Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some gorgeous cafes and eating places I've discovered in and around Cape Town

Feb 28, 2012

Sostanza, Lakeside

This is a great little coffee shop tucked away in an otherwise rather dreary shopping centre, alongside a cycle shop, vet store and print outlet, among others, although there's a great fresh fish supplier and good ol' Woollies, as well as an  Italian bistro oozing wafts of sizzling garlic at certain times of the day.

At Sostanza you can sit indoors if you don't mind competing with the grumble and hiss of the coffee machine and aren't anticipating a meaningful conversation, as the stone floors and metal furniture do little to muffle voices. Or you can find a table under an umbrella in the glass roofed courtyard, browse a newspaper and people-watch.

The coffee is the real deal and my Americano was rich and strong. Two of us shared a delicious baked cheesecake, which came divided up on separate plates. We agreed that no way could we have finished a full portion, the slice was that generous. My friend's obligatory cappuccino looked good and on that day she eschewed the sweet stuff for some simple toast and jam. No skimpy slices of tired white bread; there were three chunky offerings from a health loaf baked on the premises, nicely presented in a basket with butter and jam. I was impressed and she cleaned up every last crumb, it was that good. A wide variety of breads, cookies and other wicked stuff for sale at the counter.  Perfect for a quick coffee meeting if you are in the area, but not really conducive to lingering.

Feb 13, 2012

Imhoff Farm Stall, Kommetjie

Imhoff Farm is probably what we locals would call a tourist trap, and you are sure going to find some tourist prices at the farm stall! After a lazy meander along the spectacular route from Simonstown around Cape Point, through Scarborough to Kommetjie, a friend and I pulled in for tea and cake. Half a dozen camels lay snoozing on the lawns, with kids begging their parents for a ride. We popped into a couple of art and craft shops, a cheese shop and a CD store, and then into the farm stall itself.

There were some enticing goodies for sale in the shop, but we found the deli items extraordinarily expensive and I couldn't help wondering what was so special about their olives that a tiny portion should cost almost R30!  Same with the mushrooms. I fancied some wrapped in an omelette for my supper, but R27 for some fungus grown in organic compost put me off. We found a shady table under a tree outside and studied the menu. Same story with the prices - almost R30 for a slice of cake and the most expensive  Americano I've yet come across - R18! I settled for a filter. Next door was a quaint and very tempting little Hansel & Gretel chocolate shop, but the catchy sign actually deterred me from entering what looked like a den of temptation. A minute on my lips would be way longer on my hips...

As for the tea and cake, my lemon meringue was sinfully rich and delicious, and apparently the carrot cake equally good. The coffee was just ok but I hadn't expected more. A pleasant enough coffee break in farmlike surroundings but nothing that special.

Feb 12, 2012

C'est la Vie, Kalk Bay

Up a cobbled lane off the main road through Kalk Bay village is a boulangerie I've been visiting for a few years now, tucked up against an art gallery and cosied up to the Kalk Bay Theatre next door. It's never been advertised but is well known in the arty community, and you're often likely to spot an artist or other creative soul hanging out.  A teeny tiny courtyard is the best place to sit in good weather, green ivy and pink geraniums spilling down the walls. It's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so you must pick your day to visit. Indoors you can watch the action in the tiny kitchen as a flurry of kneading and whirring and baking fill shelves of baskets with interesting loaves, croissants, muffins and the like. It delights me to buy bread and have my ciabatta wrapped in a sliver of greaseproof tied up with string.

My favourite snack is a friand, an almond flavoured delicacy at the startling price of R7, and muffins don't cost much more. I must admit I was peeved on this day to find they were sold out of friands, as my mouth had been anticipating the taste for a couple of hours!  In summer I love the freshly and noisily concocted carrot, ginger and apple juice, but at all times the hot drinks are winners. You can have a veritable bucket of coffee if you so wish and as for the hot chocolate...fortunately the cup is so big that you don't get to the bottom of it too soon. Just look at these beauties and you'll agree that they are very tempting. Here's a cappuccino, latte and hot chocolate. A cute and unpretentious little eatery for either a quick snack or a long linger over the newspaper. (NB ... closed on Mondays and Tuesdays  and they don't do credit cards)