South Africa | Three Days in Cape Town
It’s been almost (emphasis on almost) twenty years since I was last in Cape Town and I was really excited to see how the cities changed since I was last there a train-track wearing gawky tweenager. I’d heard tonnes about the amazing food scene in Cape Town (make the reservations well in advance – it’s like New York in terms of getting a table at some places) and was excited for more beach time, wine and culture over our last two days. Being a beach bum, it’s unsurprising I chose the cliffside Cape View Clifton as our base camp. Compared to London and L.A, Cape Town is quick and easy to get around so you can stay by the beach and be in the thick of the city in 15 minutes and I always love starting and ending the day looking out at the water if I can. Cape View Clifton itself is stunning, one of the most immaculate, meticulously decorated places I’ve ever stayed and with a killer view stretching all the way over Clifton’s four beaches, with the dramatic twelve apostles looming behind. The hotel is tiny so breakfast is intimate and communal with the hotel’s lovely staff whipping up delicious omelettes and pancakes right next to you in the kitchen and a fully-stocked honesty bar and regularly restocked homemade cakes and cookies up for grabs. It really was a sanctuary after a busy day and felt so soothing and relaxing to come home to. It’s not cheap and there’s an argument for not needing somewhere so plush if you’re only resting your head there at night and spending the rest of the time playing tourist, but if you want to pump for somewhere really special and beautiful, I can’t recommend this place enough. Plus if you’re blessed with better weather than us, the hotel’s pool with a view would also be a serious plus. We were kind of unlucky with the weather while in South Africa and our only properly warm, sunny days were while we were at Babylonstoren so we spent zero time by the pool and just 20 minutes on the beach below before the chilly wind and clouds scared us off.
Eat and Drink
Clarkes on Bree Street – As the wind whipped down Cape Town’s streets, we wrapped up and sat outside this easygoing, diner-esque joint In Central Cape Town for grilled cheese and tomato shoup (me) and pastrami reuben (him). They also do mean juices and the burgers looked pretty mega.
Between Us – Tucked away on the first floor of a nondescript white building on Bree Street, this is the ultimate brunch spot. The menu is pared-back and simple with an emphasis on wholesome grains and farm-to-table ingredients. Think eggs with collared greens on rye bread, buckwheat pancakes with compote and honeycomb butter and an array of juices, coffees and cacao with maca. We sat outside in the sun and took in the street from above.
Foxcroft Constantia – Hands down the best meal we had in Cape Town, I loved every mouthful of the dinner we had here. I found this under the radar gem after scouring online for restaurant reccommendations after we tried and failed to get to get into Cape Town’s hot spots The Tasting Kitchen and Pot Luck Club. It surpassed all expectations and I can’t recommend it enough. The location is kind of strange and almost feels like it’s in a mini outdoor mall, plus it’s in Constantia so a little further from the centre of town, but it’s definitely worth the pilgrimage, The simple inventive menu isn’t pretentious or try-hard in anyway, but the plates of food are small, perfectly formed and delicious.
The Shortmarket Club – Given we couldn’t get into The Test Kitchen or The Pot Luck Club (both meant to be excellent), we tried our luck at The Shortmarket Club, another sister restaurant of the group, and after a quick drink next door at The House of Machines (a local buzzy dive bar), we were in. Amazing cocktails and delicious food but perhaps a little rich and OTT for me personally but sill a great option.
The Lawns at The Roundhouse – We had our final lunch before heading to the airport at the easy-going, outside spot up in the hills above Clifton. Delicious pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and salads with a relaxed atmosphere with kids and dogs playing in the sunshine filled rolling lawns (hence the name), it’s a really lovely chilled spot to get a low-key lunch in the sun with a bottle of wine.
The Power and the Glory is a great spot for a casual pre-dinner glass of wine. I think they do a good brunch or lunch too according to a friend. There’s also another great little wine bar next door.
Do (Or at least just what we did!)
The Old Biscuit Mill market on a Saturday is the loveliest way to start the weekend. Located in Woodstock that some liken to Brooklyn in New York, the market has tonnes of great independent retailers for clothes, interiors, gifts and the most amazing food market with all kind of juices, burritos, traditional food from all around the world, pancakes, eggs, burgers and just about everything else. We were kind of annoyed we’d eaten before so barely had room for anything else but I did manage to pick up some locally-produced chocolate, a ceramic plate, linen napkins and shorts and a top from a sweet little South African brand called.
Wine tasting – we’d planned to spend our Friday afternoon soaking up some rays on the beach but given the thick clouds and chilly temperatures, we literally threw in the towel and headed to Constantia for some wine tasting instead. On a whim, we headed to Beau Constantia (I’d heard lots about the food at Chef’s Warehouse here too) and did their wine tasting while sitting outside with cheese board while looking out over the rolling vineyards. I feel like there would be prettier, more traditional vineyards for sure but this was a great contemporary option and the wines were delicious ( we ended up buying some bottles to take home with us too).
Beach time – If the sun does shine, Clifton 4th is by far the nicest beach to escape to. I’d give Camp’s Bay a wide berth, I really didn’t like the vibe at all down there, too touristy and not charming in any way. But Clifton is pretty and sheltered. If you have more time, I’d buy some sandwiches and supplies and head to Llandudno beach – a little further out of town but super pretty and away from the crowds.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – I remember coming here many moons ago with my family and it was so great to revisit as a grown-up. The gardens are vast and almost Jurassic Park-like in their magnitude and depth and breadth of varieties of plants and flowers. We had very little time (trying to cram tonnes into our last day) but you could easily spend a whole afternoon here and set up camp with a picnic or grab a bit at one of the cafes on site.
Bo Kaap – A hot spot for group walking tours and tourists yes, but Bo Kaap’s colourful houses and brightly-coloured streets are highly photographed for good reason. I would have love to learn a little more about the heritage and history about this area but without a guide, we settled for just roaming round and taking in the colours.
Lion’s head hike – Ok, full disclosure, we didn’t actually make this hike. My insomnia and migraines were raging while we were in Cape Town (excuses, excuses I know) so I’ll admit I didn’t manage the 6 A.M alarm. Was kind of gutted not to make it but if I was out there again, I would definitely do this hike for amazing sunrise or sunset views.
Hooded beach coverup | Free People