Grab your umbrella and go

With winter truly upon us, it is time to either cuddle up at home and cook, or to dress up warmly and enjoy what Cape Town has to offer in the way of more informal eateries. Allow me to get your taste buds thinking…

HEMELHUIJS

This stylish restaurant in Waterkant Street  is the perfect place to come in from the cold on a blustery day for breakfast or lunch. Elegance emanates from the captivating floral touches to the plated dishes brought to your table. If you love the table wear, you may buy it. We enjoyed breakfast – I devoured the home-baked grain bread with lemon hummus and baked cauliflower, smoked trout and tomato raisins, my men went for poached farm eggs with roasted artichoke hearts and hollandaise – with bacon on the side. The menus are a beautiful work of botanical art, large keepsakes that are for sale at R250. My eyes wandered to the lunch menu, and stayed captivated on the botanical plates – a selection of carpaccios – beef, squash, pineapple and tuna. Friendly, informative service topped a great meal.

NOURISH’D 

For smoothies, juices, shots and more substantial yet healthy options head to Nourish’d in Kloof Street. Having driven past it hundreds of times, alerted to the fact that there is a car wash in their car park, I finally met a friend there for a speedy meeting. Fast does not have to mean fast food. I grabbed a green goddess – juice of apple, cucumber, ginger and mint – and felt healthy and pious for choosing that over my regular cappuccino – whilst I had a pang of order envy as her breakfast bowl arrived.

WILLOUGHBY & CO 

A quick lunch sandwiched between meetings in the V&A Waterfront, and it’s off to Willoughby & Co for their delicious sushi. With the crowds bustling past I can shut off and give of myself entirely to their four-by-four, a delicious combination of four pieces of rainbow reloaded and four pieces of spicy creamy rock shrimp roll. Add their half a glass of complimentary wine that is offered, and your working afternoon is sure to improve.

RICK’S CAFÉ AMERICAIN

When my men are in town they choose where we eat out. Their choice for a casual wind-down-the-week supper was Rick’s Café Americain in Park Road, Gardens. This old favourite with Capetonians and visitors has a cosy ambience and friendly service. The menu is diverse and the wines really reasonably priced. Many a dish conjured up memories of last year’s trip to Morocco, but I side-stepped the tangines and followed my men with burgers. I chose the chermoula chicken burger, which was crammed full of taste. Having started with some tapas – chilli poppers, Wibo’s balls and scrumptious Moroccan cheese parcels, we filled up fast, so there was no space for dessert. I think this winter will be the time to revisit a lot of our old haunts. See you in the side streets!

PRIMAL EATERY 

A casual Saturday evening sent us to Primal Eatery when our other son was in town. Tucked away in New Church Street, a quick Uber ride and we were in from the cold. A starter of calamari wakened our taste buds before my men tucked into rib eye steaks, and I devoured the free range chipotle chicken with charred corn, roasted garlic aioli and sautéed greens. Their steaks were more cooked than their expectations of medium rare and rare, and our charming waiter whisked them away and replaced them immediately. This is real challenge for chefs and restaurants – what you believe is medium may not be their medium! This is a constant conundrum – well trained staff need to engage with a diner, and ask them what their interpretation of rare/medium or whatever they have requested, is. Staff were attentive, the wine flowed (reasonably priced too), and we finished off with a delicious dessert, the baked chocolate with salted caramel and banana ice cream, and dulce de leche.

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