Nearly every Friday for the past four months, my friend Elizabeth and I have eaten breakfast at a different restaurant in Cape Town. Our criteria are simple: the restaurants must be located in the City Bowl, be open early and be hipster hangouts.
Yes, hipsters. Somehow, the two of us (both decidedly un-hipsterlike) became fascinated with the different permutations of these cool [sic] kids. We realise that Cape Town isn’t necessarily their natural habitat, but they do thrive in the Mother City environment.
On our culinary journey, we have discovered that hipsters make and consume very good breakfasts. But as much as breakfasts vary, so do the trendy patrons. While eating our way around Cape Town, we’ve begun to compile a taxonomy of hipsters: there are the nerdy ones, the advertising variety, the old and wealthy, and the young and skint.
And love them or hate them, it must be said that hipsters have good taste. Here’s our guide to their best breakfasts in town.
Clarke’s, 133 Bree Street
My favourite. If you’re pining for New York or, more specifically, Brooklyn, this is as close a recreation of that city’s hipster restaurants as you’ll find in Cape Town. The breakfasts are substantial – from huevos rancheros to eggs and hash browns – and the coffee of the delicious Deluxe variety.
Dear Me, 165 Longmarket Street
This is our favourite place, tucked away in Longmarket Street, and the only restaurant we’ve visited twice. Although pricier than the other spots listed here, the food is excellent. What we like about the menu is that it caters for every kind of breakfast desire: from eggs and soldiers and three different kinds of muesli to omelettes and really, really great eggs Benedict.
Jason Bakery, 185 Bree Street
Elizabeth’s favourite, mainly because it serves an excellent version of the Israeli dish, shakshuka. The croissants are homemade and the coffee delicious. Orange juice comes in nifty Tetra Pak-shaped glass jugs.
Loading Bay, 30 Hudson Street
This is a clothing store that presents breakfast fit for that Bible of yuppy hipsterdom (yes, it does exist), Monocle. They stock said magazine, serve breakfasts and lunches, and host a burger night on Thursdays. The coffee is excellent, and breakfasts from the surprisingly extensive menu are solidly good: eggs, toast, and particularly delicious sausages and bacon.
My Basaar, corner of Van Riebeeck and Loop Streets
Recently opened, this small café serves breakfast and lunch. Breakfasts are plain, ordered from a short menu. Wonderfully creamy scrambled eggs come with toast and tomatoes.
Origin, 28 Hudson Street
Given that we’d been drinking plenty of Origin coffee as we made our way around Cape Town’s breakfast spots, it seems inevitable that we’d end up at its headquarters. It bustles on weekday mornings, so service can be patchy. Have the toast with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Power and the Glory, corner of Kloof Nek and Burnside Roads
We were pleasantly surprised by how good the breakfasts are at Cape Town’s hipster HQ. Croissants are delicious and served with a variety of toppings. The coffee is great and the service (surprisingly) friendly. It’s excellent for people-spotting.
Sababa, 231 Bree Street
We knew next to nothing about this café and enjoyed our breakfasts – the most unusual so far – immensely. Sababa specialises in Lebanese cuisine, and we had herby scrambled eggs with bread and a selection of salads. This is great for warm weather, particularly because of the outdoor seating.
Skinny Legs & All Luxury Café, 70 Loop Street
This is the epitome of arty-hipsterness, for those fond of muesli and smoothies. Skinny Legs & All is run by two sisters who waft delicately around. Named for the Tom Robbins novel, this sparse, bright café serves a relentlessly healthy breakfast. If you’re fond of sheep’s milk yogurt, this is your kind of place.
We haven’t nearly covered all the breakfast spots in the City Bowl. For one, Elizabeth has been nagging about the breakfast pizza at Knead in Kloof Street. Sounds like a plan to me.
By Sarah Emily Duff
Has all this breakfast-talk got you craving a cuppa? Check out our list of great coffee shops around the country.
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