Explore South Africa’s amazing biodiversity without leaving home
Feel at home at A Touch of Madness in Observatory
The recently upgraded restaurant and bar in a converted Victorian is a place to put up your feet and relax
Two years ago, when Observatory locals Olivia and Richard Andrews found out that a Touch of Madness was closing down, they were devastated. As regulars who live two doors down, the iconic restaurant space in a converted Victorian house has become like a second home.
So they decided to revive it and return it to the community institution it had been for so many years. “Our aim was to create a neighbourhood meeting place where everyone is welcome and attract a diverse crowd,” explained Olivia.
With its many different rooms, A Touch of Madness has a space to suit every occasion, and every personality. There are four indoor and two outdoor areas in the house, giving it the lively feel of a laid back house party.
Because of the wide choice, A Touch of Madness attracts a varied crowd from students to first dates to young families. They also host a number of events and meet-ups, each attracting a different group of people. GO players on Tuesday, Chess team on Wednesday, Off the Wall Poetry as well as the Cape Town Irish session band on Thursdays are just a few of the niche special interest groups that meet.
On the weekend, Saturday DJs attract a younger crowd of students ready to dance and enjoy a cold beer on the sunny front porch. Monthly Saturday events also include an LGTBQIA-positive party, Electro-Swing parties and Beer festivals.
The bar at a Touch of Madness offers a wide selection of drinks with a price range to suit all budgets. They have a selection of 12 local craft beers on tap, including the exclusive house-brewed Drunken Donkey created by owner Richard Andrews. It’s a Summer Ale with a mild malty flavour. It has low bitterness with a fruit aroma and made from local South African hops.
If you prefer a wilder sundowner, the signature cocktail is called the The Anglo Turkish Delight, and is made with gin, tonic, rose syrup and a dash of bitters. For something a bit easier on the pocket, there are cocktails by the jug which can be shared between friends.
There is also an amazing selection of local wines by the glass and bottle. You can enjoy Happy Hour everyday from 5-6pm.
The menu is inspired by street food from around the world, and the result is an eclectic range of everything from burgers and ribs to nachos, bunny chows and falafels.
As passionate environmentalists and vegetarians, the Andrews have ensured that the vegetarian burger is a standout on the menu. The patty is made with beetroot, mushrooms and spinach. The burger comes topped with caramelised onions and melted cheese, served with hand-cut fries and aioli and a fresh garden salad. There are a number of vegetarian and vegan options available on the menu including the hearty falafel pita and the burrito or nachos with refried beans. For meat eaters, the chilli popper burger is a popular choice, topped with bacon, roasted jalapeno peppers and melted cheese.
The restaurant has recently added healthy salads to their menu including a Caprese salad and a Mediterranean salad.
On top of the Happy Hour which runs everyday there’s a different special on food or drinks for almost every day of the week. There’s Taco Tuesday (free beer with any taco), Wine Wednesday (happy hour all day and all night on selected wine) and Thirsty Thursday (happy hour all day and all night on selected craft beer).
Most importantly, a Touch of Madness is a spot best enjoyed with others. Each space lends itself perfectly to a different occasions from birthday dinners in the front room with its extended dining table, a cosy date under the fairy lights in the courtyard, a catch up with your bestie at the bar or watching the game with your mates in the lounge.
A visit to A Touch of Madness feels like being welcomed to a friend’s house.
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