I have a huge passion for the city that I live in. And, because I also have a huge passion for lists and planning I have put together a little Cape Town city guide. These are my top 5 in each category.
Publik Wine Bar
‘Not all wines are made equal’, it states on the wine section of this wine bar’s website. (That’s a lot of wines for one sentence.) But it’s so true, and it is here that you can find fantastically obscure tasting tumblers of the much-loved drink Set in a butchery, you have to be comfortable drinking your poison under the watchful eyes of some hanging carcasses – but don’t let that put you off. The ambience is warehouse cool meets private function. Also, don’t let the wine list of names you have never heard of dampen your spirits either, this is one bar where they walk you through each and every wine you decide upon in a very un-winey, unpretentious way. (image)
The House of Machines
True to it’s name, at House of Machines you will find the rising generation of bearded, hipster bikers. Situated on quiet Shortmarket Street, just off Bree, this is the perfect place to stop by for an early morning coffee or slow-pressed juice. As the sun starts to set though, beware the onslaught of mid-20s to 40 somethings that are looking for a well made cocktail and some loud, local music. Not that this onslaught is not welcomed – the vibe spills out onto the street where in summer you can bask in the warm moonlight while sipping on artisinal gin. Yum. (image)
Young, hip and happening. This place buzzes from the time it opens its doors in the morning to serve artisan coffee and pain au chocolats to those who treat it as the out of office office (thanks to the free wifi); until closing time, after you might have had a local beer on tap or a couple glasses too many of perfectly respectable house wine while munching on a pizza slice. At Yours Truly you can stop in all the time, and anytime. Look out for Molly the owner’s bulldog rushing around. (image)
Harvey’s at Winchestor Mansions
Not trendy at all – but all the fried food and old English decor can be forgiven once you’ve taken a seat on the balcony to watch the sun go down while sipping a simple whiskey sour or gin and tonic. Don’t expect much from this place other than that. I recommend going for a stroll on the Sea Point promenade and then end up here for a drink, or two and then move right along (possibly to La Perla) once you feel the slightest pang of hunger. (image)
Weinhaus & BierGarten
This place has a lot of firsts to its name: First trendy place to eat/drink on Bree Street; first stockists and brewers of micro-brewery beer; first beer garden to cater to the trendier crowd in Cape Town; first place to stock smaller, and organic, winery’s wines and, first guys to legally sell alcohol on the backside of a church. Set in Heritage Square, Weinhaus & BierGarten, formally known as &Union has recently changed owners and this does not mean that the quality of their beer, wine and meat has drooped one bit. In fact, they now have more to offer their thirsty customers. Look out for their Pig Rigs, and Lamb on the spit collaborations with Jason’s Bakery. And also, their veggie options. (image)
Although this is a men’s only clothing store, this lifestyle store also has a lot to offer the ladies. With an unrivalled selection of art/coffee table books, you can flip through pages of Vice or Monocle’s guide to living while you scope out your man’s bum in a great pair of selvedge denims. Pick up any and all man-gifts here too in the form of wallets, sneakers, swimming trunks, headphones and sunglasses (or these you can just keep for yourself!). (image)
Missibaba & Kirsten Goss
If you want to buy a bag, then you go to Missibaba. Their bags are everything a bag is supposed to be: real leather, made in South Africa, colourful and unique. No matter who you are you will find a bag in Missibaba. And if you are more into adorning yourself in jewels just head to the other side of the store to find Kirsten Goss’s beautiful pieces on display, ready and waiting to be taken home. (image)
This place ticks almost all the boxes. With good coffee, fantastic fare, the only Aēsop selection in the country and a men’s clothing section (this is the only downfall – no women’s wear) you have got the perfect little all rounder. Their selection of premium brands will make you want to bring out that credit card to spoil any man in your life. Also – munch on their famous truffle-salted fries on Thursday burger nights while sipping a beautiful cocktail. (image)
Second Time Around
Dive into hand-selected vintage finds here under the watchful, goggly eyes of owner Kyla’s Boston Terriers. No matter what era you are into you are bound to find something here. (image)
Pan African Market
This little gem houses a number of vendors selling a variety of African goods. Kinda like a market, but indoors, you can wonder through cramped corridors of African masks, hoping not to pick up any bad juju, or head to the top level to visit some tailors to have beautiful printed pants made. Although the prices here might be more tourist than local, bargaining is a must. Look out for shweshwe and hand spun fabrics, woven zulu baskets and the heritage Victorian accents of the building itself.
If the Bee Gees song ‘Rivers of Babylon’ spring to mind when reading the name of this farm – then you are not far off. This is a food mecca. Take a walk through their French-landscaped edible garden to walk off the most delicious meal you can eat – and try spot all your ingredients. The ethos of this place is to plant, grown, harvest and serve the freshest goods to their customers – and take it from me – if you want beetroot on your plate, best you book when they sow those first beetroot seeds. The waiting list is long – but it most definitely worth it – consider this a whole day affair. They have a deli packed full of preserves, cordials, jams, cheese, charcuterie, bread and great wine. Babel is the main restaurant serving up more fancy fare that lets the ingredients do the talking. The Glasshouse is a first come, first served sandwich and salad serving beauty. (image)
Sweeping views, great wine, yummy yummy food? Well, you have come to the right place. Although the restaurant at Jordan is considered fine dining, it’s not one of those places that you uncomfortable in. Sit on the veranda when the sun is out. Or visit on a dark and stormy Winter’s day and watch the clouds threaten mountains and lake below with pelting rain, while you are tucked warmly and safely behind glass walls. Make sure you order the soufflé for dessert – its one of those experiences that will stay with you forever. I wake up some mornings, like this morning, and wish I was able to have that soufflé for breakfast… Oh, and they are also open on a Monday – it may sound strange, but it’s a rarity. (image)
Chef Richard Carstens is a genius man. Top of the range, but down to earth gourmet food is served swiftly to you as you sit overlooking one of the best views in Stellenbosch – on a clear day you can see Table Mountain. The ingredients are local with international twists on flavour. Seriously, some of the best food I have ever tasted. The wine and olives are grown on the farm and are just as delicious. (image)
The Table at De Meye
Husband and wife team, Luke and Jess, run this place like it is their own home – and it feels exactly like that. Luke delivers the communal, shared dishes out personally and explains everything in all its yummy details. The food is home-grown, or sourced from local producers. With a menu that changes weekly you never know what to expect, in the best possible sense. This is a place to spend the whole day – starting with a wine tasting and ending up on your back on a picnic blanket (which they thoughtfully provide) in the dappled sun. (image)
EAT, SEE, FURTHER AFIELD – Coming Soon.