Galileo Picnic Thursdays are held in Cape Town’s most popular botanical garden
NEW PLACE: Quince is a destination, with delicious food and plants
The patio is the prime location, especially on summer days
Plants are trending right now and nurseries have become a popular weekend destination for everyone, from gardeners to novices, retirees to young people in small apartments.
Seeing the captive market, some nurseries have added coffee shops and casual restaurants on their premises. The latest, nicest and tastiest is Quince restaurant and deli at Little Orchard in Diep River.
BOOK (+ BUY THE DELICIOUS PRESERVES)
Quince opened in mid-December 2019, but with lockdown, it’s technically only a few months old.
While it was unable to serve sitdown guests, Quince sold a huge range of frozen meals that are still available in the deli. There you’ll find shelves groaning under the weight of all manner of jams, preserves and pickles to stock up your pantry as well.
Since we may now sit down for a meal, the restaurant has rapidly become a place where you absolutely have to make a booking. The now not-so-well-kept secret is no longer a spot you can meander into on a whim (unless you’re prepared to wait a bit for a table).
SET IN ONE OF CAPE TOWN’S ORIGINAL HOMESTEADS
There is a patio which is the prime location, especially on summer days, with its dappled shade and view of the nursery, a massive oak tree and display of colourful flowering plants.
Inside the restaurant, you’ll find three interleading rooms, one of which is all that remains of the original homestead of this former farm that dates back to the 17th century.
The Diep River flows through the farm as it has always done, these days in a more restrained fashion in a concrete channel.
MAKE IT YOUR BREAKFAST REGULAR: THE MENU IS EXTENSIVE AND IRRESISTABLE
Quince serves breakfast until noon, and a range of dishes suitable for any other time of the day.
The Gardeners’ breakfast is a filling bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato and mushrooms – and the added allure of potato or sweet-potato fries (it’s quite irresistible). Other options are fairly standard, from omelettes to Eggs Benedict-style dishes.
Don’t overlook the Boho (Moroccan chickpeas with avocado, rocket, dukkah and wholewheat seed toast) or the Baobab, which is soft Parmesan-and-herb polenta topped with wilted spinach, crispy bacon, tomato, avocado and two poached eggs (highly recommended).
TRY THE SANDWICHES, SALADS, SUBSTANTIAL MEALS
The Farmers Tartine is under the breakfast listing but it is available all day, along with the other signature open sandwiches, made up of sourdough bread piled high with scrumptious toppings. The Club has chicken breast, Brie, avocado and pulled brisket with chimichurri dressing.
Fishcakes, rump steak, poke bowls, chicken and prawn curry, and deep-fried calamari have their place as regular lunch options, but check out the blackboard specials before making your final decision.
Salads are substantial, as are all the dishes, and the burgers are delectable. It’s not surprising the Quince burger is the most popular, topped as it is with bacon, avocado (about half of one, no half measures there), Brie, teriyaki mayo and all the other toppings that belong on a burger (including a battered onion ring), served with normal potato or sweet potato fries.
HAVE THE BEST SCONES IN CAPE TOWN
The meals are substantial, so it might be challenging to find space for dessert. If that’s the case, Quince is worth a return visit because the glass-door cabinet in the corner is filled with temptation – cakes and muffins and meringues.
If you can’t see any, do ask about the scones; they could still be languishing on a tray in the kitchen, warm out of the oven. They are some of the best in Cape Town, and massive to boot, served with butter, strawberry jam and cream. After all that, a stroll around the nursery will probably be very necessary.
Note: Quince is unlicensed so take your own wine or bubbly for a properly festive experience.
WHERE TO FIND QUINCE
By Bianca Coleman
Discover more of what Cape Town has to offer
Enjoy a dynamite meal or buy produce from the local community at The Blue Café.
Pack a picnic and head outdoors to Kirstenbosch.
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