Half the fun of the Secret Forest Café is finding it
Beefcakes serves up camp in Cape Town
Do you like carousel horses? Pay Beefcakes a visit and you’ll find out why I asked.
Pst! Have you heard? There’s a reason why the streets are empty in De Waterkant – everyone is at Beefcakes. The Beefcake Boys, Andrew and Grant Eglin, invite you to grab hold of their package – a 50’s American diner, complete with legendary burgers, fabulous entertainment , gorgeous waiters and downstairs bar, Studio 54. Did I mention it’s as mad as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?
I’ve always noticed Beefcakes on my way home from work – it’s hard not to. The exterior overshadows restaurants that share the same block, like a big pink marshmallow. I heard a rumour that their burgers are gigantic, which suits my gigantic appetite. I also heard it’s the place to be for fabulous drag acts, which suits a self-confessed fag hag. So, I took it upon myself to check it out for you.
My date and I were welcomed by Andrew and his happy team of waiters, then whisked off to the bar for drinks. I felt like I’d chanced upon Barbie’s hidden lair – a pink fantasy of feather boa’s, fairy lights and Florida flamingo’s arranged in compromising positions. I couldn’t help but check out the muscle bound waiters in tight T-shirts. They can’t have got that buff by eating the burgers, so I figured they were probably lifting them.
Our table boasted comfy suede seats and afforded us fantastic views of the crowd. The restaurant was packed, which speaks volumes about its popularity. Fashionistas from all backgrounds buzzed with conversation and laughter.
Gorgeous waiter, Jeht, handed us the extensive wine list, priced at R130-R390 per bottle, and we settled on Beyerskloof Pinotage. Whilst sipping, we perused a menu of tongue-in-cheek offerings of appetizers, salads and burgers including; Buffy the Hamburger Slayer and Chili on the Willy. All are served with a choice of ostrich, beef or chicken and accompanied by spicy wedges, fries or salad, from R79-R129.
Fabulous chilli poppers and gorgeous burgers
I wondered if the grandeur and impeccable service was put in place to disguise mediocre food, but I was wrong. The Beefcake Boys delivered their whole package. To start, we shared Poppers – 4 jalapeno chili peppers, crumbed, fried and filled with ricotta cheese that popped in your mouth. I opted for Buffy the Hamburger Slayer – bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, avocado and mushroom sauce. My ostrich burger was cooked to medium rare perfection and the toppings were a perfect complement. My date chose the Gourmet Burger - mature camembert with cranberry jelly, topped with spicy rocket.
Jeht told us that he eats the burgers all the time, which disproved my earlier theory.
Like the wacky interior, the burgers were almost too much to take in. My date and I observed from all angles, wondering how to pick them up. I glanced at trendy diners, wondering if they were contemplating the same thing, or if I was the only one that would end up recreating the ‘hair gel’ scene from There’s Something About Mary. But as soon as you’ve got the remains of a burger plastered all over your face and you’re dancing with a drag queen, inhibitions are left at the door.
This is exactly the atmosphere that The Beefcake Boys set out to achieve. The vibe is madness, camp and frivolity in a venue that encompasses everyone. Enjoy ballads from drag queen, Odidiva, or watch the football on a plasma screen. Andrew told me that one patron is regularly seen watching Barcelona matches, oblivious to feather boas and show tunes.
A Broadway style finale in the pink village
We managed to clean our plates and let out a resounding sigh of satisfaction. Buffy the Hamburger Slayer had drop kicked me so hard that there was no room for dessert. Jeht presented us with a shot glass, filled with water, and an ominous looking tablet. ‘Don’t eat it, just drop it in the water and run!’ he exclaimed, already running off as if someone had just broken wind. We obliged, but curiosity kept us rooted to our seats. We looked on as the tablet grew into a suspicious looking cylinder shape – an amusing touch.
Before we knew what hit us, Odidiva, transcended upon us in a cloud of sequins and oversized sunglasses and proclaimed: ‘We are in the pink village and I am the queen of the pink village!’
My immediate thought was that this was a rather bold statement, but my, does he/she live up to it. Odidiva exuded a powerful voice that could rival Broadway, with songs like ‘You’re Gonna Love Me’ from the musical, Dreamgirls. Her infectious energy had everyone up dancing and she even treated us to some witty comedy.
We had to try a cocktail before we left. On Jeht’s recommendation, we opted for Pink Tea – white spirits, watermelon liquor and lemonade. Ironically, it was green, but it went down a cooling treat. Jeht took us downstairs to the Studio 54 bar. Do you like carousel horses? That’s just one of the random fixtures you’ll find there.
By Lisa Nevitt
For more about Cape Town’s abundant offering of fantastic restaurants, visit our Eating Out section.
40 Somerset Road | Greenpoint
Our spirit of inclusion welcomes Mr Gay World back to our shores for Mr Gay World 2019.