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

Dec 10, 2012

Fraiche Ayres, at Starcke Ayres Nursery

Pottering around in a flurry of indecison about what shade of petunia to select from the overwhelming rainbow on display, and being one who is easily flustered by too much choice, I made a different and far simpler decision. Coffee. It must have been something to do with the enticing whiff of a fresh brew wafting over the shrubbery from a restaurant in the middle of the nursery. A place with a bit of a mouthful of a name,  Fraiche Ayres (!),  I had no resistance and followed my nose.

A vicious south-easter was launching a savage onslaught on tender seedlings and whipping the trees into a fury and it was a pleasure to find an outdoor table sheltered by drapes of weeping willow, and browse the menu. Some interesting and delicious sounding lunches on offer, and they also do breakfast and the usual tempting sweet treats. They had my favourite lemon meringue tart but at R30 a pop I wasn't inclined to indulge and settled for just an Americano. It was the real deal,  put a spring in my step and gave me the necessary shot of caffeine to resume my exhausting petunia mission.

Lister's Tea Room, Tokai Forest

Just take a look at these beauties - how could I resist?   Baked that morning, it had to be the Cranberry with white chocolate topping, melting in the mouth and made with real butter... yum double yum. Too hot for coffee, I washed it down with a Coke, an urge I succumb to once or twice a year on the very hottest day.

A friend and I had a lazy morning meander through the Tokai forest, the path eventually coming out onto a dirt road where we had to give way to a passing horse and rider.  I looked up at the imposing Elephant's Eye cave on the side of the Constantiaberg and thought hmm, not today, it's too hot (any excuse) and elected to rather take a photo.

The forest was an experiment started by one Joseph Lister in 1886, with the aim of researching the economic viability of trees planted in this area. Can you believe that he sourced these trees from around the world, well over 100 years ago and then planted them here? It's interesting to walk through these international giants and be able to identify them, but apart from that not too onerous mission, just being in their presence and surrounded by the green smell that I love so much, with the odd twitter and the occasional call of a black shouldered kite or bark of a baboon, or if you're lucky, the cry of a fish eagle, is extreme soul food.

Of course Lister's Tea Room was named after the man and that's the next pleasure, after your hike - to sprawl at a table under the trees and, having fed your soul, feed your tum!

It's quite a popular venue for kids' parties - a stray pink balloon high in one of the trees bearing testament to this. The usual snacky offerings and temptingly decadent cakes and tarts all priced around R25. The muffins are R20 and just one of these beauties easily satisfed two of us.  Open normal hours Tuesdays to Sundays.