Café Mozart is a spot for casual lunches with friends, so dishes are pretty simple and crowd-pleasing.
A relatively brief menu, presented as a wooden ‘book’ with a cute teacup cut-out on the front, offers a handful of breakfast options (omelettes, filled croissants, fry-ups and beans rancheros); seven gourmet sandwiches; and lighter lunches like soup, salads and chicken pie. You can also dish up from the ‘table of love’ buffet, available from 12 to 2pm Monday to Friday, for R42.
If you’re familiar with Sidewalk Café (another member of the Madame Zingara stable) and its popular rendition of vis in ’n blik, the Café Mozart version of fish and chips won’t disappoint. It arrives on wax paper in a colander. The two generous portions of hake are tender and flaky inside, covered in golden crispy batter, and the homemade chips (with the skins still on) are delightfully slap. Perhaps too potent for some, but incredibly tasty to me, the accompanying tartar sauce has a chunky texture thick with red onion and pickles.
The generously plated vegetarian burger comes in the form of a crisp aubergine schnitzel patty, which makes for some nice texture along with the roasted vegetable topping, enormous onion rings and a cumin-spiced dipping sauce.
For dessert (if you have room), the carrot cake is a delicious archetype: gently spiced, very nutty and moist, with just enough of that beloved doughy texture, and topped with tangy cream cheese icin. It’s served with whipped cream and berry compote, an offbeat addition that works quite well.
Tea seems like an apt beverage for the setting, and there’s a good selection of leaves and Bos iced teas alongside freshly squeezed juices. You could also order a rooibos-based iced tea made on site with Bottings syrup in flavours like apple ginseng, strawberry and vanilla with real seeds.
The young, good-looking waiters have loads of sparkle and personality, if not finesse. Cutlery arrives in bucket, so it’s a casual affair.
The upstairs dining room is a cool, calm space reminiscent of a Victorian library. Shelves line one wall – filled with fabric-clad books with gold lettering, old trophies and china vases – and the other is covered in prints of flower still-lives. It feels like a room where an eccentric family member might store exotic curios from their travels. Outside on street level, green astroturf and a white picket fence separate the café’s courtyard from the cobbled pedestrian street.
The streetside tables offer endless sport if you’re into people watching.
Bianca ColemanThe perfect watch-the-world-go-by place in the heart of the city. Sit outside under the trees and be entertained by buskers, or explore the exotic décor inside, a trademark of restaurants in the Madame Zingara group. The menu is varied, portions are generous and prices are very reasonable. A landmark in the city centre, Cafe Mozart is good all day long, but especially for breakfast on a week day. Order the reasonably priced daily salad buffet, the vegetarian burger or the all-day breakfasts.
I had lunch there recently, and although it's an absolutely beautiful place, the food left much to be desired. I had a sandwich that was described as "Chicago Beef Steak Sandwich with Mozzarella, Capsicum Salsa and Garlic Aioli". In reality, the steak was a few little cubes of stewing meat, the mozzarella was a pile of dry, bland grated white cheese (couldn't tell what kind), and the salsa was actually just supermarket sweet chilli sauce, which the sandwich was absolutely drenched in. Not nice.