Friday, January 12th, 2018
Reviewed by Seth Shezi
This Cape Town haunt is much-loved for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. It’s attracted an almost cult-like following among the resident hipster set. Clarke’s makes a mean beef burger served on a buttery brioche bun, topped with Underberger cheese with flippin’ fantastic fries! The offering hearkens to elevated pseudo-American diner fare but is done with more flare and a whole lot more luvin’.
For brunch, The Hash Eggs comes with toasted cauliflower, parmentier potatoes, two poached eggs, asparagus and hollandaise. It’s a firm favourite and I’m a repeat offender when it comes to ordering the Huevos Rancheros with black beans, smoked tomatoes and fried eggs all topped with homemade queso fresco and avocado.
Where would American fare be without good old mac and cheese? Clarke’s is no exception here. Their four-cheese gooey hot pot is the stuff cheesy dreams are made of!
If your sweet tooth is yearning, try the nutty gluten-free brownie to tame the chocolatey beast within. Or, if ice cream’s your thing, the hot fudge brownie sundae is perfect for two... or just one!
The buzzing bar serves up drinks to Bree Street’s thriving masses from dusk till dawn and is popular for its brunch cocktails, as well as its larger dinner cocktail menu. The Hibiscus and Gin Soda, as well as its virgin counterpart, is a floral delight, and their Bloody Mary seems to be a super popular choice for hungover-filled Saturday mornings.
Showcasing some of the Cape’s best, a carefully selected array of local wines and craft beers are available, as well as a fully stocked bar with artisanal spirits and everything else one could ever need. On the non-alcoholic front, Clarke’s whizzes up fantastic fresh juices – try The Red with carrot, beetroot, pineapple and ginger – and offers on-tap Theonista kombucha. Caffeine-wise, the barista efficiently pumps out coffees with beans made by local coffee roastery Deluxe.
Service is relaxed and informal. There seems to be quite a close-knit relationship amongst all the staff and it’s evident in the air of familiarity wafting around the place. It’s not a fussy establishment. One is mostly left to one’s devices and often has to wave down a waitron in times of need but, that said, everyone seems to have a good handle on what needs doing.
At peak times the buzz can get to a frenetic roar, especially during the mania of First Thursdays, but don’t let that deter you! Clarke’s oftentimes feels a bit like a sprawling party with customers filling every nook and cranny with laughter and the frivolity of celebration. If peace and quiet are beckoning your name, this is not your destination – Clarke’s is fit for the easygoing city-dweller in need of the sights and sounds of a rowdy kitchen and a familiar smile.
Clarke’s offers a myriad of interesting options fit for the non-meat eater – the beet burger is an absolute winner!