Category Archives: Restaurants

Burgers and Colouring Pages at Villa Visaggio’s in Klapmuts (2018-07-28) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 02 OCT 2018

Jessica, Emily and I paid a long overdue visit to Butterfly World back in July, and after a nice lengthy walkabout of butterfly spotting and guinea pig stroking, I decided that we now wanted something to eat. So, I was rather pleased to discover that there is actually quite a nice lunch option situated right next door to the animal sanctuary these days – in the form of one Villa Visaggio’s.

Set up primarily as a stylish venue intended for weddings, conferences, corporate parties and other event gatherings, Villa Visaggio’s is also home to a really nice restaurant – featuring a decent menu packed with well priced, particularly good food. (I had their Mexican burger on the day, and I have to say, it was pretty damn delicious.)

Although not necessarily spacious enough (in terms of grounds) to be labelled as a kid friendly restaurant, there is however a small play area (complete with jumping castle) out back (though not visible from the dining area), and the menu certainly does a great job of doubling up as a neat little colouring page.

All in all, I rather enjoyed stumbling upon this new option for our annual Butterfly World visit, and honestly, it might just be enough to lure Chantelle to also come out butterfly spotting with us for a change! ;)

Related Link: Villa Visaggio’s | Facebook

Authentic Indian Curry from Foodmandu in Gordon’s Bay (2018-06-08) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 11 SEP 2018

Following a day spent up in Johannesburg for a meeting with one of the big banks for a potential project with them, Chantelle and I stole a moment of alone time by heading out for a midweek lunch at the slightly hard to find, but oh so worth it when you do, Foodmandu – a delightful little Indian restaurant startup tucked away towards the end of Gordon’s Bay.

Situated in the Cape Gordonia building (across from the old harbour), Foodmandu, a relatively new addition to the Gordon’s Bay food scene (which is strangely much larger than what technically it should be, given how small our little “village” is), was opened by a couple of staff members who left the popular Moksh Indian restaurant out in Somerset West, bringing with them their exceptional knowledge of North Indian cuisine.

That much is apparent when you work your way through the extensive but cleverly put together menu, literally filled with all manner of mouthwatering curries, kormas and masalas. Chicken, lamb, rice,  rotis and naan breads – the flavours are simply out of this world (or are at least for people like me who don’t usually get to enjoy much Indian food in the first place), making a visit to eat there a must if you ever find yourself in Gordon’s Bay with a taste for something other than the typical fish, pizza or a burger on offer.

Although the venue’s location and the lack of a liquor licence are definitely both hard challenges for this little eatery to overcome, I kind of really hope that they do. Foodmandu brings with it a welcome new flavour to eating out in Gordon’s Bay and if I have to bring with my own bottle of wine to do it (for now), then that is okay with me.

Note: There is no corkage charged and although the most lovely hosts at Foodmandu may not sell you any liquor, they are more than happy to nip out across the road to source you some should you need it. Also, it is probably a good idea to listen to their suggestions when it comes to selecting a curry. Hot is hot!

Related Link: Foodmandu | Gordon’s Bay

Beer, Fries and Play at Deer Park Cafe in Vredehoek, Cape Town (2017-08-20) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 18 AUG 2018

If you are out and about exploring in Cape Town with the kids, and now find yourself in need of something to eat but don’t necessarily really feel like being in the more bustling, touristy parts of the city, then take note – Deer Park Cafe in Vredehoek is an absolute gem.

Situated on the upper slopes of Vredehoek, overlooking the city whilst guarded by the mountain above, Deer Park Cafe is a wonderfully relaxed city bowl eatery that is super popular with families thanks to it bordering on the fenced, welcoming Rocklands Road Park, a well maintained public park lined with trees and filled with loads of swings, jungle gyms and plenty of picnic worthy grass.

The food is artisan, delicious and well priced, the craft beer and wine selection good (I thought the Kings Craft Brewing Co’s LionHeart Lager particularly excellent) – so basically the perfect combination for a great casual dining experience then. The view, the relaxed ambiance, the public park – no wonder our girls (following a day out at the Company’s Garden, the Iziko South African Museum, and the Iziko Planetarium) enjoyed this unplanned stop as much as what they did.

Pro-tip: Go early on a weekend – these guys get pretty busy, pretty fast.

Oh, and apparently the cakes are pretty damn good as well.

Related Link: Deer Park Cafe | Vredehoek | Cape Town

USA 2016 – 23 Supper with a Flair at Shogun Kobe in San Diego (2016-07-18) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 28 JUL 2018

Following our day of exploring the USS Midway and the Cabrillo National Monument, Johann thought it a good idea to cap off the evening with an entertaining supper at the local Shogun Kobe. I couldn’t have agreed with him more.

If you are not familiar with the name, essentially the Shogun group of restaurants (established in 1980 in Pasadena by founder Bruce Kanenobu) are fashioned very much after the more famous Benihana group of American restaurants (which we’ve all seen on old TV and in 80’s movies), all of which are basically (heavily) Japanese themed restaurants that specialize in producing Japanese-inspired cuisine – the big drawcard being that the food is prepared by an entertaining, kitchen implement swishing chef on Teppanyaki grill right in  front of you.

It is delightfully cheesy, a little silly, and honestly quite a lot of fun.

Our chef on the evening was quite entertaining, skillfully flipping, dicing and flicking ingredients all over the place, with appropriate spurts of flames and coloured lights making an appearance every so often. Us diners all sat enthralled, the Western-style teppanyaki food (Americans would never take to authentic Japanese flavours) was surprisingly delicious, and the house wine not too horrible.

So, a pretty good evening out then in other words.

It is a pity then that the whole teppanyaki experience isn’t widely found in South Africa at all – I honestly believe that it could be a bit of a hit with family diners.

Related Link: Shogun Kobe | Shogun Restaurants | San Diego#USA2016

Music, Fish, and Chips at the Vis Vlekhuis in Laaiplek (2018-03-31) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 JUN 2018

Chantelle, the girls and I joined her folks for a weekend up the West Coast back in March of this year, spending much of our time relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere of Jacobsbaai. Monty however very much wanted to show off a local fish and chips stop that they had only recently discovered, which explains then why we found ourselves winding through the small town of Velddrif and ending up in the even smaller town of Laaiplek on a rather warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now we weren’t visiting the historically significant port of Laaiplek (so named because it was the loading area for ships from Europe from where goods were then transported into the hinterland) or its adjacent sister Velddrif for their famed bokkoms or view over the Berg River, instead we were on a mission and heading straight to Die Vis Vlekhuis, a popular bar and fish and chips takeaways situated just off the main harbour of the area.

And I’m not joking about its popularity mind you. The venue was packed both inside and out (shame, their neighbours could truthfully have done with some of Vis Vlekhuis’ patrons), and the queue for food was quite the sight. (In other words, the wait time for fish and chips was a bit on the lengthy side).

Nevertheless, we got lucky in that Monty managed to secure an outdoor table, allowing us to then grab some beers, let the girls entertain themselves by colouring in (they brought their own supplies), and enjoy the live music courtesy of the rather talented and very entertaining Jay Jay who was belting out all the hits from next door in the bar area.

The food did of course eventually arrive, and I have to say, the fish and chips were well worth the wait. Generous portions, good flavour – nothing to complain about at all! Hungers were sated, seagulls were fed, and a lazy walk to look at the boats was taken.

(Oh, and a rather pleasant drive down through Bokkom Avenue along the river completed the trip.)

So, all in all a successful first visit to this small but charming in its West Coast way place then.

Extra Credit: The team behind the Afrikaans travel magazine Weg put together this short video about fish, pelicans, bakkies and bokkoms in Velddrif. Obviously you’ll need to know some Afrikaans to follow what’s going on, though that said, even if you do have a decent understanding, that distinctive West Coast accent isn’t going to make things any easier for you to follow…

In all honesty, now that I think about it, I don’t believe that I have ever tasted bokkoms. Guess I’ll have to rectify that come our next visit up the West Coast then!

Related Link: Die Vis Vlekhuis | Laaiplek | Velddrif

Seagulls and Beer at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay (2018-03-18) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 22 JUN 2018

I’ve mentioned them before, but heading down to the harbour to enjoy some fish and chips at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay has become somewhat of a family tradition whenever we all find ourselves up in the area. Thus, my weekend away with the girls, my folks and my brother Ryan back in March this year ended on that exact note.

Situated just outside the main harbour entrance, right across the small Biblia house, the Sea Gypsy Cafe is a lively spot with both an indoor and outdoor eating setup, a place where the vibe is good, the beer always flows, and fish and chips appear all around you.

Unless of course you ordered something else that is.

Historically I’ve always gone for the classic fish and chips, but recently Dad has converted me into grabbing one of their baskets instead, which contains a nice mix of fish, chips, crumbed mushrooms and calamari.

All ready to be washed down with some fantastic Glenhoff beer (that they have on tap). Spoiler alert: it is all rather good.

They have a good view over the bay (Santos beach is just across the water), the food is quite ‘lekker’ and in general it is a pretty good place to meet up with friends and spend an afternoon catching up.

And then if you are anything like us – it is back into the car and on the road for the good 4.5 hour long drive home. Which on this occasion was a lot longer thanks to all the stop and go controls in place. (Am rather enjoying the new N2 road surface though!)

Extra Credit: I mentioned the little Biblia house across from the Sea Gypsy Cafe near the start of this post. If you are aren’t familiar with the group, BIBLIA is a Christian non-profit organization that sees to the spiritual and overall well-being of seafarers coming into South Africa. While their home base is the Cape Town harbour, the movement claims to have a presence in every major South African port, meaning that they should be a reasonably familiar sight for you to encounter when visiting any of SA’s larger harbours.

Related Link: Sea Gypsy Cafe | Mossel Bay

Eggs Benedict at Southey’s Family Bistro in Somerset West (2018-03-21) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 19 JUN 2018

Having supplanted Manuka a couple of years ago now, Southey’s Family Bistro is a super popular breakfast and lunch spot for families in the heart of Somerset West, thanks in no small part to their large back garden, outdoor seating and super kid friendly facilities (think jumping castles and slippy slides in Summer).

(The fact that they sport a well stocked boutique wine shop doesn’t hurt either!)

Seeing as this is such a popular spot for families to gather around then, we invited Chantelle’s mom and dad to drive out and join us for a spot of breakfast one March Saturday morning, which they happily agreed to – meaning that we were then left holding thumbs for a windstill, sunny day.

Which pleasingly is exactly how the day turned out to be.

Now we don’t normally go out for breakfast, meaning that on the few occasions that we do actually find ourselves at a restaurant for brekkie, it is always nice to grab something that I don’t normally get to have around the table in the morning – so this time around it just so happened that Southey’s Eggs Benedict kind of tickled my fancy.

Spoiler alert, it was plain, simple, and rather nice.

Anyway, Emily played on the jungle gym, Jessica ran amok with my phone camera, and in general, a pleasant morning was had by all.

After breakfast we needed to pop in to CABS to do a bit of ingredient shopping for Chantelle’s baking business, giving me the perfect opportunity to poke my head into the popular new addition to the Helderberg Things to Do with Kids list – the Blades Roller Skating Rink!

I’m pleased to report that it looks rather awesome and that Jessica immediately made me promise that I would take her as soon as another weekend freed up again! ;)

Related Link: Southey’s Family Bistro | Somerset West

Pulled Pork and Brisket from the Hickory Shack outside Grabouw (2018-04-15) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 14 JUN 2018

I might have mentioned in passing that we had roped in Chantelle’s folks to head out to the Hickory Shack for lunch with us one April Sunday afternoon (Monty was super keen on giving this place a go), but up until now I haven’t actually spoken about the lunch itself. The summary is this then: as per usual it was awesome. Exactly what you would want if you love eating meat.

I think that this was the third time that Chantelle and I were visiting the Hickory Shack, and other than the neat little beer tasting deck they seem to be tacking on, not all that much has changed at this excellent Southern styled pit-master smokehouse eatery.

Texas style beef brisket, pulled pork, belly and colossal ribs (and chicken for those non red meat lovers who get dragged with for the outing) are all the stars of the menu, though that said, I did notice that these days the shack also offers a couple of lighter brunch options for those who pop in whilst on a breakfast run.

Oupa and Ouma were on hand to entertain the girls, craft brews and drinks in jam jars served to slake our thirst (it was a pretty warm April afternoon after all), and the carefully prepared meat, corn and chunky chips were just as mouthwateringly delicious as what I had remembered it to be.

(Plus, the complementary array of dipping sauces were excellent as always. Just a note though, the spicy one really is pretty damn spicy!)

Given all of that, it isn’t all that surprising then to hear that this place gets pretty packed on the weekends, so much so that for a change Chantelle actually phoned ahead in order to book a table. We don’t normally do this.

As things turned out it was just as well that she had – as far as I could see there definitely weren’t any open tables for any casual diners come lunch time proper!

Basically, a thoroughly brilliant lunch get together was enjoyed by all (well not really the girls – this place isn’t really intended for the little ones), and the Hickory Shack remains hard not to recommend given the relatively scarcity of this style of cooking on our local restaurant scene.

(And yes, as always I took a photograph of that skull decorated shed. Literally every visit I make, I walk away with the EXACT same photograph! I can see Chantelle shaking her head from here.)

Related Link: Hickory Shack | Grabouw

Pizza at the Lake House in Somerset Lakes, Somerset West (2017-11-12) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 06 MAY 2018

Standing right next to the newly opened Reddam House Somerset West boarding school, Somerset Lakes is a pretty good looking gated residential estate that has sprouted up on the outskirts of Somerset West – mind you, as a LOT of others have also done over the last handful of years!

Anyway, the only reason that I’ve ever even been inside this nice estate is thanks to the fact that the Somerset Lakes clubhouse is home to a rather nice, open to the public, restaurant, trading under the name The Lake House at Somerset Lakes.

They serve a fantastic array of pizzas and other light meal options, are home to a brilliant Sunday roast lunch, and of course stock some fabulous wines (which makes sense if you consider that the owners also run the hugely popular Southey’s Family Bistro, also in Somerset West).

Combining all of the above with the estate’s design aesthetic and its picture perfect lake center piece, it then quickly becomes obvious why we rather enjoy paying a visit there every now and then!

One of our last visits to the Lake House Restaurant (November last year) saw us inviting Chantelle’s folks to join us for lunch, all of which went rather well (the food was a hit!) despite the girls for a change not being on their normal standard of best behaviour – plus a rather unexpected visit from an inquisitive but cool as a cucumber stray goose.

With lunch now concluded, the next logical step (as it should always be when you visit there) was to head out along the boardwalk for a stroll around the lake. Amazingly, given that we had experienced a shower or two in the days prior to our visit, the lake was looking in a lot better shape than the last time that we had encountered it, and it was great to see all the local bird populations (who call Somerset Lakes home) in such good form.

The landscaped gardens were in bloom, a short stop at the jungle gym and outdoor fitness gym was enjoyed, and of course the entire visit was capped off with some clamber and play session in the estate’s little pine forest plantation that hides a treasure trove of obstacle course equipment within.

Pretty impossible not to recommend this place to be honest!

(In all honesty though, I’m not sure how long a private residential estate will continue to host a public restaurant, but given how much I enjoy it, I’m holding thumbs that this place sticks around for as long as possible!)

Related Link: The Lake House Restaurant | Somerset Lakes | Somerset West