Breakfast is served all day and consists of seasonal poached fruit and mealie meal porridge served with butter and honey. The potato rosti served with poached eggs and Hollandaise is consistently featured on the menu and for good reason – the potato cake is the perfect vessel for soaking up the runny egg yolks and Hollandaise.
The lunch menu is divided into sections of botanical plates – which are different interpretations of carpaccio using fish, meat, veggies and even fruit. The lunch main courses are titled ‘From the sea and land’, which is aptly named to suit the proteins featured on the menu. The signature dish is the slow-cooked frikkadels wrapped in cabbage leaves.
The dessert selection is not featured on the menu, which is odd since there’s so much detail put into the descriptions of the savoury dishes on the menu. I suspect that the chef is not as concerned with desserts as with the other menu items. The dessert selection is displayed in a glass case at the till point and features a seasonal fruit tart as well as a classic milk tart. Other confections include a nutty meringue layered dessert.
The delicious freshly made juices come served in glass carafes. Coffees and teas are served with brown or white sugar cubes, giving you a feeling of old-world sophistication as you stir using a pearl teaspoon. There’s a small selection of 13 local wines on offer, sold by the glass or the bottle. There's also the option to try the house red or white, which are served by the carafe. Cocktails and beers are on offer as well.
The space is an assault on the eyes – in a good way. Every inch of the restaurant, including the ceiling, is all but made for Instagram. Owner Jacques Erasmus takes care in designing and arranging the space to make it visually interesting and changes the décor as per the season. The ceiling is covered in dried hydrangeas and the feature wall is lined with floral prints, forming the backdrop for the homemade preserves on sale. Also on sale is a selection of crockery used at the restaurant.
Service is speedy and efficient.
The menu is beautifully designed and, like the décor, changes with the season. The current theme focuses on nature.
It’s obvious that the quality of the experience is of tantamount importance to chef-proprietor Jacques Erasmus, as his ingredients – everything at Hemelhuijs – is the epitome of freshness and style. With his Northern Cape heritage coming through in elements of many of the dishes – think mosbolletjie brood, and smoor – there is a focus on simplicity, and the menu changes with the seasons. Breakfasts are served all day and many have a home-made appeal, such as the soft mieliepap with Karoo vygie honey and salted butter; or poached farm eggs with artichoke hearts and hollandaise.
Lunch varies from colourful, seasonally-based salads, to more unusual dishes, such as delicate pan-fried veal with crab butter, parmesan, pine nuts and parsley – all served on beautiful crockery without pretence. There is a variety of tarts and cakes on display for tea.
Choose from delicious freshly squeezed juices, or exotic cocktails made using those juices and alcohols infused with botanicals and spices, such as a cassia bark ratafia with soda, bitters and pear juice. For those with a sweet tooth, try the steamed almond milk with thyme-infused honey and white chocolate.
The first-rate service belies the relaxed experience. Waiters are professional and friendly.
Besides being accomplished in the kitchen, Jacques Erasmus has an eye for all things gorgeous, and has curated the space in such a way that feels impeccably stylish, but not stuck up. Heavy linen napery adorns the tables with super fine, lead-free crystal glassware. Gold-plated crockery, along with other lovely objects, are for sale.
Hemelhuijs recently opened a concept store for beautiful homeware in Parkhurst in Johannesburg called Basalt.
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Located under the pedestrian fan-walk bridge in the Waterkant area, an unlikely location such a gorgeous little space, Hemelhuijs (heavenly house) has been going strong since 2010, and does so by maintaining two important elements – Chef/designer Jacques Erasmus’ love of modern, rich and interesting design, and his lyrical ode to the Afrikaner food of his childhood. You’re likely to find bottles of jams and preserves similar to grandmother’s stacked next to installation art pieces and bespoke crockery with eye-watering price tags. Jacques is also known for the fact that he is constantly reinventing the style of the interior and the menu. This makes it a very popular choice for a weekday lunch or Saturday brunch. A feast for the senses, the food served here embodies the best ingredients and traditional recipes that have been freshened up for the modern palate. Warming marrowbone soups in winter and zingy salads such as shaved coleslaw with prawns, golden sultanas, chilli and fresh ginger make the perfect starters. Choosing between the mains (which tend to be large), is tough. You might consider farm-style beef frikadelle with mashed Sandveld potatoes and tomato relish. You may fall for the French toast with Pecorino, prickly pear syrup and bacon, or perhaps stick to a large salad in order to leave space for some of the delectable cakes or puddings. While you contemplate the choice, browse the racks for gifts to take home. Just remember, no photos allowed, but rest assured that the sumptuousness of the food will burn itself into the memory. No Instagram image needed.
Delectable fresh-pressed juices, or handcrafted cocktails (enjoy the likes of blood orange and Prosecco) will pair well with lunch.
Always efficient. Staff are switched on, helpful and knowledgeable.
Small but very stylish, it’s popular with the editors of design magazines and the ladies who lunch.
Take note of their signature mosbolletjie bread which arrives at the start of the meal (though slices have become very slim) and the beautiful crockery and lighting that make very special gifts.
This is bistro food that reflects the seasons as they change. The fare is down to earth and satisfying, but the dishes are presented with a flourish, gorgeously plated, ready to be photographed — and eaten.
Delicious odours emanate from chef Jacques Erasmus’s kitchen, signalling delights to come. Knockout breakfasts are served all day, things like a perfectly poached egg on the crispiest rösti with crème fraîche, poached farm eggs with artichoke hearts and hollandaise, and soft mieliepap with orange blossom honey.
Lunch blends effortlessly into breakfast with superb seared tuna in a saffron, citrus and white wine dressing with broad beans and tomato, served on a plate with matte white finish and glazed in 24 carat gold – a sensational experience. Try the beef “frikkadelle” wrapped farm-style in cabbage, served with truffled white vegetable mash and tomato butter, and artfully plated on an antique reproduction of a Dutch porcelain plate which looks as if it has been recovered from a shipwreck – very theatrical. The ginger and Szechuan pepper baby calamari with an apple, turnip, and cabbage salad and miso mayonnaise is filling and delicious. For puds, try one of the delicious cakes of the day, either baked cheese, apple or strawberries or any other fruit which is in season.
It’s a small but very good list, obviously carefully selected, including delicious wooded chenins by the glass or bottle called Anna De Koning from Fizantekraal, Die Marta from Hermanuspietersfontein, and the fabulous Springfield Wild Yeast Chardonnay.
Professional and knowledgeable, from a friendly and smartly dressed crew.
This has got to be one of the most tasteful settings in town. It is, however, not intimidating, with no pretension to being chic or fashionable in any way. Fresh flowers, including an impressive potted orchid, dominate the room, with an antique Boule chest topped with fresh quinces, telling the world “we’ve got it, and we know it” – in the nicest possible way. Note that the eatery is located on the fan walk so there is not adjacent parking; find a spot in Bree street and just hop over.
The gorgeous crockery you eat on – all part of Erasmus’ growing range – are for sale, as well as an innovative range of beautifully bottled flavour essences you will just have to have.
What an incredible spot! I breakfasted on glorious toasted brioche spread with whipped feta cheese, thin slivers of pear and piled high with Prosciutto and rocket. It was an inspired breakfast - in fact, all of their breakfasts look inspired. I'll be back for the artichokes, poached eggs and Hollandaise, too. The interior is beautiful and moody - all glass and steel and dark green - and a vast vase of magnolia leaves. Even the cups - charcoal mugs that love to be held - are lovely. There are also some outside tables on the fanwalk - wonderful on sunny mornings. I wish they were open on Saturdays! Service was friendly and pretty swift.
Hemehuijs is stylish with great decor, food and friendly service. However, where do art and food need to perhaps be defined. The on-table so-called 'charcoal salt' (or similar) looked interesting, however gave one sooty fingers, and not much flavour. Perhaps a return to the real thing!
While the food is rather tasty and the atmosphere is rather quaint, the restaurant and service (and price) is a bit too precious.
When, at breakfast, I told the supercilious waiter that I don't have a fondness for salmon or bacon with my scrambled eggs and rather asked for grilled tomato, the waiter looked absolutely gobsmacked and replied "Oh no, we don't do grilled tomato" as if that kind of taste palate was way too common and downmarket for such a quasi-sophisticated establishment. He further looked horrified when I asked for tomato sauce, and replied they don't "do" tomato sauce.
I don't really "do" intolerant restaurants myself.
When you eat out in Cape Town regularly, it bacomes a bit familiar - many of the menus look the same. Hemelhuijs is something completely different. A short and regularly changing menu keeps things interesting. The food is non-fussy and fresh. I can't wait to visit them again.
Beautiful menu , but very pricey to be a weekly hang out.
Top 10? Avocado and wall colour have gone sour. What a pity!