An assortment of venue ideas for 21st, 30th, and 50th birthday bashes
New Restaurants and Hot Spots in Cape Town
Our round-up of the latest eateries, bars, shops, pubs and clubs to launch in the Mother City
Our round-up of the latest eateries, bars, shops, pubs and clubs to launch in the Mother City
The Mother City is a fast developing, ever evolving metropolis with trendy, fresh places opening up on almost every corner every month. To keep you clued up, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest latest additions to Cape Town, from quirky new restaurants and shops to chic new clubs, pubs and bars.
Seelan Restaurant & Bar
Famed Cape Town restaurateur Seelan Sundoo has finally thrown off the yoke and taken the reins himself with the opening of this eponymous venture at the V&A Waterfront in mid-March 2014. With past accomplishments like La Perla, the Grand Café & Beach and Shimmy Beach Club behind him, the talented chef has already made quite a name for himself, but with Seelan Restaurant & Bar he looks to cement his reputation by creating both a destination spot and a place that’s home to locals. The Mediterranean-style eatery serves up some of his signature classics, like Kingklip Tagliata and Pasta Vongole, as well as some new original dishes, like slow-cooked rotisserie duck, lamb and chicken. Steaks, seafood platters and salads are also on the menu, and from its perch just a seal’s clap from the water’s edge, the restaurant also treats visitors to a top-class view of Table Mountain and the working harbour. In short, if you’re looking for a spot to while away the hours in true South of France fashion, this is it.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 11:30am – 11:30pm
Shop 8 | Quay 5 | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 421 4906 | email@example.com
After two years of hosting her incredibly popular pop-up dim sum restaurants, creative local Yang Zhao has finally committed to something permanent in the form of her new Beijing Opera eatery. Based on Cape Town’s Rose Street, this edgy little spot gives dumpling lovers stable access to the founder’s much-loved Chinese treats, which are made from her own recipes using only the freshest local ingredients. The menu features both traditional bites, like pork buns and steamed prawn parcels, and more contemporary, unusual options, such as peanut and pork or pepper, chilli shrimp balls. As these pastry-wrapped nibbles are meant to be shared amongst family and friends, the eatery, which is decorated in red, green and gold hues, is designed around the concept of communal eating, with only two large tables in the centre of the small, inviting room. Having both an authentic Asian look and a modern feel, Beijing Opera is a trendy place to experience the culinary classics of a different culture.
Opening times: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm; Saturday: 10am – 3pm (the restaurant will soon open in the evenings too)
The State House Building | 6 Rose Street | De Waterkant | Cape Town | +27 (0)72 530 9654
Opened in mid-March 2014 by creatives Benedikt Sebastian and Karen Du Toit, the new Miao restaurant in Cape Town’s De Waterkant, which sits in the building once known as It’s a House, is a playful, whimsical space that guests can easily get lost in. Not only is the spacious brasserie adorned with a myriad of quirky antique odds and ends, but it’s also chock-full of books waiting to be read and it claims a performance platform that’s regularly home to stand-up comedy and live music. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menu bursts with classically inspired European dishes – think eggs Florentine, pan-seared beef fillet, mushroom risotto, steak tartare and much more – and the centre bar serves up cocktails, craft beer, wine and liquor. Plus, for those keen to just pop in for a mid-morning pick-me-up, there’s Deluxe Coffeeworks java and a range of speciality teas too. Do note that while Miao is a relaxed space, it does also pride itself on being rather refined, and prices reflect this focus.
Opening times: Sunday – Tuesday: 8am – 5pm (the space is reserved for events in the evenings); Wednesday – Saturday: 8am – 11pm
20 Jarvis Street| De Waterkant | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 421 4503
A little Mediterranean treat on Cape Town’s Wale Street, the new Isola, which opened its doors in early March 2014, whisks visitors away to the back streets of Milan with an easy, breezy continental atmosphere and food that’s as authentically Italian as it comes. The small CBD eatery is owned by Italian-born brothers Alberto and Matteo Crovetto, who bring their knowledge of the Mediterranean culinary scene to the table to conjure up an array of homemade pizzas (sold by the slice), pastas, meat dishes, lasagne and focaccine (mini focaccia). Both the menu and the toppings are simple, but the flavours are bold and the prices very reasonable. Plus, there are also a couple of classic cocktails from Italy, like an Aperol Spritz, on the bill, as well as digestives like limoncello or mandarinetto. In short, it’s the sort of spot that steals you away from the hustle and bustle of the Mother City’s streets, even if just for a quick business lunch or chilled-out dinner with the family.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 3pm (lunch); 6pm – 11pm (dinner)
72 Wale Street (between Bree and Buitengracht streets) | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 422 0800
Straight No Chaser
In order to take things up an octave and keep moving forward, the popular jazz club formerly known as The Mahogany Room embraced a name change in late February 2014 and is now operating under the new title Straight No Chaser. While the renowned live music hotspot still features intimate performances by celebrated local and international artists, it’s also looking more laterally and featuring a wider range of sounds (think edgy electronica and hip urban tunes). The old ethos remains though: the venue aims to promote a listening culture and cultivate respect for our country’s performers. So, like its predecessor, this sultry haunt, which is still owned by two of the original founders, is the sort of place you come solely for the melodies, not for a catch-up with friends or a late-night dance. Though, should you wish to enjoy a whisky or beer with your beats, there is still an on-site bar at the club that serves up an assortment of boozy bevies. The cover charge is R60 for one set and R100 for two, and booking is highly recommended.
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday: 7pm – 2am (from Tuesday to Thursday, the first set is at 8pm and the second is at 10pm; on Fridays and Saturdays, the first gig is at 8:30pm and the second is at 10:30pm)
79 Buitenkant Street | The Fringe | Cape Town | +27 (0) 76 679 2697
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
Based in the rather concealed New Church Street for years, Liam Tomlin’s renowned Chefs Warehouse has taken a step out into the sunlight and moved to Cape Town’s Bree Street. The new set-up, which was launched in late January 2014, no longer includes a cooking school, but now comprises a small canteen-style restaurant where passers-by can enjoy the acclaimed owner’s dishes there and then. The menu transforms daily, but features items like Chicken Broth with Egg Noodles, Potted Shrimp and Duck Confit with Lentil Du Puy, and there are tapas platters too. Plus, guests can shop at the on-site deli and pick up everything from cured meats and cheeses to spices and olive oil. The other side of the business is still a culinary shop – it’s connected to the restaurant via a small passageway – and this section stocks chopping boards, cookie cutters, salt and pepper grinders, cookbooks, glass jugs, sushi-making sets and just about anything else a serious foodie might need to function like a king in the kitchen.
Note: Chefs Warehouse is set to open a small takeaway joint that specialises in Asian-style street food by the end of March 2014.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 8pm (lunch from 12pm to 3pm; tapas from 3pm to 8pm); Saturday: 12pm – 2:30pm (tapas only)
92 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 422 0128
Erdmann Contemporary and The Blah Blah Bar
A long-time staple on Shortmarket Street, Erdmann Contemporary fine art gallery is expanding and relocating to a grand double-storey house on Kloof Street in mid-March 2014. While the exhibition space will stretch out across the beautiful top floor of this heritage building, the lower level is set to be home to Cape Town’s very first art bar. Aptly titled The Blah Blah Bar, this artsy watering hole will offer like-minded creative types and anyone enthusiastic about art a place to gather, connect and converse. The unassuming pub will serve up an array of drinks named after local artists and will also play host to a series of colourful happenings, including light shows, poetry readings, stand-up comedy and music gigs. Not to mention, like its upstairs counterpart, the first-of-its-kind cultural venue will function as a gallery of sorts too, with works by young, up-and-coming visionaries adorning its white walls.
Opening times: Erdmann Contemporary: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm; Saturday: 11am – 2pm; The Blah Blah Bar: Monday – Sunday: 4pm – late
Note: The gallery is only set to open on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 and the art bar will open soon after this.
84 Kloof Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 72 356 7056
Spier Secret Courtyard
Launched as a precursor to the much-loved Spier Secret Festival in October, this new pop-up wine bar in Wale Street combines the allure of a hidden venue with the excitement of something fleeting. The Spier Secret Courtyard, which is tucked away in an intimate, enchanting alfresco square, opened in mid-February 2014 and is set to vanish again at the end of April. In the meantime, guests in the know can enjoy a series of memorable events in this creative space, including exclusive secret dinners on Thursday nights, live music on Friday evenings and movie screenings after dark on Saturdays. Spier wine is available at cellar door prices (bottles can be purchased to take home too), and a small food menu boasts a variety of innovative, tapas-style snacks, like Farm-style Chicken Liver Pâté and Pasture-reared Beef Biltong. While the imaginative haunt, which is all about collaboration, is open to anyone over the weekend, patrons need to book a seat at the Thursday night events in advance.
Opening times: Thursday – Saturday: 5pm – 10pm (February – April 2014)
64A Wale Street | City Centre | Cape Town | #spiersecret
This charming Bo-Kaap quick-stop is the first vegan restaurant in Cape Town’s city centre dedicated to serving ethical eaters grab-n-go food that’s convenient, affordable AND tasty. Opened by impassioned vegan Adien Aggenbach in mid-February 2014, the CBD café offers up both breakfast and lunches made from 100% plant-based ingredients. Not to mention, raw food enthusiasts and even those with gluten allergies will find at least a few options that align with their dietary requirements. The uber healthy menu includes daily salads, out-of-the-box wraps and sandwiches, freshly pressed juices and a handful of decadent desserts, all of which are made from scratch on site so that the Plant team knows exactly what’s going into each recipe. What’s more, as the restaurant’s adopted a holistic green approach, environmentally conscious diners can rest assured that both the planet and animals have been spared from any suffering during the cooking process.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 4pm; Saturday: 9am – 2pm
Unit R1 Urban Hub | 142 Buitengracht Street | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 422 0239
The Pole Project
Launched in early February 2014 under the leadership of former lawyer and aerial arts performer Kathy Lee, The Pole Project dance studio is committed to training both women and men in the art of pole dancing as both an exercise form and an artistic outlet. Removing all strip club connotations from the act, classes rather focus on improving fitness, toning muscles, burning fat, increasing core strength, enhancing flexibility and building confidence – all major benefits of this performance art. Though, those who do want to explore their sensual side have the option of taking the exotic lessons, which place more emphasis on sexuality. The studio is large, tastefully decorated and spacious, which means that every student gets to practise on their own pole and can hone their skills in a comfortable, professional environment. And if anyone is unsure about whether or not they want to enrol for classes, they can attend one free trial session first.
Opening times: Monday – Thursday: 9:30am – 12pm and 5pm – 9pm; Saturday: 9am – 12:30pm (classes are between one hour and one and a half hours in length)
First Floor | 117 Roeland Street | East City | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 0215
NV-80 Grill & Bar
Founded by the owners of fine dining restaurant group Pigalle, NV-80 Grill & Bar on Sea Point’s Regent Road is a trendy addition to the famed eatery ensemble. The light and airy dining space, which rests in the suburb’s refurbished Checkers centre, focuses on going back to the basics by letting simple food cooked well speak for itself. Being a grillhouse, the restaurant boasts a menu filled with meaty dishes; though, there are a number of salads, fish and seafood options available too, and visitors can count on these being equally well prepared and presented. Aside from fare, NV-80 (the name combines the initials of the co-owners) also specialises in a medley of top-quality drinks, including some of the Cape’s finest wines, French Champagnes and an assortment of summery cocktails. These can be enjoyed within the eatery’s green-hued, Miami-inspired interior or out on the expansive balcony that wraps around the glass-encased heart of the haunt.
Opening times: Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 3:30pm; 6pm – 10:30pm; Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 3:30pm; 6pm – 11pm
Shop 8 | First Floor | The Point | 76 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 439 7112
The Bullion Bar
A little gold mine as far as underground electronic music is concerned, The Bullion Bar in Cape Town’s city centre is a small hidden spot ideal for lovers of techno and deep house. The moody venue sits concealed below street level in a Burg Street basement, and hence it’s the sort of secretive place that you only find out about by word of mouth. Though more relaxed in the early evening, the new nightlife haunt picks up later in the night and regularly plays host to a string of top local and international DJs – Floyd Lavine, Lady M, Malcolm Skene and Bruno Morphet, for example – that are practiced in the area of smooth, soft deep soul tech. The drinks selection is simple, but sufficiently satisfying, with wine, beer, Champagne, bubbly and, as of 1 February 2014, an array of cocktails on offer. Plus, the over-21 bar runs a vodka and Red Bull special on Fridays and Saturdays and a brandy and Coke deal on Fridays. In essence, it’s a great option for electro enthusiasts looking to gather with like-minded individuals in a lesser-known space.
Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday: 4pm – 4am
38 Burg Street (next to O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub) | City Centre | Cape Town | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dining Room
Karen Dudley, the bubbly local chef behind The Kitchen in Woodstock, has expanded her repertoire and taken her offering up a notch with the launch of her new treasure, The Dining Room. Sitting right next to The Kitchen on Sir Lowry Road, the stately restaurant, which features charming hints of the 19th century, casts off the busy bustle of its tiny sister establishment and instead invites guests to sit and connect with friends around intimate tables and over good food. Operating more like a home to which patrons are invited than a traditional eatery, The Dining Room serves up only one or two dishes a day, and the lack of choice is made up for in flavour. For breakfast, guests are treated to options like pancakes and a cooked Turkish spread, and for lunch, there’s generally a single meat dish (think beef brisket, pork belly, smoked salmon or duck) accompanied by a few creative salads. Though it’s not normally open at night, this richly adorned spot can be used for private dinner parties for groups of 20 or more – the lovely Karen does all the catering and is sure to infuse the occasion with her infectious energy.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 3pm (private functions can be arranged for any night of the week).
117 Sir Lowry Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0) 82 710 5824
Mondiall Kitchen & Bar
The joint project of famed local Grand Chef Peter Tempelhoff and international restaurateur Patrick Symington, Mondiall Kitchen & Bar glided onto the V&A Waterfront’s restaurant scene with old-world grace and glamour in late November 2013. The much-anticipated new eatery pays tribute to many of the world’s most-loved culinary classics by injecting old-time favourites with a contemporary, gourmand twist. Visitors will find everything from Asian-style Steak Tartar, Ramen Noodles and Cape Malay Lamb Curry to Fish Tacos, Waldorf Salad and Maple and Pecan Pie on the various different menus, and can indulge in these dishes while soaking up awe-inspiring views of the harbour and Table Mountain. Being right on the water’s edge, the brasserie-style hotspot, which claims an alfresco wooden deck and a beautifully-adorned old-meets-new interior, is also an ideal place for sundowners and offers a broad medley of cocktails. Mondiall is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tapas and dinner, and small private parties can also be booked on the stylish mezzanine level.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 9am – 10pm; Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 10pm
Alfred Mall (in old Green Dolphin location)| Quay Four | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 418 3003
Based on the edge of Cape Town’s Gardens Shopping Centre, the new specialist Swimmable school – it opened in early December 2013 – is the ideal place for wannabe water babies to hone their skills in an aqua environment. The contemporary training centre offers 30-minute group or private swimming lessons for babies, toddlers, children and beginner adults, and all classes take place in a heated, undercover pool that’s chlorine free (and hence easy on the eyes and skin). As a Swimming Teachers’ Association-accredited institution, the facility employs expert instructors that are highly trained and makes use of only the latest in Speedo training aids. What’s more, it boasts spacious changing rooms with hot showers and a comfy waiting area where parents can relax and enjoy snacks and coffee from the on-site café while keeping an eye on their little ones in the pool through a large glass frame. In addition to being a hot new facility for infants and grown-ups learning to swim, Swimmable is also a great venue for kids’ parties, and because it’s all indoors, the lessons or birthday bash can continue no matter what the weather.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 5:30pm; Saturday: 8:30am – 1pm
Shop 3 | Gardens Shopping Centre | Corner of Mill and Buitenkant streets | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 79 591 4471
Le Roi Beach Bar
A veritable treat for the senses, the artsy, Tretchikoff-inspired Le Roi Beach Bar, which opened on Camps Bay’s main seaside stretch in early November 2013, spoils visitors with plush textures, stunning artwork and gorgeous views of the beach below. Somehow managing to be both regal and relaxed, the retro-slick spot is the ideal new venue to enjoy an ice-cold sundowner at dusk and sexy tunes after dark. The marble bar serves up local wines, beers, MCCs and French Champagnes alongside an assortment of creative cocktails made from fresh, summery fruits (options include a pressed apple margarita and watermelon martini). Then there’s also a limited selection of delicious food platters – seasonal fruit, sushi or cured meat – to keep the peckish satisfied. As for the music side, well, revellers can chill out to ambient deep house grooves fashioned by top South African DJs like Dean FUEL and Craig De Sousa. Prices are reasonable given the location, and entry is free.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday: 4pm – 2am (in peak summer 2013, the bar will open on Mondays too and from 2pm on weekends)
Shop 104 | The Promenade | Victoria Road | Camps Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 437 1791
Publik Wine Bar
A perfect example of what can come from the collaboration of two passionate foodies, the new Publik wine bar – it opened in early November 2013 – is the brainchild of local blogger David Cope and meat entrepreneur Andy Fenner. The stylishly simple pub is located within the walls of the new and improved Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants (it relocated to Church Street), and in the same way that the butchery champions rare, ethically sourced cuts, the vino tavern focuses on unusual varietals that have been cultivated sustainably. The wine menu changes daily, but always introduces customers to new options they’ve likely never seen or tasted before, and patrons can pair their full-bodied Cinsault or crisp Riesling with a choice of tapas, including charcuterie platters and olive bowls. Of course, if visitors arrive early enough, they can also pick up a top-notch slice of beef, chicken, lamb or pork from the adjacent meat shop, which displays all of its goings-on through large glass panels. In essence, this is an unconventional new spot to grab a dop with mates, but one that’s got all the hip appeal necessary to lure a solid slice of the city centre crowd.
Opening times: Publik: Monday – Friday: 4pm – 10pm; Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants: Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 5:30pm, Saturday: 9am – 3pm
81 Church Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 7204 (contact number for the butchery only; Publik does not have a landline)
Slip Slops Kitchen Bar
This charming new beach-themed café in Noordhoek perfectly captures the lazy, sunny vibe of the seaside suburb it rests in. With both indoor and outdoor areas and a spectacular panoramic view of the distant ocean, the family-friendly eatery, which was opened in mid-November 2013 by Cape Town local Phillip Myburgh, is an ideal dining out choice for slip slops-wearers and chilled-out types. Its menu features a diverse selection of easy-eating items, including design-your-own breakfasts, pizza, pasta, seafood, steaks and burgers (there’s a bun-free option), and there are also a number of choices for kiddies, who can while away their time on the outside jungle gym. Plus, the bar serves up a wide variety of wines and an array of cocktails that are arguably some of the finest on the Cape Peninsula (think creative concoctions like a Candyfloss Martini and the brandy-infused Ama-Lekkerlicious). Thus, Slip Slops is also a great spot for sundowners and a very welcome new addition to a neighbourhood that channels an eternal summer feel.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 8am – 10:30pm
Corner of Beach Road and Pine Weg | Noordhoek | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 789 0122
*The above information was updated in March 2014
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