table of 16 that people come and share and have dinner prepared and plated in front of them.   Chef Santi acts as host and explains his inspiration behind each dish.   It is 7 courses paired with 5 wines for R850 per person.   We loved every second of our dinner with the charismatic Chef Santi.   To get a feel for our experience – check out my blog.    I have a feeling that this one is going to become a huge success – my advice would be to book early as they are going to fill up fast!  Note that the table can be booked for exclusive use on other nights – subject to Chef Santi’s availability.

New Cape Town Restaurants (and a few that are not so new – but worth not missing!): 

This section contains some that you may not have tried – so it is keeping the ones that are fairly new and those that are still new enough to be hot and must try spots!

  1. Bree Street has been the hot spot for restaurant closures in the last year.   This “hood” has transformed rapidly from business district to a haven of quirky artisan restaurants and bars.   It is upmarket and attracting the over the 30’s crowd.   As foodies, this is was the “go to” area to explore.   With the large number of openings and the hype and buzz on Bree Street – the rentals have been increased exponentially.    It seems like the rental agents have become extremely greedy – as such there have not been a steady increase of spots closing down on Bree Street.  We were so sad to see Culture Club Cheese shut its doors and move to the Southern Suburbs and recent casualties include Bacon on Bree, Hass Coffee, and Olami.   So the next new area that the restaurant openings will move to is Loop Street which is still quite undeveloped and is mostly a business district!   Some of the new spots on Bree that have opened:
    • So Cal Bar – this one is above Charango on middle Bree Street  – it is a California style bar with Californian style cuisine (ie Mexican influence).   The bar is light, bright and perfect for summer.   They are open on Friday and Saturday nights only.   The entrance is through Jarryd’s on 75 Church Street  – just off Bree!
    • The Botanical Bar (just off Bree on Longmarket Street) – wonderful artisanal gin bar – also have lovely light dishes for lunch or dinner.   They have a whole war dedicated to infusions and bitters that they have made themselves!   It is well worth a visit or a serious gin lover
    • Jarryd’s – Middle Bree – 75 Church Street – just off Bree – these are the Seapoint guys who have opened a second smaller branch – with very sexy decor.   This is a fabulous spot for breakfast or lunch in the city.   Jarryd’s do great simple dishes (awesomely delicious) – like Eggs Benedicts, earth rocking burgers and amazing salads.
    • Cabron –  fab hole in the wall tiny taqueria.   This one is fun.   The food was tasty and the little place is very vibey –  120 Bree Street
    • Gems that remain on Bree:
      • SeaBreeze Fish & Shell – our favourite for oysters and a great hook to table seafood bistro.
      • La Tête – Nose to tail restaurant by Chef Giles Edwards.  La Tete opened on lower Lower Bree Street in the city  and rapidly became a wonderful new part of the regenerating city’s food scene.  Lovely clean modern interior.  Talented Chef/owner.  We have had some wonderful dinners here!  It is advisable to pre-book by phone – +27 21 4181299 or email – info@latete.co.za. Closed on Sundays and Mondays NB Snout to tail dining including Pigs Tails and Sweetbreads (menu changes daily!) – note that the Chef will make a plan for any vegetarian friends/partners that you bring along – simply brief him when you are there (or when you book) and he will come up with options for you if there are limited options on the menu on the night that you go
      • Mulberry & Prince – Sexy spot with sexy decor.   Intimate.  Small plate concept of sharing dishes of interesting flavors.   They say it is “new American cuisine”  – I am not too sure what that means!  This spot is gorgeous and the dishes were all delicious.   I loved our visit there and would highly recommend it.  (Note it is slightly off Bree Street – so take a small detour into Pepper Street)
      • Love thy Neighbour – great little Beer Garden in the middle of the city.  Open for lunch and Dinner – serving  Greek inspired food – sourcing locally and organically where possible.   It has always been one of my favorite spots.  110 Bree Street.  Tip – this is still a beer garden – so have a drink here and then head to the Whisky Bar next door called Hanks.
  2. Loop Street is the next new hub in Cape Town – if offers cheaper rentals than Bree Street as this street was pretty undeveloped in the past.   It is such fun watching the city transform from a  business district to a space where we eat, live and play!   Openings on Loop Street include:
    • The Poke Co – a new healthy poke spot on Loop Street – the vision of Andrew Flanagan is to do good – be good to your body, source locally and from NGO’s.   Find your bowl of health at 90 Loop Street!  Open daily 11 to 21h30.
    • Wild Sprout Whole Food Cafe – all about healthy eating and happy to cater for everyone from vegans to gluten free diets.   Wonderful fresh and bright decor – a fabulous addition to upper Loop Street!   179 Loop Street.
    • Homage 1862 –  wonderful new addition to Loop Street!  It is all about freshness and flavour.   Gorgeous old building. I love the interior of this spot – great little hidden foodie gem on Loop Street.
    • House of H  –  112 Loop Street – loud, fun, funky combo of fresh eatery, with a barber,tattoo parlour and bar in one spot.    Chef Heinrich Koen (known as H) has been  cooking since age 13 and has worked with UK celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Aldo Zille.   He was also executive Chef of the Madam Zingara Group locally.   This spot is quirky – H presides over the small menu of great cuts of meats and the salad area – which feels like a market area at the back of the shop.   It is self service – get your card and then come through and chat to H about what you want to eat.   H is there to advise you and to show you the different cuts of meat that they can do on the grill for you.   The meat rocks, the burgers rock and so do the salad combos that you can chose.   Note that especially on weekends it gets really busy (and loud and fun) – so you do need to book.
    • The Village Idiot – 32 Loop Street – fun upmarket gastro pub – open in the evenings during the week & for lunch and dinner on Saturdays.
  3. Long Street now has more of a grungy feel and is attracting the youngsters.   There are however some legendary eating spots on the strip – such as South China Dim Sum.   Newest openings include:
    • Obi Restaurant– Papa San (a legendary sushi chef and famous for having had Minato Restaurant and for being in the Douglas Green Wine advert) has teamed up with a wonderful young chef Ben Bettendorf to open Obi in lower Long Street.  This is a great combo as both can work in the kitchen – which frees Papa San to come out and chat to his Cape Town fans!  We loved our visit to the restaurant – we were warmly welcomed by Ben and as we were early, we ordered the early bird special  – three courses including a Miso soup,  a lovely large plate of sushi and delicious ice creams to end (a scoop of a fancy green tea ice cream that was sublime!!!) .   Simple decor, warm welcome, honest Asian style food…….fantastic!
    • Moro Gelato – This is one to look out for – they are a local gelato producer that makes gelato that rock the rhubarb!   They are Woodstock based – which was hard for us city slickers to access in the past – so it is wonderful to have them as an outlet in the heart of Long Street!
  4. Shortmarket Street is home to some funky spots that have been opening there.  These include:
    • The House of Machines that has been open for some time – quirky combo of a cafe, a motor bike workshop where you can have your custom made motor bike designed and made, funky biking merchandise, a bar and a live music venue.
    • The Shortmarket Club – open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Chic and glam and well worth booking!  Joint venture between famous Chef Luke Dale Roberts, his wife Sandalene Roberts, Chef Wesley Randles (original Pot Luck Club Chef) and manager Simon Widdeson.  88 Shortmarket Street (note there is no sign – look for 88 – next door to The House of Machines! The sign is on the pavement)
    • Cafe Roux Sessions – This is the Noodhoek Cafe Roux that have opened a live revue bar featuring musicians and comedians.  You book online and head there for dinner and a live session.   The tickets are for the performance and all proceeds go to the musician/comedian.   Dinner/drinks are an additional cost on the evening.   It is a gorgeous intimate venue.  I love their decor.  Great addition to Shortmarket Street.
  5. St George’s Mall area – this is also a new hub of fun and fantastic offerings!  This is on the pedestrianized zone in the middle of the city – and a few spots close to it!
    • Free From EateryNEW –  the top of St George’s Mall near St George’s cathedral – this is the first restaurant of Chef Miles from Natal.   He is doing fun breakfast options and focusing on doing a harvest table for lunch that one can chose from – a variety of salads and a meat or fish of the day.   The focus is on freshness and food that is free from any additives.  His aim is to build up people from his community in his kitchen and the front of house.   As such be patient – everyone is being trained!   Opened October 2017.   We loved our visit to Free From.   Chef Miles is hands on and a wonderfully welcoming host!  Expect 100 degrees of passion!
    • ka pa tée  – Woweeeeeeee!  This spot is gorgeous.   Gorgeous decor.  Gorgeous items on sale.   Gorgeous tea’s  – and this is coming from a non-tea drinker.   I was blown away.   We met and chatted with the owner Bruno.   Bruno and his staff are very serious about tea.   They have been gathering tea from far and wide and have an amazing section of black, white, green, matcha and blends.   There is a great ceremony to making the tea with an amazing infuser – so when you order head to the counter to watch it being made.   Bruno will soon have an online store – so once you have tasted and fallen in love with the tea you will be able to order and have your tea delivered.   They also have the most wonderful assortment of healthy cakes – seriously healthy – most are gluten and sugar free.   All the cakes were amazing as were the teas.   I loved the energy of the space and of Bruno and his staff.   I could happily spend hours settled into his spot.   The location is just off St George’s mall in Church Street.   Walk down Church Street towards Adderley and you will find it on your right.
    • Hokey Poke – if you fancy a bowl of freshness – head to this little side street just off St George’s mall to experience the Hawaiian Poke bowls.   It is literally a hole in the wall spot – note it is in the same street as Ka Pa Tee – which is an insanely good tea bar – so pop in for tea after your poke!
  6. Church Square Area Cape Town – this is a very new little hub of restaurants that are opening on the fringe of the city behind the oldest Church/Slave Lodge area:
    • Kleinsky’s  – there seems to be a move towards all the Seapoint guys opening a branch in town – first Jarryd’s opened just off Heritage Square and now a small Kleinsky’s has opened.   This spot celebrates the owners Jewish heritage with contemporary delicious items.   Small and fabulous little spot for breakfasts and lunches.   Expect bagels, salads and some great sweet items like NY Cheesecake.
    • Manga  –  The second branch of Manga Cafe – from Mouille Point – has opened next door to Kleinsky’s on Church Square – great Japanese comic book decor and fresh Asian Eatery.  Quirky and cute spot.   We headed to try the sushi.   The first sushi dish we had was a complete taste sensation.   Sadly they put what tastes like a balsamic reduction on all their sushi – as such all the sushi dishes that followed all tasted the same.   We could not taste the difference between the tuna and the salmon.   Saying that – we enjoyed our visit – quirky little spot.   Loved the decor.
    • Fyn – fine dining just opened on this square!
  7. Kloof Street (just above the city)- one of the coolest hoods – this is now one of my favourite “hoods”  – it seems to be getting cooler every second and is definitely worth lots of time eating and drinking!
    • Yours Truly – wonderful bar and casual eatery.   Great coffee spot.   Young vibey and fun.  Also fun for drinks in the evening.  One comes for the vibe – not the liquor selection – which is a challenging offering for any wine lover as there is no choice!
    • Janse & Co – fine dining focusing on fresh seasonal ingredients – one champion ingredient per dish.  Wonderful chef adding a great new fine dining option to the hood
    • Cause Effect – New – see above – wonderful cocktail bar – these guys are alchemists!
    • Thali – Top Chef Liam Tomlin’s famous 8 course shared tasting menu with Indian inspired flavours – enjoyed while surrounded by Moroccan style decor
    • Unframed – quite simply the best ice cream in Cape Town
    • Publik– Kloof Nek Street – NEW location – fabulous hole in the wall wine bar
  8. Just Above the City:
    • The Stack – great old world charm, combined with contemporary decor and simple dishes done amazingly well.   They have just appointed a new Chef – so back on the to try list!
    • Yard Cape Town – who are legendary for their quirky decor and burgers – have now started making Pizzas and cocktails.   Be careful as the guys in the Waterfront have chosen to launch a restaurant by the same name.   These guys are on the edge of the city – NOT the Waterfront!
  9. De Waterkant:
    • Shio Contemporary Japanese – Chef Cheyne Morrsiby – is an amazingly talented chef.  Once he is on your radar – don’t miss his other two restaurants in Hout Bay!  Expect funky contemporary decor and a rocking taste bud experience.   Lots of flavours and spices – worth sharing everything to maximize the experience.   Great new intimate spot.   Loved our visit!
    • Lucky Bao – De Waterkant – opened mid October 2017 – we love Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s food – he has Cheyne’s in Hout Bay – which is focused on fine dining flavour packed dishes with Eastern flavours and his tiny little Lucky Bao bar in Hout Bay – this is more of a street food concept with simple dishes packed with flavours.   As such we are really excited to have a Lucky Bao opening on the edge of the city so that we don’t have to drive so far to get his delicious morsels!  It is located on the corner of  Napier and Jarvis in de Waterkant.
  10. Greenpoint:
    • NEW – Jason Bakery has opened a second branch in Greenpoint near Giovanni’s.   This one has more seating then the mother ship and is more of a sit down restaurant – note they do also do take aways!
  11. Seapoint:
    • Mojo Market – wonderful little food and shopping market – open 7 days a week – vibey and fun – well worth popping in for lunch or dinner!
    • Syriana – this one had been on my radar for a while – definitely want to get there – hearing good things about it!  Syrian Cuisine!
    • Three Wise Monkeys – funky little ramen and sushi restaurant – very vibey – and takes no bookings.
    • Sundoo Indian Tapas Bar  – funky Indian tapas restaurant with a great vibe.   I loved everything on the starter menu – so head there for drinks with friends and order an assortment.   Loved their mini bunny chows.   77 Regent Rd
    • For those with a sweet tooth – there are two gems on the strip – Crumbs and Cream (home of the cookie sandwich!) & My Sugar (insanely passionate chefs behind this one – a must visit!)
    • I am still loving Jarryd’s and Kleinsky’s.
  12. Constantia:
    • Foxcroft – La Colombe’s Chef has opened a slightly more casual – yet still fine dining restaurant in Constantia.  I think anything that the La Colombe team touch turns into a gourmet delight!   We loved our Sunday lunch here.   The only oddity is it is in a little mall at the entrance to Groot Constantia Wine Estate.   So when you sit outside you are literally sitting in the car park.   Don’t let that phase you – each dish is a taste sensation of note and I wanted to lick the plates!   Note this spot is now almost a year old – but it stays on the hot list for summer as it is fantastic!
    • Chefs Warehouse – Beau Constantia Estate – now a year old – but still a hot spot for summer 2018.   This is a great combo – one of the most beautiful estates in the Cape combined with one of the most talented chefs – Liam Tomlin – and jaw dropping views and then add delicious wine – perfection!!!  They ARE taking bookings  – a move away from his signature – No Bookings Taken!

New in the Cape Winelands

  1. Le Coin Francais – by talented Chef Darren Badenhorst – Newest spot to open in Franschhoek – From their website – The newest edition to the Franschhoek scene is a restaurant really and truly for Franschhoek. Both in concept and in name, the aptly named “Le coin Français” , which literally means Franschhoek, will embody the essence of the valley in heritage, cuisine, art and wine. It will feature cutting edge methods meeting time tested French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever evolving collaboration of art in the theme of photography.  I popped in to have a look – gorgeous decor – it simply feels grand as you walk in, with wonderful attention to detail and decor.  They are currently open for dinner – choice between a 6 or 8 course tasting menu which can be done with our without wine pairing.   This looks really good!
  2. Chef’s Warehouse at Maison – set to open on Maison Wine Estate in December 2017.   Famous Chef Liam Tomlin’s signature 8 tapas style dishes to share between two people
  3. Marigold in Franschhoek – Great to have Chef Vanie Padayachee back in the Franschhoek Valley to launch Marigold a North Indian Cuisine restaurant owned by Mr Singh of the Leeu Collection.   I cannot wait to try this one out – I have heard great reports!
  4. La Petite Colombe – has opened a fine dining restaurant at Le Quartier Franscais Hotel in Franschhoek.   This is the sister restaurant of La Colombe – as such expect fine dining tasting menus.   Expensive – but talented Chefs – so worth the investment if you are here and holidaying on US dollars or pounds!   For locals – perhaps wait for the winter specials!
  5. The Village Table BistroSeven Sisters Vineyards in Stellenbosch – this one looks like a gem and one I definitely want to try out.   The sisters come from Paternoster and had a difficult life.   Their Dad lost his job, they lost their home and were split up.   They have come together to buy and build their winery together.   The menu has some wonderful local dishes on it and the restaurant looks welcoming and cozy.   They proudly serve only their own and black owned wines!   They are located just off the Annandale Road – close to Spier!
  6. Reubens – Chef Reuben has moved to a new spot – he has bought his own building and has opened a fresh new restaurant in Franschhoek – just off the main drag.   The new venue is fresh and gorgeous – this will definitely be worth a try when I am next in Franschhoek!
  7. Hoghouse Brewing Company at Spier Wine Estate – closing down – the chef is going to open a new spot – it sounds similar to what was here – will update soon!
  8. The Deck at Hidden Valley – Newest offering by top South African Chef Bertus Basson – this is a very simple offering – a burger or fish and chips.    No bookings taken.  Fantastic venue – a deck overlooking the dam at Hidden Valley Wine Estate, on top of a mountain, with a sweeping view of the valley below.   We loved our visit to try it out.   Portion sizes are large – so we shared a portion of fish and chips.   This is traditional style deep fried Hake fish in the most wonderful light batter.   It was delicious.   The wines by the glass were limited to Deck White and Deck red – which were designed to go with the burger and the chips.   There were more options by the bottle.   I found the wine offering restrictive for a wine estate as I would happily have paid more to have had the option of tasting some of the estates top wines!  Note there is no inside seating – as such this is a great fair weather option!
  9. Faber at Avondale – in the Paarl Winelands Region.   This stays on the list as it is still a hot new opening for the Cape Winelands – note they have a new Chef.    Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved to La Motte!
  10. Orangerie at Le Lude Champers estate – fabulous small restaurant next to the new tasting room at Le Lude Estate.   Small conservatory style with wonderful light and small outside area.   This is a family owned estate – one daughter did the gorgeous decor and the other daughter cooks.   One can either do a tapas style platter with the champers tasting or stay for lunch at the Orangerie. Small delicious sounding menu!    Tip – this estate is walking distance from the centre of Franschhoek (15 minutes).  To book call +27 87 754 9925
  11. Foliage – Not so new anymore – but wonderful and not to be missed!  Chef Chris Erasmus has left La Motte and opened his own spot on the main road of Franschhoek.  The theme is to forage in the mountains for ingredients and to play with local ingredients.  As such the menu is short and will change regularly!  Chef Chris is full of passionate and great fun to chat to!!  Location- on the main road in Franschhoek opposite Le Quartier Franscais – 11 Hugeuenot Rd. Tel – 021 876 2328  Closed Tuesdays – open for lunch on all other days!  Closed for dinner Tues/Sunday night!