Whilst I dislike going into the city centre during the day, due to the irritating parking guards, I am pulled to the city centre more and more due to the ever-growing collection of good restaurants and coffee shops. This blogpost is a summary of some of Cape Town’s inner-city highlights:
* Hemelhuijs– owned by interior and restaurant consultant Jacques Erasmus, previously from Manna. Emphasis is on freshness. Creative unusual menu. Breakfast and lunch served. Monday – Friday 8h00 – 15h00. Saturday 9h00 – 15h00. Open for dinner on Wednesday evenings. 71 Waterkant Street. Tel (021) 418-2042.
* Dear Me Foodworld – a hot new addition, with a Francois du Plessis decor emphasis on green (both interior colour and herbs grown from the ceiling, see photograph above) and health, with most dishes offered as lactose-free and/or sugar-free alternatives. Menu changes daily. Great creative chef Vanessa Marx. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h00. Open for dinner on Thursday evenings. 165 Longmarket Street. Tel (021) 422-4920.
* Tjing Tjing Bar– when Dear Me Foodworld closes late afternoon, its upstairs Ting Tjing Bar opens, serving tapas, changes regularly. 165 Longmarket Street. Tuesday – Saturday from 16h00 until late. Tel (021) 422-4920.
* Escape Caffe– one of the hottest coffee shops in the city centre, featured in the media for its lemon cheese cake. Owner Lameen Abdul-Malik has a Nobel Peace Prize for his joint efforts to ensure the safest possible use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Serves organic blend artisanal coffee from Espresso Lab. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00. Saturday 9h00 – 12h00. 130 Bree Street. Tel (021) 422-1325.
* What’s On Eatery– probably the restaurant with the friendliest owner (Trevor Jordaan) in town, serves Breakfast and Lunch on weekdays from 7h30 – 16h00, and Dinner from Tuesday – Saturday. Coffee by Origin. Excellent value. Exciting news is the appointment of Chef Oliver Cattermole from 1 October. 6 Watson Street. Tel (021) 422-5652 CLOSED DOWN 2011
* Rhubarb Room– coffee shop inside decor shop, previously in Bo-Kaap. Serve cakes, coffee (by Deluxe), soup, quiches, and salads. High tea offered for baby showers, kitchen teas and birthdays. Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00. Saturday 9h00 – 13h00. 227 Bree Street. Tel (021) 424-2004. CLOSED DOWN 2011
* Valora– stylish new restaurant, bar and café. Try Chef Andrew’s Two Tone soup. Extensive menu choice, includes tapas. LavAzza coffee. Great for late snack and drink. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 22h00, Saturday 17h00 – 23h00. Corner Loop and Hout Street. Tel (021) 426-1001. CLOSED DOWN 2012
* Skinny Legs & All – interior decorated with paintings from co-owner João Ferreira art gallery. Emphasis on freshly made food. Advised by Brad Ball of Bistro 1682. Run by sweet pair of twins Jamie and Jessie. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00. Saturday 8h30 – 14h00. 70 Loop Street. Tel (021) 423-5403.
* Roberto’s Signature Restaurant – expect interesting things to come from Roberto de Carvalho, leader of the SA chefs team in Culinary Olympics, and ex-chef at Twelve Apostles Hotel. Simple food, mainly in Portuguese style. Excellent Tiramisu. Located below On Broadway, so very busy between 7 – 8 pm to cater for the theatre crowd. Tuesday – Sunday 12h00 – 15h30, 18h00 – 23h30. 44 Long Street. Tel (021) 424-1195. CLOSED DOWN 2013
* 6 Spin Street – unusual restaurant setting inside the IDASA book shop. Well-known for its cheese soufflé and duck. Monday – Friday Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from 8h30. Saturday dinner only. 6 Spin Street. Tel (021) 461-0666.
* French Toast – focus on its large range of wines by the glass offered, but interesting tapas offering. Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 23h00. 199 Bree Street Tel (021) 422-3839. CLOSED DOWN 2012, BUT RE-OPENED AS THE ODYSSEY IN 2013
* Jason’s Bakery– recently opened where Jardine’s used to be, owned by Jason of ex-Jardine’s Bakery. Bakery and Café. Sandwiches, breakfast, soul food, and vegetarian. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h30. Saturday 8h00 – 14h00. 185 Bree Street. Tel (021) 424-5644.
* Haas Coffee – increasingly popular city hot-spot without any parking guards, and usually a parking spot available close by. Friendly and welcoming, and part of Haas Collective decor and art. Cakes, tarts and food menu, including cooked breakfasts. 67 Rose Street. Monday – Sunday. Tel (021) 422-2239.
* Piroschka’s Kitchen – Hungarian Flammkuchen with Gluehwein on cold days. Monday – Friday 11h00 – 19h00. 106 Bree Street. Tel 083 327 3203 CLOSED DOWN, NOW ONLY AT MARKETS
* Bread, Milk and Honey – busy breakfast and lunch spot, for take-aways or sit-down. 10 Spin Street. Monday – Friday 6h30 – 16h00. Tel (021) 461-8425.
* Il Cappero – hard-working Sicilian chef and charming husband Aldo in front-of-house. Not-so-usual Italian and Sicilian specialities. Monday – Friday lunch. Monday – Saturday dinner. 3 Barrack Street. Tel (021) 461-3168. MOVED TO CAMPS BAY
* Charly’s Bakery – famous for its cake creations and cheeky cupcakes, one can also sit down for coffee, cake, pies and cupcakes. Ample parking, no parking guards. 38 Canterbury Street. Monday – Saturday. Tel (021) 461-5181.
* Maria’s – Owners Kate and Cleon Romano are charming hosts, and the restaurant has a lovely buzz, and many tapas-like Greek dishes as well as mains. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Great lunch spot after City Bowl Market. To open for Sunday lunch soon. Dunkley Square, 31 Barnett Street, Hatfield. Tel (021) 461-3333.
* Bird Café and Gourmet Eatery – Quirky milk-crate seating, decor change has opened up the kitchen, great quality food, friendly service. New owners Keith Mink, and Leigh Trout (ex-chef at Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel in Franschhoek), opened on 1 September. 127 Bree Street. Tel (021) 426-2534.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage