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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.
Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
Launched in early April 2015 by two ladies who are fanatical about felines, Panthera Africa is a safe haven for captive-born big cats that have been rescued from breeding facilities, private holdings, zoos and circuses. The aim of the 40-hectare retreat, which is covered in trees and fynbos, is to give the resident lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, caracals and jackals the best life possible by providing them with constant stimulation and a secure dwelling place. Though, the refuge also aims to educate the public about the conditions enslaved felines often face, and so it also runs daily guided tours that acquaint visitors with the animals and teach them about wildlife welfare and conservation. Aside from the standard experience, there’s also the option to embark on an enrichment or feeding visit, which includes the chance to see the cats climbing up structures, hunting for food or playing with toys. The sanctuary is a welcome addition to the Western Cape for all those who are eager to learn more about our feline friends, and, of course, it’s a positive development for all suffering cats too.
Opening times: Standard Educational Visits: Wednesday – Monday: 10am – 12pm; 12pm – 2pm; 2pm – 4pm; Enrichment/Feeding Visits: By special arrangement only.
Note: For the first few months after the sanctuary’s opening, it’s essential to pre-book a visit.
Stanford | Western Cape | +27 (0)76 974 3088/ +27 (0)84 866 2665
Abseiling Tours at Paarl Rock
Thoughintrepid adventurers have long been scuttling up and down the slopes of the iconic Paarl Rock unguided, the January 2015 launch of formal abseiling excursions at this site means that anyone and everyone can now enjoy this experience. The four-hour tours are led by experienced guide Eckhardt Conradie, who knows everything there is to know about mountaineering, and they include not only the descending adventure but also educational information about the history and culture of Paarl and the region’s flora and fauna. Not to mention, guests can enjoy spectacular 360° views of the surrounding Cape Winelands from the top of the mountain and can tuck into snacks and refreshments when they reach the bottom of the 100-m drop. The excursion is ideal for both experienced climbers and novices (even kids from 12 years of age and up), and a lot of emphasis is put on safety so that everyone can just relax and have a good time.
Operating times: Monday – Sunday: time is flexible (tours run all year around, but not in rainy conditions)
Cascade Country Manor | Waterval Road | Paarl | +27 (0)21 868 0227 (address for the initial meeting point)
Set on giving all visitors a complete culinary experience, Table View’s new Homespun restaurant is the ideal spot for all foodies who believe that a dish is a journey, not just sustenance. Every meal is beautifully presented on the plate, with careful attention paid to texture, freshness and the balance of unusual flavours, so that diners feel like their taste buds are embarking on a real adventure. The menu includes starters like baked camembert tart with cranberry compote, mains like 31 day-matured fillet medallions served on a garlic sweet potato stack and desserts like vanilla and honey cheesecake with granadilla coulis and fudge crumbs. And the look and feel lives up to the food offering: it’s part steampunk, part Victorian, and velvety fabrics and low lighting lend the whole space a very special, romantic allure. Booking is essential as Homespun fills up quickly.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday: 6pm – 10:30pm (in April 2015, the restaurant will open for lunch from 11am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays)
Porterfield Road (opposite St Elmo’s) | Table View | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 556 2824
Con Brio Bistro
The latest addition to the friendly, windy suburb of Vredehoek, Con Brio Bistro is a small dining spot that artfully balances being both a stylish restaurant that’s ideal for adults and a welcoming eating out option for families. Little ones are catered for with a number of mini menu items (there’s also a special that entitles all kids to a free meal on Tuesdays) and grown-up foodies are treated to a range of fresh, seasonal dishes made with gourmet finesse. The highlight of the menu is the selection of tapas-style small plates, which includes options like deep-fried gnocchi, a creamy mussel pot and beef carpaccio, all of which go down a treat with a glass of wine. Though, for those who are eager to tuck into a sizeable meal, there are a number of larger mains, and for those who prefer to stay away from meat, there’s a good range of vegetarian options. Aesthetically, the owner-run venue is warm, inviting and easy-going and the whole experience is designed to make guests feel right at home.
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday: 12pm – 10:30pm; Sunday: 10am – 4pm
2 Deer Park Drive (next to The Woodlands Eatery) | Vredehoek | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 461 9957
Both a play place and a work space, the new Batstone Pool, which sits atop the Cape Quarter lifestyle centre in Green Point, brings rooftop culture to Cape Town in a particularly stylish way. The chic sky-high venue combines a swimming pool, a café and bar and a co-working arena, making it the ideal place to visit for a swim, snack, sip and session of Web surfing. While the pool deck and shaded sun lounger section are only available to those who have paid the daily walk-in rate, the eatery and meeting zone are open to anyone, as long as they purchase a drink (there are beers, cocktails, wines and more) or a plate of eats (anything from salads and sandwiches to a cheese or meat platter is on offer). To make the work process a little easier, Batstone offers fast free Wi-fi and is home to multiple plug points and several larger tables. Not to mention, it’s also base to a spectacular view of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and the city skyline – a fact that certainly helps to stimulate innovative thinking. For those who want permanent, unlimited access to this idyllic destination, there is the option to take out a long-term membership package – just contact the venue for details.
Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday: 11am – sunset (the pool is closed on rainy days and during the months of July and August)
Fourth Floor | Cape Quarter Square |27 Somerset Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)79 973 8368
The Riverway Café
Nestled on the bank of the Baviaanskloof stream, The Riverway Café is a delightful new addition to Hout Bay’s daytime dining scene. The shabby-chic eatery is the brainchild of Julie Ragavelas, who also owns the Ragafellows and Spiro’s restaurants with her husband, and it’s a decidedly more feminine space than its counterparts. Botanical touches and vintage collectables dot the interior and lend it an understated elegance, while a large selection of decadent baked goods (Banting brownies and cheesecake included) tempt the taste buds from an antique display cabinet. The kitchen specialises in crafting simple, well-made breakfast and lunch items that feature a contemporary twist, and visitors are encouraged to try the smashed avocado on toast with balsamic beads, the Middle Eastern shakshuka and the Piggy Poppers, which come stuffed with BBQ pulled pork and cream cheese. And for a special occasion? We recommend booking a table for a luxurious high tea.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm; Saturday: 8am – 4pm; Sunday: 9am – 3pm
Shop 9 | Midpoint Centre | Mainstream Avenue | Hout Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 791 0565
The latest addition to Cape Town’s creative scene, the Space Between gallery in Woodstock was opened by young painter Megan Theunissen out of frustration about the fact that there are no Mother City institutions supporting underground artists. Needless to say, the second-storey exhibition space is dedicated to displaying the works of ‘lowbrow’, alternative creatives whose style doesn’t fit in traditional categories. Many of the individuals exhibiting here – the list includes the likes of graffiti guru Nardstar and digital artist Steve ‘Crack’ – have a background in street art and plenty to say about society. The pieces range from paintings and pen illustrations to charcoal drawings and installations, and all of them display great technical skill while also carrying a message. Shows run for one week every month and change regularly, so keep an eye on the gallery’s Facebook page to find out what’s happening when.
Opening times: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 6pm; Saturday: 10am – 2pm (these hours only apply when shows are on)
The Loft (above the Garagista Beer Co.) | 139 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0)76 213 0442
Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar
Sitting just a short walk down from popular cocktail bar Orphanage, Mother’s Ruin is, according to its owners, the very first dedicated gin bar in Africa. The idea for the double-storey venue came about when the founders (brothers Rob and Mark Mulholland) encountered the current gin craze in the US, and they established the bar to help get the movement going on local shores. With over 80 different variations of the spirit imported from all over the world, the modern joint gives visitors a chance to really experience the versatility of the drink, and guests can opt to have a shot with tonic water or mixed into a creative cocktail. The latter selection includes heavenly options like the Strawberry Fields (a mix of gin, strawberry juice, lemon juice and ground pepper) and the Klein Slaaitjie (gin, elderflower, tonic water, mint and cucumber). There are also a few food platters on the go, and it all can be enjoyed in the sleek upstairs area, in the retro lounge downstairs or in the bottom-floor alfresco courtyard.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 4pm – 2am
219 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)82 455 2223
The 360 Lounge
Whether you’re into FIFA 15, Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, this chic social gaming lounge in Green Point is bound to be your favourite new play place. Opened by former avid gamer Craig Turner, the console kingdom, which sits in the Cape Quarter Square lifestyle centre, is modelled on similar hotspots in the UK and is all about bringing button bashers together under one roof so that they can compete and collaborate face-to-face rather than just virtually. The vibey atmosphere makes the experience of gaming even more exhilarating, and the concept store is also ideal for those who can’t play undistracted at home or who don’t have a fast Internet connection. In terms of the offering, the lounge has 2 Xbox Ones and 10 Xbox 360s and customers can select from an assortment of the latest games and then relax in a leather reclining chair and play away. Patrons are charged based on time packages – you can buy anything from one hour on a machine for R55 to 50 hours for R1495.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 11pm; Saturday: 10am – 11pm; Sunday: 10am – 9pm (the lounge opens a little earlier on weekdays during the holiday season)
Cape Quarter Square Shopping Centre (Inside next to Villa Mia restaurant)| 41 Napier Street | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)76 386 5412
Manenberg’s Jazz Café at The Camissa Courtyard
For years since it first opened on Adderley Street in 1994, Manenberg’s Jazz Café was the meeting place of people from all cultures and backgrounds and a source of musical joy for many. So, needless to say, the club’s many regulars were heartbroken when it closed down in 2008 and equally elated when it re-opened in December 2014 exactly 20 years after its initial birth. Now based within the leafy Camissa Courtyard on Strand Street, the long-time institution still aims to bring locals together under the banner of great jazz. The venue features live music seven nights a week and anyone from renowned guitarist Allou April to jazz legend Alvin Dyers can be expected to grace the stage at Manenberg’s at one point or another. Because the club is also a sit-down restaurant, guests can tuck into tasty dishes while they tap their feet – the menu features traditional Cape cuisine, including seafood, braai eats and Malay curries. Entrance costs R60p/p on Friday and Saturday evenings and R50p/p on all other nights of the week.
Opening times: Monday – Thursday: 9:30am – midnight; Friday – Saturday: 9:30am – 2am; Sunday: 4pm – midnight
96 Strand Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 839 5126
Opened in early November 2014 on Sea Point’s Regent Road, Kleinsky’s Delicatessen is committed to breathing new life into Jewish cultural cuisine, which for so long has been associated with older generations and ancient tradtions. The hip deli, which is modelled on similar spots in New York, boasts clean, contemporary décor that invites in the younger crowd to enjoy free Wi-fi and Deluxe Coffeeworks java alongside an assortment of Yiddish foods that have been given a modern spin. On the menu, visitors will find options like challah french toast, potato latke benedict, smoked salmon bagels, hot pastrami on rye, matzo ball soup, chopped liver and rugelach. Though, observant Jews should note that the dishes are not kosher – the restaurant is more about promoting food that’s central to Jewish culture and close to the owners’ hearts than about conforming to any dietary laws.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 8:30am – 4:30pm (soon Kleinsky’s will stay open until 8:30pm for after-work drinks and dinner take-outs)
95 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 433 2871
The Company's Garden Restaurant
In late November 2014, Madame Zingara, a celebrated local hospitality group that’s synonymous with all things quirky and eccentric, transformed the old Company’s Garden Tea Room into a chic new restaurant. The spacious, serene eatery pays homage to its location in Cape Town’s most historical park by incorporating a number of traditional Cape dishes on its diverse menu (think bobotie, smoorsnoek sandwiches, koeksisters and brandy pudding). Similarly, in its design, it takes its cue from its lush surrounds to bring in an assortment of natural elements that lend the spot a tranquil, organic feel. As the kid-friendly breakfast and lunch venue was launched as part of a larger project aimed at revitalising the garden, it does its bit to draw locals and tourists into the greenway by including a number of whimsical play spaces (a giant chess board, for example) and by simply being an alluring space to spend a morning or afternoon.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 6pm (kitchen closes at 5pm)
The Company’s Garden | Queen Victoria Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 423 2919
Spasie Underground Restaurant and Private Event Space
Tucked away in the colourful Bo-Kaap, the new Spasie is the first underground restaurant in Cape Town that, like a pop-up eatery, offers a unique experience every time, but quite unlike one, is open regularly. Every week, the rustic-chic space hosts a new top chef who is tasked with creating an innovative four- or five-course menu and serving it to guests for two nights only (Thursday and Friday). It’s a chance for cooks to get creative and an opportunity for diners to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meal that will never be available again. What’s more, visitors can also interact with the chef directly and hear how each dish is made. On Wednesdays, Spasie runs a private, invitation-only shindig that’s open to an elite group of lucky Capetonians, and on all other evenings, the space can be hired for personal functions and events, like birthday bashes and bachelor parties. The dinners cost between R550p/p (without wine pairings) and R650p/p (with wine pairings), and space is very limited.
Opening times: Wednesday: 7pm – 11pm (invitation only); Thursday – Friday: 7pm – midnight (booking essential)
97 Church Street | Bo-Kaap | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 422 1492
Kloof Street’s café scene has expanded once again thanks to the late October launch of this classy, cosmopolitan coffee shop. Established by two friends who met while working at Yours Truly just up the road, Molten Toffee is, quite simply, about great-tasting java and good company. The owners are enthusiastic people persons, so the vibe at the eatery is always social and welcoming and you’ll likely even be greeted by name when you pop in for that creamy cappuccino or latte. Though full-bodied cups of joe are the shop’s speciality (the chic décor even takes its cue from the warm, caramel colours of the drink), the shop also sells freshly pressed fruit and veg juice, toasted sandwiches, croissants, salads, muesli and yoghurt cups and more. Not to mention, the deli fridge up front is always stocked with a delicious range of sweet treats and savoury eats (think cake pops, peanut butter cups, roast vegetable quiche and fruit tarts). Needless to say, Molten Toffee is a great new stopover option on the way to work or on the return trip home.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 7am – 5pm
45B Kloof Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 422 2885
N2Ice Cream Lab
Opened just in time for the warm season in late September 2014, N2Ice Cream Lab is a frozen dessert bar with a difference. The contemporary kiosk, which is based at The Emporium shopping centre in Parklands, has gone all scientific on the ice cream making procedure and is the first permanent store in South Africa to use liquid nitrogen to freeze its treats. Because the chilling process is so fast, the ice crystals that form in the mixture are microscopic and thus the final product is smoother, richer and creamier that regular ice cream. The chemistry-themed store currently has five fixed flavours on offer – chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, turkish delight and piña colada – and it often treats customers to a special guest flavour, like Nutella or lemon meringue. Fans can then decorate their purchase with an assortment of delicious toppings, such as mini marshmallows, fudge crumble and jelly beans, and take pleasure in the pudding’s unique velvety texture.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 10am – 6:30pm; Saturday: 10am – 5pm; Sunday: 10am – 4pm
Atrium Kiosk (next to the Food Lover’s Market) | The Emporium Shopping Centre | Sandown Road | Parklands | Cape Town | +27 (0)84 516 1818
Music van de Caab Museum
Opened in early October 2014 at Solms-Delta wine farm in the Franschhoek Valley, this intimate museum is the first exhibition space in the world entirely dedicated to documenting and honouring the Cape’s musical heritage. Through a series of touchscreen panels, the venue introduces visitors to the origins of local genres and looks at the impact of outside forces on Mzansi melodies. It also explores the way in which music has been used as a healing and uniting force during the times of slavery and apartheid, and so touches quite deeply on South Africa’s political history too. Not to mention, there’s a special section that’s home to multiple replicas of indigenous instruments, like ankle rattles, mouth bows and oil can guitars, and guests can either watch guides demonstrate how to use the tools or they can try their hands at playing them themselves. Entry to the Music van de Caab museum is free, unless you wish to take a guided tour, in which case entry is charged at R50p/p (including a wine tasting session).
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm
Solms-Delta Wine Farm | Delta Road (Off the R45) | Franschhoek Valley | +27 (0)21 874 3937
When this authentic Japanese noodle bar opened its doors in the Mother City in August 2014 it not only became the first of its kind in Cape Town, it also officially put our metropolis on the map as part of the craze that’s swept Japan since the 80s. Ramen, which is a rich, salty dish made up of equal parts broth and noodles as well as an assortment of toppings, has a cult-like following on the Asian archipelago, and now Downtown Ramen is giving locals the chance to get to know the culinary icon. Perched on top of Lefty’s Dive Bar in The Fringe, the hip little eatery is small and carefully thought out, and its menu is much the same. Diners can tuck into one of three traditional, homemade baos (steamed buns) packed with various fillings or slurp up either of the ramen options – there are pork and tofu versions. Japanese beer and sake are also on offer as is a selection of more familiar tipple. Just keep in mind that the joint doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to fight bare-knuckle, samurai-style for a table and to share bench space with members of the colourful crowd.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 6pm – 10pm
103 Harrington Street (second storey of Lefty’s Dive Bar) | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 0407
Cape Canopy Tour
Based in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve in the lush Elgin Valley, this exciting adventure activity is the first canopy tour to be launched so close to the Mother City (only an hour away). The four hour-long expedition takes explorers from platform to platform via 11 stainless steel slides and one suspension bridge, and while gliding down the cables, patrons can take in spectacular views of waterfalls and rivers in the gorge far down below. While lots of fun for both adults and kids, the tour also gives nature enthusiasts the chance to witness the hills and dips of a stunning region that was previously inaccessible. To help guests get the most out of it, guides accompany travellers and treat them to interesting titbits of information about the area and the fauna and flora, and of course, they look out for visitors’ safety too. The experience costs R595p/p (there’s a discount of R40 for Wild Card holders), and this price includes snacks and lunch.
Operating times: Monday – Sunday: 8am (first tour leaves) – 2pm (last tour leaves)
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve | R321 | Elgin Valley | +27 (0)21 300 0501
Perched on the ground floor of Cape Town’s tallest building (the Portside Tower), Borage Bistro, which opened in May 2014, is one of the hottest new spots to hit the city’s CBD. This is in part because its kitchen is helmed by rising culinary star Frank Marks, who has worked under the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Luke Dale-Roberts at top 100 restaurants like The Fat Duck and The Test Kitchen, and in part because it aims to do something rather different: to introduce fine dining cooking techniques to breakfast and lunch. The set menu features to-die-for European items like French toast with maple syrup, caramelised banana and homemade berry compote as well as a number of hot and cold sandwiches, and the ever-changing lunch offering includes dishes such as gnocchi beef ragu, open chicken pie and paella with saffron risotto, whisked pea foam, quail, prawns, kingklip and calamari. Regardless of the fancy food though, the ambience is upmarket but relaxed, making Borage as ideal for a well-heeled business breakfast as it is for a laidback brunch with friends.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 7am – 4pm; Saturday: 8am – 1pm
7B Ground Floor | Portside Tower | Cnr. of Buitengracht Street and Hans Strijdom Avenue | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 418 0992
*The above information was updated in March 2015
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