Last Saturday I had to be in the ‘Deep South’ of Cape Town, attending a media breakfast at the new Tintswalo at Boulders in Simonstown, so decided to have lunch at Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek whilst I was in that part of our city. The ‘Boutique Café’ descriptor in the name gives it away, a creative Eatery serving creative dishes.
I had been to see the new Eatery a month ago, when I did a drive on that side of Cape Town with my Parisian friend Aurélie Jullien, and we had a coffee there, having such a full programme on that day. The design of it impressed immediately, the branding on the outside at the traffic circle as one enters Fish Hoek from Simonstown, and then inside, with grass green walls and artwork in pinks, and pink crockery. Retro-style furniture is dotted around the Eatery, coming from the couple’s home, with velvet upholstery on the chairs in a turquoise blue grey colour.
The owners are Carina du Randt, an art curator and former art gallery manager at Grande Provence, and Aldo du Plessis, former Restaurant Manager at Grande Provence, as well as Events Manager at Boschendal. I had met both Aldo and Carina at the Franschhoek wine estate, and saw both regularly in the Franschhoek area. Becoming FaceBook friends, it was Carina’s story telling that intrigued me, and I got to ‘know’ her more personally through her very honest and very funny stories about life as a single mother. When I heard that the couple was opening an Eatery in Fish Hoek, not known to me for any restaurants, as well as art gallery Platform 13 close by, I had to see and experience it. On each of my visits I have bought a small work of art, one by Greta McMahon and the other by Laurinda Belcher.
The table contains a pink side plate from Mr Price, a material napkin branded with the Eatery name, a green rolled-up paper menu tied with a ribbon, cutlery still shiny and new from @Home, lovely water glasses, and the most interesting stainless steel thin but very solid salt and pepper grinder, with a little glass window to show the pink Himalayan salt crystals and black peppercorns. I used the pepper grinder, and Aldo showed me that one just presses the top down, like a pen, to make it work.
I requested water, and Aldo served it in a beautiful water jug, and poured the glassful on a silver tray. Ice cubes were round balls.
As I was not really hungry, coming from the breakfast, but wanting to try the food, I kept it light, ordering a beautifully presented tomato and mozzarella salad, with a foraged nasturtium pesto (R80). I had requested that the spring onions in the dish be excluded. It was perfectly light, presented in a pink bowl, and decorated with little pansies. I loved that it had good old-fashioned tasty parsley in it too. Other options were pea and asparagus soup (R75), sesame and Parmesan crusted grilled chicken salad (R80), Gorgonzola cheesecake with a seed crust (R85), pan-seared steak (R195), smoked Camembert with fresh grapes and fig jam (R115, to share), a seasonal vegetarian platter to share (R180), and fresh fish of the day, subject to availability (SQ). Aldo shared that the vegetables, fruit, and herbs come from the impressive vegetable garden at Boschendal, organically grown. He told me that they had received fresh tuna, for their fish of the day.
The menu mentions a dessert of the day, offered at R75, but does not describe it, it changing daily. Aldo’s description of it as a sugar basket with roasted peaches, Barbados cream (meaning that it had rum in it….mmmmm), ginger crumble, and topped with a little carnation and fresh strawberries, sold it. It was even better than it sounded, and I could see a heart shape in this dish. The cake of the day (R40) had been baked by Carina, but the last slice had just been sold, sounding interesting as being a Beetroot and Carrot Cake.
I met Chef Juan de Allende, who was previously at Vista Marina at the Aquarium in the Waterfront, whilst Carina and I walked to my car, to get her a copy of my SwitchBitch Book 1. Carina is planning to use the little Eatery stage as a venue for hosting events too, and has offered me a reading platform for my book there. A piano is in the top section of the Eatery, with a bar counter here too, as well as more tables and chairs. One can sit at an entrance section too, with Bentwood chairs.
It is good that I do not live nearby, otherwise I would be eating at Stargarden every day. I loved the jazz music which Aldo was playing, Diana Krall being one of his favorites. Aldo came to check on me regularly, always adding an informative touch. Stargarden is a huge asset for the Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, and Simon’s Town area, a creative, friendly, inexpensive Eatery serving healthy light but wholesome food.
Stargarden Boutique Café, 150 Main Road, Fish Hoek. Tel 084 639 4031. Facebook. Instagram: @stargardenfishhoek Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Tuesday – Saturday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein