I was invited by Latitude Events Manager Naledi Molotlegi to experience the Latitude Café, which opened on the 9th floor of the Latitude ApartHotel on Regent Road in Sea Point in November 2019. It must be the highest restaurant on the Atlantic Seaboard, with beautiful views, and prides itself in being Proudly Cape Town.
Originally developed by the Berman Brothers Group, the building was very recently bought by 12Cape. New owner Hugo Venter was at the Café, and reminded me that we had danced together at HQ some time ago.
The ApartHotel is an interesting concept of renting a room/apartment longer term, for a few months or for a few days. During the Corona Lockdown staff offer a limited cleaning service, with fresh linen provided weekly. In-depth cleaning is done in-between each guest stay. While the guests have a kitchenette in their apartment, they can order Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner from the Latitude Café and have it delivered to their door, or come up to the 9th floor of the building, to enjoy the Café atmosphere, and the ocean and mountain views it offers. Plant boxes on the terrace include water-friendly cactus plants and herbs, including rosemary.
The Latitude Café has a central space, with an open-plan kitchen, a Bar currently used for preparing non-alcoholic beverages, having applied for a liquor license, and tables inside, and outside on the terrace. There is a room one can rent for private meetings or functions, a lounge area, and a Deli is planned too. Tables have little vases with Rosemary, and chairs have seating in an unusual olive green leather. The ambiance is friendly, with Café-style background music, and friendly staff. One can observe the two chefs preparing one’s meal.
Naledi had called me with the invitation, and stayed in touch over the week until the day of my arrival, checking my dietary requirements, informing me of the exact entrance address, on Kings Street, off Regent Road. One enters the Latitude ApartHotel, and has to sign in at Reception, completing a register, have one’s temperature taken, and hands sanitised. Parking is available in the building.
After walking me around the Latitude Café, and introducing me to Hugo, Naledi and I sat down for lunch. The Café is high-tech, in that it offers a Digital Menu via a QR code presented on each table, designed by Dineplan, about which I wrote recently.
The Menu offering is light and healthy, with a selection of an all-day breakfast, sandwiches, toasties, lunch, light meal, salad, dessert, smoothie, and beverage offerings. I ordered water, and Earl Grey Tea, one of the best I’ve drunk, made in Cape Town by Lady Bonin Teas, and served in a beautiful blue cup and saucer. Coffee is by Deluxe. We ordered, Naledi sharing each dish with me, except for the dessert.
While we waited for the food to be served, Naledi shared her background with me. She grew up at Sun City, where both her parents work, having hospitality in her genes from an early age. She studied at the renowned Hotel School in Montreaux in Switzerland. She returned to our country, taking a Food & Beverage position at Spier Hotel, and then worked for the events company of former Miss South Africa Jacqui Mofokeng. Two stints on cruise ships followed, including the QE2.
Naledi allowed me to do the ordering, and not having eaten much fish since Lockdown, I ordered two Light Meals, the Grilled Calamari (R85) served with house-made tartare sauce, and the Seared Sesame Tuna (R95) which was served on a bed of cucumber, with wasabi mayonnaise. Both dishes were light and tasty, and paired well with the tea, a perfect way to start the Lunch. Other Light Meals offered are Baby Pork ribs (R85), Chicken Wings (R65), and Vegetable Springrolls (R50).
Our main course was crispy deep-fried beer-battered hake, with outstanding triple cooked fries, and a delicious home-made tartare sauce, once again sharing the portion for one (R95). Other options are a variety of hamburgers, including a vegetable one with roast butternut and mushrooms (R100), steak and chips (R95), Catch of the day (R130), Beef tagliatelle (R125), and Chicken Schnitzel (R100).
The chefs have a good hand at food presentation, classic and simple in the two starters, and a creative way of presenting the chips. Naledi told me that the Head Chef previously worked at Den Anker.
I completed the meal with strawberries and cream, topped with mint, presented in layers in a glass, the cream freshly beaten I could hear from our table (R35). One can also order crumpets with a choice of mixed berry compote, or chocolate sauce and strawberries (R65), or ice cream, three scoops costing R40.
I loved how light and healthy my meal was.
Ray Endean is the Latitude Café Manager, whom I had met at Orphanage when he was running it previously.
After lunch Naledi showed me the neighbouring Penthouse suite, which she can incorporate into functions when planning Events.
Latitude Café feels like a special Sea Point secret, perched above the hustle and bustle of the suburb below, with special views, even of Robben Island in the distance, and healthy meals and beverages served. I promised Naledi that I will return for breakfast soon.
Latitude Café, 101 Regent Road, entrance in Kings Road, Sea Point. www.totalstay.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein