I had not been to Camps Bay, other than to drive through it on my way to and back from dancing at Constantia Nek on Sunday evenings, in many months. As the weather forecast for yesterday showed that it would be the warmest day for Spring/Summer to date, I drove to Camps Bay on a 30C day, to update my restaurant information for the suburb.
Before I list all the Camps Bay restaurants, coffee shops, and ice cream outlets, I must state that The Promenade building in Camps Bay is looking dreary, and unkempt, the outlets on the inside passages having lost their sparkle, some having been there for ages, and others brand new. Those that are restaurants, I will refer to below. The Pick ‘n Pay in Camps Bay felt particularly shoddy, the service was dreadful, and I am delighted to no longer have to shop there, since I sold my guest house in Camps Bay three years ago. I saw shops standing empty, available To Let. I was interested to see the Seacret Garden health store as one enters from the parking, a mini ‘Wellness Warehouse’ in the products stocked there. It is celebrating its first anniversary shortly. In the half an hour of popping into each shop, I did not see another customer on the upper level in The Promenade.
I noted the following restaurants in Camps Bay:
# Phuket, a Thai restaurant, which looks cheap and nasty, and does not seem to fit into the Camps Bay environment. There were no customers in the restaurant over lunch. I would not set foot into the restaurant.
# Delmar Mexican restaurant has good credentials, belonging to Sabi Sabharwal, the owner of Bukhara Indian and Haiku Asian restaurants. One cannot see inside the restaurant from outside its door.
# Addictions is in an unfortunate space, invisible to the street, with tables set up in an open passageway. Cashier Cheryl Qumba was chewing gum, and she and the ice cream dispenser could not answer my question as to whether they could make a good cappuccino, signage indicating that they offer coffee too. They seem only geared to serve ice cream. I indulged in a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream, the only good thing about this experience, as it was delicious. I did feel nauseous when a strong chemical smell from a building project further down the passage could be smelt from the ice cream shop, only after I had ordered and paid for the ice cream. I didn’t get this, but I was told that Sinnfull makes the Addiction ice creams. The Addiction space was previously that of Sinnfull. The scoop was reasonably priced, at R25, and this may be due to the greater competition it faces in Camps Bay.
# Bilboa, the newest restaurant in the Kove Collection, is set to open next month. It was an absolute coincidence that I bumped into Paul Kovensky, the owner of the Kove Collection. He was very kind to comment on my weightloss – I am always surprised that men pick this up! He told me that he is opening the restaurant in the former Blues space. He has added a massive terrace looking onto the Camps Bay Beach, with retractable doors, allowing seating outside too. A total of 200 diners can be seated in the new restaurant, compared to the 220 diners who can be seated at Zenzero, directly below it. I had to smile when he told me that he does not know how many restaurants he owns! I estimate it at 13 restaurants, the six in Camps Bay, three in Mouille Point, two in Constantia, and two in the V&A Waterfront.
# Chinchilla Café and Rooftop Bar, a floor above and accessed via Bilboa, a massive open area with a magnificent view onto Camps Bay Beach as well as onto the Twelve Apostles. The space being created for its opening in November will contain a DJ desk, with different DJs playing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I asked Paul about the name for this new establishment, and he told me that it is a rabbit or a cat. He came to the name when he read his daughter Lily a book which had a chinchilla in the story. We spoke about his Lily’s restaurant in Mouille Point, and he said that a restaurant named after his son is to come. The main photograph above was taken from the deck of this new rooftop bar.
# La Belle Bistro & Bakery is on the same floor and closest to the new restaurant, a sister restaurant to the one which was first created at the Alphen Hotel, and also in Mouille Point. It is part of the Kove Collection too. It serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. It has an outside seating area, with a Beach view.
# Umi, an Asian Fusion and Japanese Eatery and Cocktail Bar, is next door to La Belle, with an excellent view onto Camps Bay Beach. It is part of the Kove Collection.
# Gelato Mania, selling artisanal gelato ice cream, in an outlet hidden underneath a staircase below La Belle. There are a number of branches in Cape Town.
# Zenzero reopened after being closed for most of winter, with a decor upgrade, the TV screen and fireplace having been removed, and three walls in the large restaurant have a homely decor, with bookshelves filled with books. Staff told me that wall units for glasses etc are new, as are the floor tiles. The bar has had its cowhide covering removed, now having a steel covering. I had a cappuccino there, and paged through the new season menu, which seemed reasonable in its pricing, especially its starters. Some Meat and seafood dishes cost more than R200, but others are below this price. Manager Ivanovic Pasto kindly comped the cappuccino when I requested the bill.
# Paranga is also a restaurant in the Kove Collection, and was the first restaurant of the Collection. I spoke to Paul about me remembering that he used to be on the floor of the restaurant which he owned with Christian Barnard Jnr initially. It is on the street level, and patrons sitting at the pavement tables have the risk of being addressed by street peddlers.
# Sunset Sessions is a space which belongs to The Bay Hotel, and has changed operators regularly! It serves cocktails, wine, and beers, as well as Breakfast (until 12h30), which includes Churros without chocolate sauce at R35, scrambled eggs with salmon (R85), and smashed avocado on toast (R55); and salads, nachos, chicken wings, burgers, prego rolls, and toasted snackwiches, all under R100, during the rest of the day, until closing time. Cheese and Charcuterie boards are also available.
# Unframed artisanal ice cream has been set up at the edge of the Sunset Sessions space, cleverly on a scooter, with an offering of four ice creams, the flavours offered yesterday being Salted Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Coconut, and Tumeric Latte, costing R35 a scoop.
#. Col’Cacchio is a franchise restaurant, specializing in pizza and pasta, and has been operating in Camps Bay for a number of years, being popular amongst local Camps Bay families. It has an upstairs location, with a good beach view, and they deliver pizzas to patrons on the Beach.
# Kauai is a health food franchise.
# Vida é Caffe is a franchise coffee operator, which sells a limited number of food items.
# Ocean Basket is a franchise seafood restaurant.
# The 41 offers reasonably priced dishes, in a modern glass building, with excellent views onto Camps Bay beach. G.H. Mumm champagne fountain inside the restaurant. Owner Giles Blanc is a French operator who has had restaurants in other countries.
# Mantra Café is above The 41, and is affiliated to Melissa’s. It has a magnificent view onto Camps Bay beach. I drove past the restaurant on Sunday evening, and noticed the strong night-time branding on the building exterior, as well as inside the restaurant. It serves Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has a cocktail bar. GM Ian Smith is a good operator.
#. La Parada Del Mar is the only restaurant which was closed yesterday, only operating on Mondays from November again. I enjoyed chatting to Chef Charles McDonald, who was at the restaurant. He told me that the new La Parada menu, created by new Harbour House Group Executive Chef Brad Ball, will be launched today.
#. Mynt Café is the end restaurant on the northern side of the Camps Bay beachfront, and is discounting heavily, with two-for-one food and beverage offerings, which has made the restaurant popular. It has an unusual decor touch, with a wall of cycle wheels!
#. The Hard Rock Café has returned to South Africa, and to Cape Town, and more specifically to Camps Bay, having operated in Sea Point many years ago, before the restaurant group withdrew its operation from our country for political reasons. It is due to open next week, I was told by a staff member. It was previously the space of Mezepoli.
#. The Butcher signage states that it serves ‘authentic South African steak & seafood’.
#. Ocean Blue has operated in Camps Bay for many years.
#. Primi Piatti is an Italian-style franchise restaurant on the other side of the road, on the south side of Camps Bay.
#. Dizzy’s is a pizza and pasta restaurant and bar, less favorably located in the street behind Pick ‘n Pay.
#. Codfather is particularly popular amongst tourists, and works hard at connecting with guest house owners. It is well-known for its seafood offering.
#. Hussar Grill is located away from all other Camps Bay restaurants, higher up on Camps Bay Drive, and offers good value steaks and burgers, with good service. It also keeps close to guest houses in the area. It is now a franchise restaurant within the Spur Corporation.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein