A fluffy soufflé pancake (or two) at Torii at Tjing Tjing House
Hidden Leaf Restaurant in Woodstock
Enjoy organic wholesome fare at this new Cape Town home-styled eatery
“It’s really an extension of our home”, explains Bianca Bezuidenhout, who co-owns Cape Town’s latest foodie addition, Hidden Leaf along with her life and business partner Warren Booysen. “It’s like we’re having a dinner party every night with our family and friends.”
Tucked away in the heart of Woodstock – one of the Mother City’s oldest suburbs located between the docks of Table Bay and the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, Hidden Leaf (which officially launched in May 2016) is an intimate family-run eatery offering organic fare and homely atmosphere. Comprising two small dining rooms (approximately seating 40 people), an indoor fully-functioning corner bar as well as a large outdoor wrap-around balcony boasting magnificent views of Table Mountain and the city – Hidden Leaf is truly bringing something new and exciting to the Woodstock table.
“Hidden Leaf is something that I have been dreaming about my entire life”, continues Bianca. “It actually happened so randomly; we found the premises, came and had a look at it and then Warren and I just decided to give it a go. It was now or never.” “We come from a background in event organising [Warren and Bianca are the founders behind the much-loved outdoor festival brand, Organik] and this is the next venture for us”, adds Warren.
Hidden Leaf – its name derived from Bianca’s love of anime, was born with the aim of creating uncomplicated, high-quality, home-styled food. “The fact that our original brand is called Organik actually fits really nicely with what we do here. Everything we serve is organic, free-range and ethically sourced. Good quality food is what we are all about”, enthuses Bianca.
The kitchen – run by Bianca’s sister Chef Cindy Bezuidenhout (who has cooked in various top-notch restaurants around the globe), ultimately aims to create a menu that is a true reflection of the unassuming Woodstock eatery and its founders – relaxed and down-to-earth. With a key emphasis on fresh and wholesome produce, Hidden Leaf serves humble, hearty food wishing to adopt the farm-to-table lifestyle wherever possible.
Diners can expect exquisite and flavourful organic fare made from only the freshest and most ethically sourced produce available (not to mention, lots of love). “There is nothing complicated about us. We are just here to serve some really great-tasting food and luckily we have a liquor license too so we can pump out some top-quality craft beers and lekker jam jars”, laughs Bianca.
The laidback haunt offers customers a small, yet extensive seasonal menu. And although the menu may not be set in stone, diners will always find a wide range of fresh and delightful foodie items suitable for every palate. Meal options will include a robust and warm free-range slow braised beef curry in a blend of curry spices, potatoes and carrots (served with coriander infused Basmati rice and fresh sambals), a Mumbai Chana curry burger (potatoes blended with curry spices and topped with humus, coriander and basil pesto served with brioche bun and all the trimmings) and homemade lasagne (served with a fresh rocket salad), to name but a few possibilities.
Other must-try meals found on the menu include Nan’s homemade Italian meatball and fresh tomato soup (served with garlic crusty bread) – according to the owners this is a dish you won’t find anywhere else in the city and Ousie’s legit chicken parmesan – Bianca’s recommendation, (topped with Hidden Leaf’s in-house Napolitano and parmesan served on a bed of tossed angel hair pasta and a fresh rocket salad).
With the aim of creating a comfortable and friendly ambience, the Woodstock gem invites anyone and everyone up its narrow wooden stairs and into its ‘home’. The décor of the space also adds to the eatery’s warm (and seasonal) charm; old-school wooden boards cover the floor, floating shelves grace the walls fixed with pot plants and various cookbooks, a large dream-catcher hangs in front of the open window while small candles and cacti cover the window ledges. Small and colourful Maneki-neko figurines (or ‘lucky cats” as Bianca calls them) can also be spotted throughout the restaurant adding to Hidden Leaf’s fun and easy-going environment.
Another interesting feature accentuating the eatery’s seasonal emphasis is the tree painted on the wall framing the kitchen’s serving hatch. Designed to “grow” with the seasons, diners can expect to see the tree come to life as the year unfolds – in summer there will be little buds visible on its branches and in autumn fallen auburn leaves.
“We want to keep Hidden Leaf fresh and interesting. We are here to serve people good, healthy food”, concludes Bianca. “It’s all the little things that make us truly special.” And it certainly is the little things – its organic, fresh fare, cyclical tree artwork, bright “lucky cats” and inviting environment (amongst so much more) that makes this new Woodstock eatery one-of-a-kind.
NOTE: Hidden Leaf is available for hire and is the ideal location (being both central and intimate) for functions and events – birthday parties, end-of-year functions, team buildings events, themed evenings and more, as well as offers all-inclusive on-site and off-site catering options. “We give the clients the opportunity to tell us what they want”, explains Bianca. “Nothing is set in stone and we will do whatever the client wants.”
Tip: Hidden Leaf only offers patrons street parking, which can be a bit of a hassle in the narrow, busy roads of Woodstock. Therefore, rather look at taking the MyCiTi bus to the Lawley Woodstock stop. From there it is only a short one-block walk up Roodebloem Road where you will find Hidden Leaf’s entrance on your left.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 5pm – 11pm (kitchen closes) – please note times may change in the future. Although walk-ins are welcome – the Woodstock eatery will leave one or two tables open for those arriving without having reserved a table, booking is advisable. In The (Near) Future: Hidden Leaf aims to open for brunch on weekends – Saturday and Sunday. Watch this space!
The Bill: Although Hidden Leaf’s menu is not set in stone and items (and prices) will regularly change, patrons can expect to pay around R65 – R95 for a soup or salad, R85 – R140 for a main meal (think curries, pastas, burgers as well as other various foodie specials) and around R35 for desserts. Expect to pay approximately R25 to R45 for a beer or cider, R20 to R27 a tot for spirits and R45 per glass of wine and around R120 for a bottle. Pongracz will set you back R195 per a bottle. Soft drinks cost between R15 and R22 and tea and coffee between R18 and R28.
by Krysia Gaweda
Photo and video credit: Josh Oates
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