Nestled in the heart of this historical site, formerly known as Haarlem and Hope, The Company's Garden Restaurant is built for families, tourists and locals to enjoy. This daytime eatery offers a shady haven with a large outdoor seating area, allowing one to take in in the lush green gardens that surround it, as well as a chic interior made from all natural elements such as stone, wood, slate and glass. This serene setting makes one forget they are conveniently positioned right in the buzzing Cape Town city centre, just a stone’s throw away from major city attractions. The design elements that have gone into the creation of Haarlem & Hope are inspired by nature, with a specially designed kids play area that was built to mimic the plant life that surrounds it, while also acknowledging elements of the rich history of the Cape. The menu offers a large selection of breakfasts, such as the Van der Stel breakfast, sandwiches and wraps, including a Bobotie wrap, fresh juices, salads and light meals, as well as some more hearty traditional South African dishes, such as Karoo Lamb Chops. A wide range of artisan teas and coffee, with accompanying teatime delights, are also available, as well as an extensive wine list and fully stocked bar.
This spot is so utterly lovely, surrounded by history and beautiful greenery, that it's hard to have a bad time here. But wow, the dish I had on Sunday really tested my resolve. Billed as a calamari salad with feta, grilled vegetables, greens and creme fraiche, it sounded delicious and full of texture and freshness. Boy, was I wrong. The calamari was tender enough, but I wasn't sure how it was cooked, it having no discernible flavour and lacking the scorch marks of a nice smoky baptism in the pan. The grilled veg were nowhere to be seen on initial inspection - halfway through I found scraps of some hard aubergine and zucchini, but not enough to warrant being mentioned on the menu. The 'greens' were just loads of frilly lettuce and there was no creme fraiche; instead, the lot was drenched in Greek salad dressing from a bottle. For ±R80, too! My friends' meals all looked - and tasted - delicious, so I had a major case of order envy. I will be back, but know better now and will stick to cake, scones or burgers. Hopefully it was just a bad day that they sent something out of the kitchen missing half its ingredients.
The ambience outdoors is beautiful, but things can get a little loud indoors, what with the clattering of the kitchen. Book well ahead if you'd like a seat in the jungly, sun-dappled area outside.