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

Sep 26, 2012

West Coast Farm Stall, near Yzerfontein

Yes indeed, that does look like a different kind of coffee shop! This has to be one of the zaniest, most surreal places I have visited on my quest for that ten out of ten cup of Americano! And to think we almost didn't visit it! My friend Viv and I were on a short trip to view the spring wild-flower extravaganza in the area and needed a caffeine shot.

Check out the sign at the entrance to the farmstall - Visit our lions! And there's a similar sign introducing a tiger or two. We couldn't believe our eyes and decided we really needed some coffee to clear our heads. Just take a look at the froth on that cappuccino! Impressive, hey. 

But before we got to the coffee, we made even more discoveries. Walking through this seriously quirky place, past all the preserves and crafts (now minus one lime green bag that one of us could not resist...) and out through the back door, we were hit with a kaleidoscope of vivid and noisy parrots of every description, all looking very chirpy and full of the joys of spring in their spacious cages.

 I'm vehemently anti birds, or for that matter anything, in cages, but this place is different, somehow, created and fitted with care for the birds' welfare. Trying to take photos of the birds and fight off some cheeky attempts to pinch the strap on my camera, and avoiding some vicious looking talons and beaks, I heard the muted roar of a lion. Ha, I said to Viv, that's a sound track, can't be the real thing. But it was, as I found out later.

The owner, something of an eco warrior, runs a game farm in the area and breeds white lions, one or two of which can be viewed in the enclosure behind the parrots, every hour on the hour. But, pressed for time, we drank our coffee, bought some home-made biscuits and hit the high road to the nature reserve, where we saw plenty of game, albeit not lions, running wild and free.

If you happen to be cruising along the west coast, make a point of dropping in here to see a coffee shop with a difference.

Sep 18, 2012

The Marmalade Cat in Darling

The day I visited this Darling coffee shop the proprietor was caught napping! Sleeping on the job and leaving the staff to attend to the customers, we were shocked at first, but when this gorgeous creature lifted her head and turned her lazy eyes on us, all was forgiven and we were well looked after by the waitron!

A friend and I were passing through the unremarkable dorp of Darling on our return from a sensory overloaded trip to view the spring flowers in the area. We needed breakfast and The Marmalade Cat looked charming from the outside and indeed was all we hoped for indoors. A cosy space with floor to ceiling shelves piled with cat themed arts and crafts and goodies to buy.

Viv had a huge hunger pang and ordered the full breakfast - bacon, egg, mushrooms and oven baked potato wedges, as well as toast. Not really in a bacon mood I ordered scrambled egg on toasted ciabatta and I honestly can't remember when last I enjoyed such uber creamy scramblies. To die for! I had the obligatory Americano and Viv a Cappuccino.  The menu has a selection of the usual suspect munchies from sandwiches through salads to very delectable cakes and tarts.
Open 7 days a week, evidently they are also open for supper at the weekend and Friday night is pizza night.

After breakfast we discovered a barn behind the restaurant operating as a viewing gallery for beautiful paintings and pottery and more crafty things like handbags. We browsed the tempting goodies then sauntered through the Cat Walk next door, a boutique style store with some tempting clothing on sale. The heavens opened just as we left and we had to run for the car and a slow and cautious drive back to Cape Town in the wet.

Sep 10, 2012

Kalk Bay Expresso

Kalk Bay Expresso is a quirky cafe in a derailed old blue train carriage located right alongside the Kalk Bay station. The decor and fittings are authentic old school train stuff and when the real deal train rumbles into the station you get the feeling that you are also on the tracks. This is a favourite of mine when I'm with somebody I want to have a proper conversation with and not have to shout above the usual coffee shop din, because the table setting is intimate and eye contact is unavoidable. I generally go for their pancakes, which are delicious, and this time it was spinach and mushroom, accompanied by a nice little green salad and very more-ish salad dressing in an elegant decanter, with which I almost drowned my salad, it was that delish. They also offer breakfasts and the usual sandwiches, and I can personally attest to the divine decadence of my personal favourite, the lemon meringue pie. Yum. Coffee is good, served in decent sized cups, and a nice touch is the fact that my friend, who takes hers black, was not short changed and had a cup that was filled right to the top. Friendly service and reasonable prices, it's open for breakfast, lunch and tea.