On a sunny afternoon in Cape Town, I managed to find my way to one of my favourite establishments. So much so I have visited all three hotels and dined at all their restaurants and you cannot blame me - home to The Green House and under the watchful eye of Farrel Hirsch the The Liz McGrath Collection The Cellars-Hohenort is in a league of its own and now, you can go and have high tea whilst overlooking the impeccable gardens. A fast way to feel very grand and indulge in decadence.
Last week I was invited to visit the Grande Roche Hotel. Situated just 40 minutes from Cape Town CBD in the picturesque town of Paarl. Recently acquired by entrepreneurs Hansie and Theresa Britz who have given the grande old dame a breath of fresh air. The hotel was closed for a month, while painters, decorators, designers and landscapers set to work refurbishing the suites, buildings, and public areas. A much-needed love punch for this majestic establishment.
I have a wild obsession with horses and a wild obsession with food. So when the two collide with art and beautiful wine not only do you have one of my favourite places to visit but you experience the excellence that is the ever-stylish Cavalli Wine Estate.
This year sure has been a wild one. It included my cookbook launch along with some serious overseas adventures in Bali and Dubai.
Bali was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced and to be honest, I haven't even begun to explore all it has to offer and I can guarantee that I will return to this little slice of heaven! The people are humble and kind and the environment thick, lush and tropical with warm balmy air. And don’t get me started on the spectacular food! As you can well imagine I ate my way through Bali one glorious cafe at a time. With most of the island being vegan and offering up healthy snacks and treats I felt like free-reign was essential to getting the full experience.
If you are looking for a great lunch spot serving delicious food then I have the answer. Its called Chefs and it is a local spot here in Cape Town that really impressed my palette. You can find them on St Johns road in Gardens. They close at 3 pm for lunch and reopen at 5:30 pm.
The experience starts with entering what seems to be a cafeteria. A simple white interior with a working kitchen and table lined up in a row. I must admit that, on arrival, I wondered whether I had just arrived at a school cafeteria to have lunch. Well as the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.
I was recently invited to experience One at Cavalli Estates restaurant. Run by executive Chef Michael Deg; One is a celebration of a single fresh hero ingredient from the garden showcased in classic dishes that let the ingredient shine. Created to celebrate Michaels appointment I couldn't wait to experience what he has on offer.
Our ingredient was Celeriac. I must admit I was a little sceptical as I haven't had many great celeriac dishes. A humble root vegetable that tastes a bit like it’s cousin, the celery.
The setting in gorgeous with a modern upmarket bistro interior with strong lines in the architecture. The patio has two fire pits, which I imagine would be wonderful in winter and overlooks a vista of magnificent mountains.
Roast & Co. is the new brainchild of the team that brought you HQ Restaurant. HQ is famous for their mono menu, specializing in steak, chips and salad. The only option you have is how you would like your steak done. Now hop on over to Roast & Co. A trendy spot set to showcase one of South Africa’s favourite meals, the roast chicken. Not only have they bought you a household favourite with Mzanzi flavour but have sourced the meat from Elgin, which makes it truly free-range and provides the ultimate fresh farm to fork experience in the city. The food is simple, healthy and tasty with classic favourites on the side such as deep-fried mac and cheese. I mean, who could resist that?
I recently visited one of Franschhoek’s newly launched gems that boasts clean lines, chic interior, and food that offers a familiar yet elevated flavour journey that only Reuben Riffel can take you on – meet Reuben’s restaurant and bar, Franschhoek.
Situated in the heart of the town, this gorgeous space is roughly 40 minutes drive from Cape Town CBD and well worth the trip. Passing gorgeous wine estates and cherry blossoms (at least this time of year) along the way, an added bonus.
Life is one of those crazy beautiful things. One day you think things are going to be a certain way and the next, everything has been turned upside down.
A close friend of mine bought herself a lovely home here in Cape Town and was settled in with her partner playing house.
Next thing you know; he gets an exciting job offer in Boston and within three months time, she will be off to go place house in the states. Wild to say the least.
So when the opportunity came up to go for a sneaky week day lunch at the Homage 1862
There is a new foodie hotspot in town and it's called The Mojo Market. A dazzling little space filled with food and design vendors serving up all things delicious. (Yes – even the leather handbags)
With a large variety of cuisine, this is the new place for inducing food comas!
You can find traditional South African cuisine such as bunny chows, bobotie and potjie along with international treats such as Mexican, Cuban and Hawaiian (my personal favourite - Hokey Poke - A fresh bowl food concept that I am in love with.)
The Victoria and Alfred waterfront is one of those places that I love to hate. There are moments where it can be wildly busy and filled with chaos yet it is also a great spot to grab a bite to eat and get all your shopping done in one place. A few of the spots, however, can be a let down in terms of the quality of food. Maybe it is because I am spoilt for choice with all our amazing restaurants in Cape Town.
One place I love to love is Mondiall. It is one of those spots at the waterfront that always delivers high-quality food that is beautiful to look at and bursting in flavour. I recently got to experience their summer menu and it is packed with all things delicious. They have just celebrated their third birthday and talented head chef Stephen Mandes (winner of the "ultimate braai master" tv show) has created a menu that will satisfy a curious palette and has an international culinary influence.
This year has started off with quite a bang. We started with moving house and it simply hasn't stopped. Did you know that this year is the universal year of one in numerology? This means it is a year for growth, progress, and change. So I know it is going to be a good one!
On the note of the change. I don't often venture out of the city for dinner. I seem to have become the typical Capetonian that finds any 20-minute drive very far away. Which for the better part is ridiculous. Most places are less than 15km from my house and not quite the Cape to Cairo journey I imagine it to be.
I first came across Lion Heart through Nikki Albertyn. She is a local baker and creative with an Instagram that caught my eye. I knew from the get go that I had to share what she was up to. Her business partner Karmen, is her lifelong friend and the two have created a little magic with their baking skills and creativity. After much stalking, I decided to contact the Gurl's and shoot the exciting bakery and magnificent cakes!
Situated in Woodstock this team of two work on making cakes that are minimal in design yet make a statement with their bold colours and unique textures. I was taken aback when I saw the limited space that they work out of. To create these little pieces of art with such limited space is commendable!
Tucked away in Elgin, just after Peregrine off the N2 is a little known spot called Terra Madre.
Run by the tenacious Nicole Precoudis and her parents Chris & Koula, this slice of heaven really is all about the farm to table experience and the quality of produce speaks for itself.
I first heard about Terra Madre through a friend. She guessed that it would be right up my alley, and she was very right.
As you arrive, you realize the tremendous spectacle a beautifully run farm can be.
Greeted by rows of olive trees, apple orchards and veggie gardens; I was excited to find out more about this 18,5 hectare property.
I have an unquenchable thirst for travel. I don’t know if it is my constant involvement with the world of social media, following awe inspiring accounts or the fact that I have this insatiable appetite to try as many foods as possible. I can go down the rabbit hole that is Instagram for hours on end admiring the talented creatives that share their world of food from all over the world.
One particular place that has piqued my interest to visit is Melbourne Australia. The restaurateurs, food photographers and bloggers coming out of that corner of the world are mind blowing and constantly feed my creative process.
THE HICKORY SHACK, ELGIN
When last did you take a road trip?
With spring in the air and blossoms showing their pretty faces in the country side, I recently took a shot left to Elgin. Just an hour outside of Cape Town, on the N2 over Sir Lowry's pass, the countryside changes rapidly and before long, you find yourself amidst mountainous hills dotted with pine trees, waterfalls, rocky outcrops and lakes.
It is an exceptionally beautiful part of the country that plays host to a plethora of outdoor activities.
Did I mention the area is also rife with glorious apple orchids and vineyards?
I could not help but get lost on the farm roads and between the little dexter cows (you are going to have to google them) and the ducks waddling down the road, I was swept off my feet by Elgin.
There are moments – believe it or not (for those who know me) where I can be left speechless. They don’t happen often and they sure don’t last long. One of these golden moments happened recently at La Colombe.
If you haven’t heard of La Colombe before, they are situated on the Silver Hurst estate in Hout Bay. The head of the kitchen is the S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year Scot Kirton, a master of flavours and a showman with his food.
The dining room is minimalist and the service is as sharp as a chef’s knife. I had to wonder if the muted décor was an intentional stroke of genius to ensure nothing detracted from the food.
There is a new kid on the block and it’s called The Shortmarket Club but trust me, there is nothing rookie about this spot
Owned by Chef Wesley Randles, his mentor and legendary Chef Luke Dale Roberts (Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club,) Simon Widdison (and a few others) The Short Market Club is the hottest new spot in Cape Town and it is not even open yet!
This exciting new restaurant will be open from the 27th of June and I was lucky enough to get a “behind the scenes” look (tasters included.)
Marked by a beautiful manhole with an owl, fox, hog and butterfly you know you have found what you are looking for when walking down Shortmarket Street.
Do you guys know the Star Fish Story? Well here is the long and short of it.
A wise man was walking along the beach and came across a young man throwing star fish back into the ocean. He asked the young man why he was doing so. The young man replied, 'the tide is going out an the sun is up. If I don't do it they will die.'
The old man responded that he couldn't possibly make a difference as there is miles and miles of coast line covered with star fish. The young man picked up a star fish and threw it back in the ocean. As it hit the water he replied, "It made a difference to that one!"
I once read a saying, “You don’t have to have a silver spoon in your mouth to enjoy good food”
The last few weeks I have made a commitment to myself. It’s a commitment to start eating at the wonderful places Cape Town has to offer. I am on a food journey and that also means I cannot become a creature of habit, which for me is very easy to do. I like value for the money I spend, so I tend to eat at the same spots all the time. I also realise that this is a silly habit. Why? Simply because all the odd coffees and random meals quickly add up to being able to eat at some of the best places Cape Town has to offer!
INSIDE AND YOU'RE OUT BURGERS, BREE STREET
If there is one thing I am a huge fan of, it is a good burger! Marked by a bright orange door on Bree Street next to the Red Bull Studios is a burger bar that not only has an inspirational story but also serves up one of the tastiest burgers in town! Inside & You’re Out is a unique name. Their burgers are pretty unique too - the artisan cheese of your burger is on the inside of the patty, making it a juicy mouthful with a different spin. But, where did the idea for IYO come from?
The owners Jonah Lewis and Jean-Marc Lenferna de la Motte started the company in 2013 at the tender age of 22.
Tucked away in the V&A Waterfront on what they call the Golden Mile is a sweet spot called Dalliance. Owned by the Kove Collection this restaurant has the slogan “a little love affair” and that is exactly what it is.
The principle behind the urban eatery is that you order tapas and share. This concept might seem foreign to most people as we are used to ordering a meal to have for ourselves. Initially I had slight anxiety that a few tapas would not fill me, as I am not exactly your salad loving kind of girl. The Chef Junaid Patrick and his wonderful selection of tapas soon laid my fears to rest. The menu boasts several dishes that I can highly recommend - and that doesn’t often happen.
In my head I am convinced I am a seasoned baker that can create masterpieces that stand sky high and compete with the best of the bakers out there. I often wonder why as I still have the odd cake that flops and I have no idea why it did so in the first place. The good thing is that I am ok with it. I am a home baker and proud of it. The wonderful thing is that every now and then on my food adventures I get to work with amazing talents that pass on pearls of wisdom as they glide through the kitchen.
One such person is Tara from the lovely Maison Gateau. I spent the morning moving around this beautiful bakery listening to Tara talk as she worked. From guidance on how to ice the perfect cup cake to making gum paste and Italian buttercream, my mind was a sponge.
There is something to be said for true friendship. I above all, value this the most. I often think to myself where would I be without my friends? I am sure you know what I am talking about. Those friends that you have that have stood by you when the chips were down, when you felt your life was falling apart or simply those friends that come over with a great bottle of wine, settle down and chat the night away with you. They know where you keep things in your kitchen because they are part of the furniture, even better, part of the family.
I must say I am a lucky girl and I count my blessings everyday when it comes to my friendships.
If there is one thing I have learnt, is that food makes me happy. Like deep down in my soul happy. Photographing it, eating it and meeting the people who are as passionate about food as I am, really moves my soul. One such person is Chris Erasmus of Foliage.
I was having one of those mornings. When nothing really goes right and you are not sure why. I was feeling glum and not up to shooting this morning. But the call of the food summoned me out of bed. After much debate and several snooze buttons later I pulled myself together packed up my gear and took a drive.
The drive was to Franschhoek. a little French Huguenot village at the base of the Franschhoek mountains.
Go forth and eat at your own risk!
This blog is for entertainment and is my own personal opinion. It is not fact but rather subjective to my views. All content is copyrighted and written consent must be provided for republishing.
At the time of the visit, this blog post was written and things do change so please note your experience in food or travel might be different.
Some posts are sponsored but opinions are my own.
I hope that I can lead you to a foodtopia where you will formulate your own opinions and preferences. If it disagrees with my own then that is ok, different strokes for different folks! I know many people who have traveled and travel much more than I. This is my story through my eyes.
I would love to hear your suggestions so please share your feedback on the comment section. Whilst this is a space to share, nasty comments or rants wont be tolerated!
Sometimes my images are limited and I might not have my camera so I will be embracing my cellphone because certain gems have to be shared!