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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.
The Bacon Pop-up Bar
Open until March or April 2015, this June 2014 addition to Franschhoek’s main road has Cape Winelands residents squealing with delight over its smoky, salty pork-centric offering. The pop-up restaurant was launched by crackling-crazed Nikki Friedman as an ode to her deep-seated love for bacon and as a way to bring high-quality artisan rashers to the people. Of course, the menu features only piggy-inspired dishes, like hog mac and cheese, bacon-roasted nuts, French toast with bacon and maple syrup, bacon brownies and bacon choc-chip cookies. But it doesn’t stop there – the founder and her team have gone the whole hog and adorned every corner of the venue with swine-themed décor: an origami pig curtain hangs in front of one window, little pink hoof prints trot across the floor, a ‘family wall’ of photos features historical prints that have been photobombed with red rashers and two Statue of Liberty-esque hogs welcome visitors at the entrance to the bar. Essentially, it’s a fun, whimsical space where pork lovers can pig out and get their bac-on.
Opening times: Wednesday: 8:30am – 5pm; Thursday: 8:30am – 8pm (there’s an evening bacon burger special on Thursdays); Friday – Saturday: 8:30am – 5pm; Sunday: 8:30am – 3pm
16 Huguenot Road (between FNB and Le Quartier Français) | Franschhoek | +27 (0) 21 876 8443
Cold Press Juice Bar
This June 2014 addition to De Waterkant’s Cape Quarter Square shopping centre is no ordinary juice bar. For starters, it’s the first beverage-focused café in the country to cold press its juices rather than blending them in a centrifugal juicer – a commitment that ensures that no essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals or enzymes are lost from its delicious nectars. Furthermore, it looks nothing like your average fresh, white health shop either. Rather, Cold Press claims a darker, urban, edgy feel; it is dotted with industrial and metallic elements (exposed pipes and metal light fittings, for instance) and boasts a buzzing, contemporary vibe. So, guests can enjoy their juice, smoothie, breakfast, sandwich or salad within a fun and hip setting that helps to make healthy drinking and eating less intimidating or anxiety-provoking. All of their items, from the cheekily named Kaleifornication juice (it contains kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon and fresh ginger) to the Hot Tuna sandwich (with tuna, tomato, avo and jalapeños), are available either while sitting down in the bar or as takeaways, so you can settle in and enjoy the energy of the space or grab some cold-pressed goodness on the way past.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 6pm
Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village: The Square | 27 Somerset Road | De Waterkant | Cape Town | email@example.com
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
Set on transporting guests back to a time when Elvis and Marilyn reigned supreme, the new Franky’s Diner in Sea Point, which opened in mid-June 2014, is a charming retro burger joint that’s got the 50s decade down to a tee. Not only does the intimate eatery boast red-and-white vinyl booths, neon lighting, black-and-white chequered flooring, vintage paraphernalia and a jukebox, but it also specialises in the sort of food you’d expect to find at an eatery from Grease. The menu features authentic American diner items like sloppy joes, corn dogs, sundaes, soda floats, curly fries and waffles, with the stars of the show being the café’s killer burgers and thick, decadent milkshakes (there are flavours like Ginger Colada, Candy Apple, Kiwi and Bubblegum and Macadamia and Dark Chocolate). Though the restaurant’s all decked out for adults – there are cell phone charging facilities and touch-screen televisions at every booth – it welcomes wee ones too and claims a kiddies corner, baby changing station and children’s menu. So, Franky’s is the sort of hangout for the whole family, particularly those who are fans of the 50s.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 2am (within six months of opening, Franky’s will start staying open 24 hours a day in true diner fashion)
303a Main Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 433 0445
Hard Pressed Cafe
Another new addition to Cape Town’s ever-evolving Bree Street, Hard Pressed Cafe brings together coffee, food and vinyl in a trendy and inviting setting that’s already got the CBD’s cool crowd talking. With a main focus on music, the little beautifully designed outlet stocks a range of records for sale from both bands of yore – think Pink Floyd, The Police, Air Supply and Led Zeppelin – and modern-day artists, like Lana Del Rey and Adele. And it offers great options for java lovers too; not only does the café brew cappuccinos, espressos, lattes and more that are full of rich flavour, but it also creates a few rather innovative blends, like a mix of espresso, chocolate chips and peanut butter, that take their names from musical icons. For the peckish, there’s a limited selection of affordable bites (think bagels, salads, sandwiches and brownies), and for those just looking to while away an afternoon in a laidback environment, there’s free Wi-fi as well as puzzles, board games and books.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 7am – 5pm; Saturday: 8am – 2pm
Portside Tower | 1 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)79 066 8888
Treetop Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch
Finally opened to the public after months of anticipation in late May 2014, the breathtaking treetop canopy walkway at Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a stunning tribute to the renowned greenway’s centenary year. The 130m-long wood and galvanised steel boardwalk twists and turns its way between the tree trunks of the garden’s Arboretum, offering visitors the rare opportunity to wander amidst the upper boughs of this old indigenous forest. At its highest point (12m above the woodland floor), the footpath balances above the tree crowns and allows for spectacular views that extend all the way to the misty Hottentots-Holland mountain range in the distance. Perfect for adults and kids, the new addition is both fun and educational – it comes complete with information boards about the flora and fauna that walkers are bound to encounter at canopy level – and is bound to be a popular garden attraction for decades to come. Meandering over the footpath costs nothing at all, but visitors are still required to pay the standard Kirstenbosch entrance fee.
Opening times: (summer) Monday – Sunday: 8am – 7pm; (winter) Monday – Sunday: 8am – 6pm
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden | Rhodes Drive | Newlands | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 799 8783
Raw and Roxy
Sitting pretty in a corner of the edgy Woodstock Co-op on Albert Road, this new raw vegan café, which opened in April 2014, is set on putting the hip into healthy eating. The tiny deli and patisserie – it’s just one wooden counter, a few seats and a fridge – was founded by the glamorous Danish-born Beatrice Holst, who has cooked for celebrities around the world and is devoted to giving plant-based nosh a gourmet spin. Hence, visitors to the little shop can expect delicious, flavour-rich dishes, like stripped zucchini pasta with a creamy cashew nut sauce; kale chips spiced with chilli, red pepper, sundried tomato and garlic; and Asian salad with raisins, dates, pink salt, lemon juice and more. Not to mention, the various sweet treats that Beatrice whips up – think avocado-based chocolate tarts, macaroons made from coconut, cacao butter and almond flakes and the likes – are good enough to convert anyone to the vegan way. The focus at Raw and Roxy is on takeaway meals, so those on-the-go can just pick up a quick snack or a nutrient-rich smoothie or freshly pressed juice, like the heavenly Love Elixir (a mix of pomegranates, black grapes, ginger and rose water). No matter what you opt for, the charismatic owner promised you’ll leave feeling fresher, healthier and more energetic.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm; Saturday: 9am – 3:30pm
Woodstock Co-op | 363 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0)79 599 6277
PitMasters Food Truck
The recently launched PitMasters food truck – it joined the Mother City’s mobile dining movement in late April 2014 – is introducing locals to delicious smoked meat dishes made the Southern United States way. The brightly adorned van, which is owned by well-travelled foodie couple Deleen and Wouter Lindeque, sells pulled pork butt, pulled beef chuck and sliced beef brisket, all served on panini rolls and topped with crisp coleslaw. Before they’re served to customers, the tender cuts of meat are sprinkled with a delicious dry rub and cooked over hard wood and grapevines for more than 20 hours to achieve that irresistible smoky flavour and succulent texture. Though the nomadic trailer is predominantly a takeaway venture, patrons who want to linger a while can take a seat on the Arabian-style carpet that’s stretched out just next to the van and enjoy their meal in a more leisurely way. Currently, the truck only makes a stop at the Oudekraal lookout point on Sundays, but there are plans for it to grace many other locations in the near future. Not to mention, it’s also available for hire for any function or event.
Opening times:Sunday: 11am – sunset
Note: Follow the truck on Twitter (@pitmastersrsa) or Facebook (PitmastersRSA) or call +27 (0)81 336 4430 to ascertain its whereabouts on any given day.
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 | email@example.com
*The above information was updated in July 2014
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