Aside from travelling and flying my drone, food is my biggest passion. Just saying, again. I like to eat.
I like to find quirky independent places that inspire a bit of creativity and aren’t governed by a multi-site brand bible. Especially when I’m abroad. I want to know where the cool kids hang out and feast like a local.
After a week of eating three square meals a day (plus car snacks) in and around Cape Town, I can confidently propose the following six eateries as among the most trendy and quirkiest munch houses in this City. Here’s why…
This place is the epitome of ‘soul food’. A crazy space with multiple menu concepts including Mucky Mary’s (famous for its all-day breakfast), The Bitch’s Tits (claiming the best taco’s in Cape Town), The Dog’s Bollox (serving burgers the size of your actual head) and Pizza Warehouse (definitely not your average pizza).
As a self-certified burger connoisseur, and having been tipped off that this place would make me happy, I had to check out the burger menu which, as the name suggests, actually was the Dogs Bollocks.
This place is loud, fast and fun with high-speed staff rocking around to booming blues tunes and screaming out names of designated ‘table bitches’ to come and collect their orders… it’s crazy. I loved it. If you liked burgers a lot (or pizzas and tacos) don’t miss out!
2. MAMA AFRICA
This place is the absolute coolest. A suggestion by the GM of the apartment I stayed in at Camps Bay who I insisted gave me a great restaurant recommendation for a truly authentic African curry. Boy, did he over-deliver. Not only did I get my curry which tasted amazing, but a completely unexpected true African experience with a live Marimba band (check them out here: www.abavuki.com). Everything from the menu, to the decor was authentic. This place is rocking the best vibes in town and I also ticked off a new food experience goal – crocodile! Mama Africa scored a whopping 10/10 from me – my best night out in Cape Town by a country mile. If you’re in Cape Town, you have to experience Mama Africa!
What a find! Another completely unexpected surprise after a quick Google search for somewhere in Somerset West that looked like it might be able to manage a decent cup of English tea. This place wins the award for the quirkiest joint of all (and the best tea). From the outside, it’s basically a warehouse on an industrial site. Inside is crazy! At first it looks like the most magnificent bakery on the planet with stacks of freshly baked and beautifully decorated cakes and pastries under huge glass domes and meringues the likes of which I have never seen before. Then comes the restaurant with a mismatch of chairs and tables, lamps and pot plants and the coolest array of antiques from old suitcases, car bonnets, instruments, bird cages… absolutely all sorts. I have no idea how a cacophony of junk in a warehouse can be so classy. The clientele are trendy as hell – lots of smart/casual coffee drinking laptop users and the food was out of this world. This place is in the top 5 restaurants I have EVER eaten in. The staff are fantastic, the atmosphere is fantastic and it was so good I broke my own rule of never eating in the same place twice whilst abroad. Frankly, I wish I’d discovered it sooner. I would go back to Cape Town tomorrow just to go back to Pajamas & Jam.
4. HOUSE OF H
If I’m honest, the main reason I went to House of H is because my friend Simon told me there was a really cool secret Gin bar inside a chocolate cafe around the corner. Which is true, there is, I went there too. But I ate first at House of H and frankly, it blew my mind. This place is right up there on the quirky scale. Previously a parking lot, it’s been converted into a restaurant whilst retaining some of the original characteristics of its former state. Namely the yellow lines on the floor! Now filled with a crazy contrast of reclaimed furniture and decorated with graffiti, this place offers a very cool dining concept with a swipe card tab system where you visit the self-service kitchen and bar separately. I had a very delicious beef brisket which I thoroughly recommend!
Oh and about that secret Gin bar… check it out here.
Once a power station, now an innovative food market housing local artisan street food vendors. This place is very cool and absolutely buzzing. It’s fun, fresh and affordable with seating indoors and outside on the waterfront. There’s absolutely something for everyone from sushi and thai food to pizza and waffles. I had an absolutely delicious spicy chicken Lebanese wrap from Lamb Rolla and stocked up on the best Biltong I found in Cape Town. If you like Biltong, be sure to check out Stokkiesdraai Biltong at the front entrance of the food court, it’s 10/10.
If I lived in Cape Town, I’d be at the Lourensford Market every Friday night without fail. This place is amazing, an absolute treat and I’m so glad I got tipped off to visit just as I was looking for something to do on my last night in Somerset West.
Located on the beautiful Lourensford Wine Estate surrounded by sprawling lawns, majestic fairly lit trees and award-winning landscaped gardens with an interactive fountain. This purpose built market houses over 70 stalls selling delectable food, uniquely handmade wares and original art, and organic, locally sourced, artisanal produce. If you’re hungry, this is the place to be! I’m talking everything from world-class samosas, juicy ribs, fresh pasta and ice cream to craft beers and speciality coffee, all under one roof and surrounded by really cool people, quite a lot of dogs, live music and a crazy amount of vintage cars. This is my kind of food party!