Taste the Cape – try a gourmet traditional South African Meal paired with Spice Route Wines in the Cape Winelands

Strangely enough in South Africa it is really hard to taste our local cuisine.   As such I challenge you as foodies to go searching for it………and believe me it won’t be easy!   Most of the cuisine is buried in peoples homes – and making friends with locals can take time!  Most people will leave our shores having experienced the most amazing fine dining restaurants and will leave pretty clueless about our cuisine and its influences.

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The local flavours are paired with iconic South African wines – chenin blanc, pinotage, Chakalaka (a term used for the spicy relish used in African cuisine and a great name for a spicy wine!) and a viognier which represents to me the entrepreneurial side of the owner of Spice Route who has been a pioneer in the wine industry.

The local flavours are paired with iconic South African wines – chenin blanc, pinotage, Chakalaka (a term used for the spicy relish used in African cuisine and a great name for a spicy wine!) and a viognier which represents to me the entrepreneurial side of the owner of Spice Route who has been a pioneer in the wine industry.

The local flavours are paired with iconic South African wines – chenin blanc, pinotage, Chakalaka (a term used for the spicy relish used in African cuisine and a great name for a spicy wine!) and a viognier which represents to me the entrepreneurial side of the owner of Spice Route who has been a pioneer in the wine industry.

One of our top Chefs in the country – Bertus Basson – realized that there is a gap in the market for those who wish to taste our local cuisine – and for those locals who are nostalgic to taste some of the flavours from their childhood.   As such at his restaurant on Spice Route Estate in Paarl he is now offering a three course South African flavours journey paired with the estates wines.

In order to get a better understanding of the influences of on our cuisine – check out the background article I wrote on South African Traditional Cuisine……………..while this does not give an exhaustive list it explains the influences into our cuisine …….from Indonesian, Indian, Dutch, indigenous people and English!

The tasting journey at Bertus Basson at Spice Route offers is a small feast that leads you through some of our most traditional flavours and influences.   Curry plays a big part in our cuisine – as does the influence of sweet and sour flavours.

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Starters at Bertus Basson’s Food & Wine Pairing Experience

Starters are an assortment of dishes including:

  • Vetkoek – literally meaning fat cake – it is a batter deep fried.   While this originally came from the Cape Malay community and was often served plain or filled with curry – it has become one of our most typical street foods across all cultures.   Here they serve them with apricot and almond butter…..a delicious gourmet version!
  • Pickled Fish – a traditional dish served at Easter in the Cape.   The fish is done with a  slightly sweet mild Cape Malay curry sauce and served cold.
  • A delicious salad with heirloom veg.
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A feast of local flavours!  The hard life of a tour guide!

I enjoyed the way they did the wine pairing.   The visit starts with a wine tasting of all four wines.   You are then advised to make your own mind up as to what will pair best with each item.   So as you taste a dish, you can then sample as to which wine works best with that dish……….and only your opinion matters!

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This picture shows the pickled fish in the top left hand corner.   I love pickled fish and never make it for myself!  What a treat to sample one of the nicest pickled fish dishes I have ever tried!

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The Cape Fusion Tours team all sampling the wines and doing the food and wine pairing!

Main Course – braised lamb babotie, with geel rys, pumpkin fritters, tomato sambal and chutney.   Lets help you deconstruct what that means!

Babotie is made from lamb.   In the old days when there was not refrigeration the farmer would kill a sheep on a Wednesday and then let it hang.   The insides were traditionally given to the slaves to eat and today tripe dishes are still part of the cuisine of the Cape Malay community (the decedents of the slaves).   On the weekend the farmer would have a nice leg of lamb, but by Monday the meat was starting to get a little ripe……….it was then minced and layers of spices added to cover the smell, it was combined with dried apricots and almonds and baked in the oven.   This was the birth of the dish babotie!  Never fear – we have come a long way since then – and we even have fridges now in Africa!  Today you will try a gourmet version.   This one uses slow cooked pulled lamb and it is beyond delicious!  This dish is traditionally served with “geel rys” meaning yellow rice.   The colour comes from adding turmeric and we often add raisins to the rice (back to sweet & sour!).   Another accompaniment is sambal – this is a simple mix of tomato and onion mixed with vinegar and sugar (more sweet & sour).    Babotie was developed in the kitchens of the Dutch by the Cape Malay community – as such it is passed down from generation to generation in both the Cape Malay and white Afrikaans community.   And then there is chutney to add to the flavour – South Africans LOVE chutney – this is usually made from apricots – however it can be made from any fruit!

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Babotie served in gorgeous small Le Creuset Pots (Did you know that Le Creuset is owned by a South African??)   with the yellow rice on the side and the pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters with cinnamon)

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My idea of heaven – all the dishes of my childhood.   My Mom always made us pumpkin fritters in the winter!

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Dessert – Cremora Tart with poached pear, vanilla crumble and vanilla ice cream.   Cremora is a coffee creamer used in South Africa and is a famous brand that most households kept in case you ran out of milk!

Thank you Spice Route for hosting the Cape Fusion Tours team.   We were lucky enough to be treated to lunch at Spice Route for a couple of reasons – firstly we think that Bertus Basson is one of the most talented chefs in the country,  we love his fine dining restaurant Overture…….and as such take people there all the time………and lastly we are huge champions of promoting local cuisine.    As such we started the first foodie walking tour of the city of Cape Town………..that focuses on the local and artisanal cuisine of the Cape.

Note that Bertus Basson at Spice Route will be changing the menu every couple of months – however – this blog aims to give you a taste of the types of dishes and experience you can expect when you visit!

Be sure to book before you go – book for the South African food and wine experience.

Cost: 

Currently a really reasonable R350 (excluding gratuity) for three courses paired with 4 wines!

To book:

Monday – Sunday : 08:30-16:00
Lunch: 11h30-16h00
Tel: 021 863 5222
E-mail: reservations@bertusbasson.com

Tip:

Spice Route Estate is an artisan playground of fun.   So do not plan to rush off after lunch.   Make sure you do the Bean to Bar chocolate tasting at DV Chocolates, the charcuterie tasting at Richard Bosman Meats and the Craft Beer Tasting at CBC.

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Posted in Cape Restaurants, Cape Town 4 Foodies and Wino's, Cape Winelands | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Foodbarn Studio

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The Foodbarn Studio overlooking Noordhoek from the mountain

TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL THEY GET THEIR LIQUOR LICENSE SORTED OUT

Ever since the closing of The Flagship there has been a gap for an intimate dining experience on the Cape Peninsula.   The Flagship was my idea of heaven – 5 courses paired with 5 wines by a passionate chef who introduced each course while you stared at him and the sea view.   As such I was terribly excited to receive a call from Chef Franck Dangereaux to hear about his latest venture – The Foodbarn Studio in collaboration with Chef Nicki Gibbs.  Each month they will collaborate to create a new five course menu that will be paired with five fabulous  top wines from top wine makers.   Their aim is to showcase some of the interesting wines coming out of the Cape.

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Karoo Lamb & Dried Apricot “en croute” paired with Tamboerskloof Shiraz (one of my favourites!)

Each lunch will be limited to a maximum of 25 people per day.   One should try to arrive around 1pm to enjoy the view and a welcome drink.  The location is a house on the mountain looking down onto Noordhoek below.  Lunch will kick off at around 1.30 and each course will be served at the same time to all the tables.   This will allow for Chef Nicki to do a short introduction on each dish and its wine pairing as it is served to you.

Their focus will be on local sourcing of the best seasonal ingredients they can find combined with using local artisanal products (e.g. they are roasting their own coffee at The Foodbarn!)

They will be open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch only – however there is flexibility to book for a group for lunch or dinner on other days subject to availability and the numbers of the group being large enough to make it worth their while!

The cost is R965 per person including everything …….welcome drink, 5 courses paired with 5 wines and the gratuity!

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Background on The Foodbarn and Chef Franck and Chef Nicki

A hidden gem on the Peninsula continues to be The Foodbarn owned by the extremely talented Chef Frank Dangereaux and his partner Pete De Bruin.   Chef Franck is the one that put the restaurant La Colombe on the international foodie radar by getting it to be rated as one of the Top 100 restaurants in the World…….and this at a time where South Africa was not really on the map for Foodies from around the world.    He later split off and started his own business  by buying what was essentially the road side farm shop in Noordhoek.   He started with simple lunches and selling fresh farm goods (and great baguettes!)………perhaps thinking that people would not drive all the way to Noordhoek for fine dining……….as a foodie I quickly followed – a great chef serving lunches for R60?   Amazing!!!!   The writing was on the wall and Franck and his partner  Pete De Bruin decided to start a fine dining spot and to split the deli and country lunch spot from each other.   Both have been firm favourites of mine forever!   I love the main Foodbarn for taking my guests for the most relaxed fine dining experience of their lives and the Deli for its buzz ,its delicious breakfast, its baguettes, its pies……….and its cakes.

Chef Nicki Gibbs is a rock star Chef – literally!   She has traveled the world as a private Chef  to famous bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.    Finally she is putting down her roots in one spot and has decided to settle down in the Cape and share her culinary delights with us everyday folk!

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Chef Nicky – The Rockstar Chef!

This promises to be a great new addition to Cape Town – two of our guides have been lucky enough to experience it and both raved about their experience!   I plan to put a booking in place soon to go and relax for an afternoon with a great group of foodie friends!   This promises to be a true Cape Town experience – slow dining with local slow food ingredients and a showcase of some of our best wines – I can’t wait!!!   Beyond excited by this new addition!  Scroll down to see more pics.

To book simply contact The Foodbarn on 021 789 1390 or email eat@thefoodbarnstudio.co.za

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The Foodbarn Studio – relaxing and enjoying lunch!

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Chef Franck entertaining the guests!

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A touch of Reverie with Chef Julia Hattingh – Reverie Social Table

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Chef Julia Hattingh with her social table in Obs

Reverie ………….a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.   A daydream………. a fantastic visionary

Chef Julia Hattingh has created a space where people will quite simply come together for dinner.   The table seats 18 people who will gather at this table d’hôte restaurant to relax, laugh, chat, interact and enjoy an evening where Chef Julia will send our her inspired creations for you to dissect, photograph, nibble and chat about with your neighbour.   Each night will be different as the Chef will create dishes based on what is fresh and what has inspired her that day.

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Fun table decor at Reverie Social Circle!

Reverie Social Table is the first business venture of the young talented Chef Julia Hattingh.   Julia studied to be a Chef at Meerendal Hospitality Academy – under the extremely talented Chefs David Higgs and Wade Van Der Merwe.   She worked for three years at Waterkloof Restaurant in the Winelands before heading off to Paris to work for a year at Lucas Carton.   On her return and up until June this year she was at Holden Manz Restaurant in Franschhoek.

Reverie Bar Counter

The bar counter and the area where Chef Julia will be plating the dishes for dinner

I cannot wait to come and experience Chef Julia’s new table d’hôte restaurant.   The spot she has chosen is lovely and condusive to an evening of great fun.   The long table has been made by a local to her exact specifications, the decor is quirky with funky lights hanging down from the ceiling.   I loved the distressed look of the bar and the felt really privileged to visit the spot while they were putting the finishing touches to Reverie.   The staff were practicing pouring the wine and everyone was gearing up to the launch on 1 October 2015.

Bookings will be simple – one simply books online at www.reverie.capetown

Staff practicing pouring the wine at Reverie

Practicing pouring the wine………..getting ready for the launch of Reverie on 1 October

The offering: 

The launch price will be R700 for  5 courses paired with 5 wines (tasting portions!).   Bookings are for the evenings – however if you have a group and would like to book to do it at another time – simply contact Chef Julia.  Contact details: julia@reverie.capetown or info@reverie.capetown  or+27 (21) 447 3219

Note that Reverie will be open as a coffee bar during the day with free WiFi – and Chef Julia will serve a dish of the day at lunchtimes.

I love the whole concept.  I love the warmth of Chef Julia.  I think I am already a groupie and it has not even opened yet!

Please put me in front of the queue – I plan to be there next month to enter my own state of  Reverie –  an evening of fun, wine, friends, laughter and a talented chef who will come out and chat and play with the guests………………what more could a foodie want?  A prefect formula for fun.  I cannot wait!

Some more links:  Facebook,  Instagram: reveriecapetown

Scroll down to see some wonderful photos of Reverie and Chef Julia’s food which were taken by Claire Gunn Photography.Reverie Social Table by Claire Gunn Photography print media (9)

 

Table with wine Claire Gunn Photography print media (27) lower resDinner shot Reverie Social Table by Claire Gunn Photography print media (12)Reverie Social Table by Claire Gunn Photography print media (5)

 

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Happy Days at The Flagship – a dining experience with Chef Duncan Doherty & a tribute to the founder Chef Bruce Robertson

Chef Bruce launches & loves his Table d'Hote in Scarborough

Chef Bruce launches & loves his Table d’Hote in Scarborough

It all started with an email saying that top South African Chef Bruce Robertson was launching a Table D’Hote in his home in Scarborough.  I googled it and found it was a dine at home concept – so I interpreted it as a dine at home restaurant and immediately released a blog saying that he was launching a new restaurant in Scarborough.  Little did I know the chaos that blog would unleash!  The mayor and the police turned up to check it out and to tell him he could not open a “restaurant” in Scarborough!  He invited them in and while they were sitting at the dining table having coffee he told them that they were sitting in the “restaurant” – he planned to offer home dining!  I received a call to say “please take down the blog!”  ……….and oddly enough this started our friendship!  I am a foodie and had of course followed him through his various restaurants, but only got to really know him when I become a devotee of his Table D’Hote!  Being a foodie guide I swung as many foodies past his door as I could!   Soon the space in Scarborough became too small and Bruce and his partner started looking for a new home where he could host up to 16 people for a five course lunch paired with wines.   Being on the sea the theme was always fish, the use of local ingredients and sustainability.  The magic of the concept was the interaction with the chef due to his plating everything in front of you and introducing each course.  It was truly Happy Days for the Boat House and the new Flagship.

Bruce entertaining his visitors at the Flagship

Bruce entertaining his visitors at the Flagship

Sadly Chef Bruce passed away a few weeks ago very suddenly.  The impact was felt across the Cape Town foodie fraternity as well as by his huge group of his friends.  The man touched so many people and was truly loved by so many.  He was the most energetic and vital person I knew.  Quite simply he was 10 tons of passion and someone who could not sit still.  I know deep in my heart that Bruce would have wanted his legacy to carry on and I can actually picture him toasting his friend Chef Duncan for stepping up to the plate.

Welcome Chef Duncan Doherty to The Flagship

Welcome Chef Duncan Doherty to The Flagship

The Flagship offers visitors the opportunity to book for a 5 course lunch paired with 5 wines prepared by top local chef Duncan Doherty.  Duncan brings with him many years of experience and his own signature style.  During lunch you have the opportunity to relax and either watch the sea views or watch Duncan preparing and plating all of the courses in front of you.  Chef Duncan welcomes you to take photos or ask questions or learn more about the stocks and sauces and ingredients while you are there.

Chef Duncan continues the tradition of a seafood theme - but is showing his Franschhoek roots by serving the trout!

Chef Duncan continues the tradition of a seafood theme – but is showing his Franschhoek roots by serving the trout!

The last time I saw Chef Duncan was when he owned and cooked at his bistro called  Cotage Fromage in the Franschhoek valley.   It was always a favourite of mine.  Over the years he has had his thumb in a number of local Franschhoek restaurants.  He hails from Franschhoek ………..but if you dig further back, he departed from England 20 years ago and headed for our sunshine!  Never to return!

Chef Duncan introducing the Trout course at the Flagship

Chef Duncan introducing the Trout course at the Flagship

Duncan brings with him his own style of cooking, his passion for sustainability and fresh ingredients and a fabulous sense of humour!!

Locally sourced cheese from Ocean View

Locally sourced cheese from Ocean View

I am looking forward to many more lunches at the Flagship this summer!  I loved my experience there with Chef Duncan Doherty.  Happy Days Duncan.  I wish you lots and lots of hours of happy creativity in the kitchen at The Flagship.

To book you can either see live availability online.  To go to the website click here or Email: reservations@capeflagship.com  Tel: +27 21 786 1700

Note you can also check yourself into The Flagship – they have four gorgeous room downstairs.  This is the perfect place to Eat, Stay & Play.

NOTE THE FLAGSHIP CLOSed DOWN END APRIL 2016 – they were renting the property and sadly the owners gave them notice.   It is the end of an amazing foodie experience and Bruce’s legend. We miss you Bruce and hope you are having “happy days” in the skies above us.

The Flaghsip - Eat, Stay & Play....... a great idea for a staycation for us locals - beats drinking & driving!

The Flaghsip – Eat, Stay & Play……. a great idea for a staycation for us locals – beats drinking & driving!

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New Hip Zones in Cape Town – Bree Street

andUnion Bar

andUnion – fab spot to enjoy craft beer, boutique wines & light gourmet delights!

Cape Town is a creative hub and with the artists come artisans who are channeling their creativity into the food and entertainment world.  This creativity is best felt and experienced by exploring areas of the inner city and its fringe areas e.g. – Bo-Kaap, De Waterkant and Woodstock.  

The trend over the last few years has been a return to artisan roots and to support the smaller local artisanal businesses.   There is a very public shift away from big brands eg Illy Coffee, versus Cape Town artisanal roasted coffee eg Origin/Deluxe/Truth/Haas.  In addition the recession has meant that there have been less of a focus on opulence and as such fine dining establishments have struggled and many have closed.  Naturally chefs are not opening new fine dining establishments – they are opting for smaller quirky spots with a focus on quirky and artisan sourced food and drinks.  Another big buzz is (finally) the rise of craft beer in South Africa.  For years the market was dominated by one big company which made sure they kept the monopoly and as such there was no space in the market for craft beer.

To get your first taste for some of the trends happening in Cape Town, I would recommend you start at one end of Bree Street and work your way down the street as far as the intersection of Bree with Strand Street.    Bree Street is the local new hotspot for creative business openings and offers a wide variety of quirky and interesting spots

Bree Street, City Centre Cape Town:

Sababa – Picture some of the most beautiful salads with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences.  This spot is tiny, quirky and delicious with gorgeous white interiors.  You can either squish inside or sit out on the pavement and watch the world go by.  The food is delightfully fresh and the flavours rock my world.  These are truly talented foodies who understand that simplicity works.  231 Bree Street. http://sababa.withtank.com

Kirsten Goss and Missibaba Store Bree Street

Kirsten Goss and Missibaba – These are two local South African companies producing really great locally designed products.  They share a shop space.  Missibaba is a community empowerment project creating trendy bags ( http://www.missibaba.com) and Kirsten Goss designs and produces jewelry locally in Natal ( http://www.kirstengoss.com) 229 Bree Street

Orphanage –  This is a quirky, fun upmarket bar that boasts a restaurant and a club.  They are located on the corner of Orphanage and Bree Street – make sure you order the cocktail that gives a R15 contribution to a local orphanage.  This is open from 5pm onwards.  227 Bree Street http://www.theorphanage.co.za

Skinny Laminx – for those that are into looking for local textiles while traveling this spot is a must include while visiting Cape Town.  Started by Heather Moore as a hobby, her fabrics are now sort after around the world and are available in stores in South Africa through to New York.  http://skinnylaminx.com/shop/ 201 Bree Street

Jason - The Hatch

Jason – quirky artisan bakery where you order from the hatch

Jason – this is a cult following bakery.  People flock here for the sandwiches and the coffee and to stock up with bread.  It is also a favourite of mine for people watching.  People sit along the pavement and you need to know that there is no service – you simply order from the hatch.   He works closely with other artisan producers such as Franky Fenner Meats and there is a great synergy between the two businesses.  To find out updates on what is happening at Jason you need to follow him on twitter.  185 Bree Street. http://jasonbakery.com (open daytime only)

Clarke's

Clarke’s – quirky bar with great burgers

Clarke’s  bar & dining- This spot is quirky, it is hip and it has become a local hangout for the trendy 20 somethings in Cape Town.  It started life as a burger bar that cared about where its meat was coming from – everything is free range and they can track the source.  The burgers remain an insanely good option.  They have however added to it – with fab pulled pork sandwiches, Caesar salads and in fact a fairly large menu!   It has become a spot to meet up with friends for a real value for money delicious dinner and drinks and is a funky and fun hangout at night.  133 Bree Street.  http://clarkesdining.co.za  Another trend in Cape Town is the rise of Food Trucks.  Clarke’s food can also be found in their food truck which is always at the Biscuit Mill on a Saturday morning.  Unfortunately we still have archaic legislation that makes it hard for them to simply pop up and operate.  As such to track the Cape Town food trucks one needs to follow where they are on the Food Truck facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cape-Town-Food-Trucks/424139807602526

Birds Boutique Cafe

Birds Boutique Cafe

Bird Boutique Café – Chef owned restaurants seem to always offer a taste of love on the plate and Bird’s is no exception.  Here Chefs Leigh and Kevin offer delicious well priced dishes in a simple café style setting.  Well worth popping in.  Open Tues – Sat daytime and Wed – Fri evenings.  127 Bree Street https://www.facebook.com/BirdsCafe

Lucky Fish – this is the new baby of Lucky Fish from Kalk Bay Harbour, which is an award winning fish and chip shop.  The concept is very simple.  Excellent good old fashioned fish and chips using the freshest fish direct from the Kalk Bay Harbour.  Note at this stage they have no liquor license – but they are in the process of applying for one.  120 Bree Street https://www.facebook.com/LuckyfishandChips

Frankie Fenners Meat Market  during the day - and backdrop for Publik Wine bar at night

Frankie Fenners Meat Market during the day – and backdrop for Publik Wine bar at night

Frankie Fenners Meat Market

Frankie Fenner serves a different tartare each day and one or two other light meal options

Fab to sit at Publik in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and a charcuterie platter

Fab to sit at Publik in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and a charcuterie platter

SMALL DETOUR: Frankie Fenner Meat Market & Publik – TURN LEFT INTO CHURCH STREET – Frankie Fenner was one of the top food bloggers in Cape Town who decided to begin researching where our meat was actually coming from.  On his journey around the country he visited a large number of farms and searched for the happy cows and happy piggies and happy sheep.  His gut told him that people were looking for the answers too and as such he launched a small outlet where you could order his happy meat online and fetch it from his little outlet on Kloof Street.  The little outlet was inundated with visitors and the local chefs started to proudly state on their menu’s – Frankie Fenner meats – a new brand had been born.  Due to demand Frankie has moved to a larger premises and now shares premises with a wine bar called Publik that offers a different wine list each week so that you can have the opportunity to try some of our more artisanal and interesting wines.  Picture sitting in a butchery with a backdrop of swinging meat carcasses sipping your wine and enjoying your charcuterie platter.  Mad and Quirky.  Do not take your vegetarian friends for drinks.  Frankie Fenner is open during the day and publik is open from late afternoon (note closed on Weekends!).  81 Church Street http://www.ffmm.co.za and http://www.publik.co.za

yummy pulled pork sandwich at andUnion

yummy pulled pork sandwich at andUnion

andUnion – Craft Beer and Wine Bar – This is an absolute favourite spot to simply relax and catch up with friends while enjoying locally sourced wines and BrewersandUnion craft beers.  They offer a lovely small selection of dishes that are all absolutely delicious and even though simple – seem to attract all the foodies!  Favourites are the trio of sausages and the burger.  This is mainly an outdoor beer garden style of spot with large wooden tables.  You simply arrive – look for a gap – then ask people to share their table.  It is a great way to actually meet some locals.  Note this is not a good choice if there is bad weather.   Open from late afternoon until late.  Closed Sunday & Mondays 110 Bree Street http://andunion.tumblr.com

La Parada - as it is one of the newest kids on the block it is always busy! Get there early for a drink!

La Parada – as it is one of the newest kids on the block it is always busy! Get there early for a drink!

La Parada Octopus salad

La Parada Octopus salad

La Parada  – this is a fabulous new Spanish style tapas bar where everyone meets up with friends for drinks and a few plates of fun Spanish dishes.  It operates on a first come first served basis and as such no table bookings are taken.  Cape Town needs a few more upmarket fun bars and as such this spot has been inundated since it opened about two months ago.  In addition the Cape people flock to whatever is new – so hopefully it calms down a little! The chefs were brought in from Spain to ensure authenticity and the dishes offer a variety of fun Spanish flavours.  This spot is vibey and fun.  If you are going – try to get there by 5pm to secure a table.  107 Bree Street – https://www.facebook.com/LaParadaTapasCapeTown  Open from 12 till late Monday to Sat.  Open on a Sunday during the day

Avoova - creations from ostrich egg shells

Avoova – creations from ostrich egg shells

Avoova – This shop really shows off how creative innovation can uplift communities.  Prince Albert is a small town in the Klein Karoo region of South Africa that produces great hams, figs, cheeses, ostriches and a variety of gourmet products.  It is however a town that also struggles with a shortage of employment opportunities.  An artist in the town called Gideon Engelbrecht started experimenting with using the waste product of broken ostrich egg shells as an art form in the mid 1990’s.  Today this has turned into a thriving business and you cannot believe the variety of beautiful objects that can be created or decorated using a mosaic effect onto frames, bracelets, mantle pieces etc.  A visit to this store is a treat for anyone who enjoys seeing original creativity.  Purchasing from them also contributes to an amazingly successful job creation project.  97 Bree Street http://avoova.com

Sitting having dinner at the Food Trucks parked on Heritage Square for First Thursday in Cape Town

Sitting having dinner at the Food Trucks parked on Heritage Square for First Thursday in Cape Town

Heritage Square Parking Lot – First Thursdays Cape Town – There has been a movement that seems to be spreading to many cities around the world to open all the art galleries in a city on the first Thursday of the month.  This way all those hard working souls who have day jobs can come and experience the art that the city has to offer.  This is a really festive event in Cape Town and great fun.  Start your first Thursday in the car park behind andUnion which is where you will find three of the local food trucks parked.  This is the perfect spot to enjoy a snack before you start walking.  On either side of you are Church Street and Shortmarket street.  Both have loads of galleries, so head down either of them and simply pick up a First Thursday map from the first gallery and start your walk.  The town buzzes and many of the galleries offer you wine along the route!  My suggested route would be to start with Shortmarket street – after about 5 galleries you find a favourite bar called House of Machines on your left that is well worth stopping for a quick drink and to check out.  The idea is a quirky bar where you can order your custom made motor bike and patrons will be able to watch it being built at the back of the shop.  These guys also support the artisan beers – so stop for a quick one.  Oddly enough their coffee seems to come from San Francisco! http://www.first-thursdays.co.za

SMALL DETOUR: Turn left into Shortmarket street and enter into the Heritage Square building.  Here you will find three places that are worth visiting:

Wine Tasting at Signal Hill Winery

Wine Tasting at Signal Hill Winery

  • Signal Hill Winery – which is the only city winery.  They make wine from the vines that are close to the city and actually make the wine in the entrance!  They also sell local wines from small wine estates at cellar door prices.  This is a must stop to stock up with wines if you are spending a longer time in the Cape.  They will happily advise you which their favourite wines and wine makers are.  
  • Bizerca – this is one of Cape Towns top French Bistros.  The secret here is that there is a hidden courtyard in the middle of the building which is fabulous as a setting to enjoy dinner.  Plus this is a really talented chef (Ps look for the oldest vine in the Cape which is in the courtyard here.  Signal Hill Winery still make 20 litres of wine from it each year!)
  • Headquarters (HQ) – this is a themed restaurant – do not book unless you want to go for sirloin steak done medium rare with chips.  They only serve the one dish – but have made a concession to vegetarians by offering a giant mushroom!  This restaurant is slick and trendy and upmarket and actually quite sultry.  They have a nice bar which is nice to pop into for a drink after dinner in the neighbourhood.  They offer a variety of DJ’s and live music

Keep walking for a few blocks down and you will find the Beautifull Life Building on your left hand side

Beautifull Life Gallery entrance

Beautifull Life awesome gallery space

Beautifull Life awesome gallery space

Youngblood Beautifull Life Building – was born out of the desire to connect artistic talent with capital so that artists would be able to continue to establish themselves and there reputation through obtaining exposure and not simply fade from the art scene.  This building is truly a beautiful gallery space that rambles over four stories.  At its base it offers Beautifull food in a beautiful space.  Make sure you build in time to at least stay for a coffee here, it has a wonderful energy.  70 – 72 Bree Street http://ybafricanculture.com/en


Tip to those visiting our beautiful quirky Cape Town – our city shops are open strictly during the week until 5pm.   On a Saturday our shops shut in the city at 1pm.  On a Sunday very little is open.  Plan your exploring of our city for a weekday to get the best experience.

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