Online editor Katharine Jacobs shares five of her favourite finds from dining out and about in Cape Town this month.
I haven’t eaten a croissant in about ten years. Not out of virtue, I should explain –I’m wheat intolerant. And I’m not even very good at avoiding wheat (the pain always comes afterwards, so I don’t associate it with the nibble of cake), but eating an entire croissant seemed foolhardy, even to me. So when one of the team at this small German bakery, perched on Kloof Nek, mentions that they also have spelt croissants (an ancient form of wheat that seems not to cause a reaction for some of my kind) I do a brief dance. I carry a bag home like it’s a gift from the gods, before devouring it with buttery eggs and fresh coriander. It’s crisp and flaky on the outside, and beautifully chewy where the laminated layers form its ribs. Inside it’s succulent and juicy. My wheat-croissant-eating boyfriend assures me that it’s excellent, even according to his personal croissant ranking system. I walk around in a golden cloud of happiness for the rest of the day, safe in the knowledge that my Saturday mornings can once again start in the correct way: with croissants.
After an expensive, undrinkable peach Bellini in Venice (the peach concentrate had separated into gritty crystals) and the world’s most sour mojito in Brazil (I’m not sure that there was any sugar muddled with that lime juice), I’ve tempered my enthusiasm for beverages with tiny umbrellas. But a new hidden little cocktail bar opening up tonight in the City Bowl seems likely to restore our city’s faith in the art of mixology. Australian Luke Whearty owns a super-trendy bar in Singapore, and has teamed up with the guys from House of Machines to open this unusual, beautiful little space. (Luke and his partner will commute between Melbourne, Singapore and Cape Town, and bartender Devin Cross will hold the fort.) At the top of a dark staircase, this little 22-seater bar will take bookings – because the cocktails really are all that. I’m lucky enough to get a preview of the bar ahead of their opening, and the berry and the bee is unlike any cocktail I’ve ever had before. The sweet and sour flavours are perfectly balanced: wild blackberries, pelargonium, fennel pollen and perfumed honey. Luke recommends I crumble some of the fennel seeds into the drink, which add a beautiful aniseed-y kick every few mouthfuls. Drunk out of a beautiful glass straw, it is nectar.
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This is the kind of thing that would taste best when drunk – and I’m not drunk when I order it – but I am feeling a mite sorry for myself, after getting on the wrong bus and walking eight blocks in unseasonal icy rain. The dry-aged bacon is a smack of unctuous flavour, and cooked to a crisp, it’s the perfect (if decadent) vehicle for the thick cheese sauce. My mood is restored.
Technically, I eat this at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, not at the Constantia restaurant, but given that this dish is somehow turned out for 650 people in one go for the event, the version at La Colombe can only be, if it’s possible, more spectacular. Inside the tuna can is butter-soft tuna tataki in a miso broth flavoured with chipotle chilies. It’s rich with umami, and the zing of the chilli and something sour – the ponzu gel perhaps – has us all smacking our lips together with joy. Bravo Chef of the Year, Scot Kirton!
This might just be my favourite place to eat at the Waterfront. It’s the takeaway hatch of Mondiall – a slightly pricy, but great restaurant. The burger patties are made with 100% Angus beef, and are downright delicious. I’d recommend the cheeseburger version with cheddar, tomato, lettuce, dill pickles, red onion and a delicious secret sauce – yours for just R65 from the hatch. There are no wheat free rolls, so I have to nibble around the roll, but it’s totally worth it.