Category Archives: Restaurants

Milk Tart Jaffles at Signature Divine in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 06 FEB 2018

Having spent the day being guided around the magnificent Cango Caves, watching people zip-line down to Cango Caves Estate, and letting Jessica ride about on a camel at Wilgewandel, we were now happily making our way back towards the guest house, when the rather inviting scene over at Signature Divine caught our eye and immediately prompted a rather impromptu milkshake and coffee stop.

Originally setup to host events at their lovely small Klein Karoo venue with a view, Signature Divine has since evolved into a wonderful little eatery that offers a great menu packed with all manner of thoughtful gourmet treats.

In particular, the team is known for their menu of interesting gourmet milkshake combinations, basically a great way to try and escape that all oppressing Karoo heat!

To complement the magnificent view on display, Chantelle selected a milkshake, the girls opted for ice cream, and I got stuck into some good coffee – after which, on suggestion of our bubbly waiter for day, I discovered the world of milk tart jaffles.

Seriously, how in the world did I NOT know that this simple but delicious South African dessert morsel existed!

Anyway, adjacent to the eatery and its two beautiful stone barns is also an art gallery (Annie’s Art), showcasing the interesting acrylic work of Annamarie Janse van Rensburg.

(Surprisingly, the art gallery was open to the public but completely devoid of life. Definitely not something that would fly in the city – all her paintings would be off the wall in a matter of minutes! Definitely one of the nicer aspects of small town living though.)

In summary, Signature Divine is a surprisingly lovely stop in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Definitely worth pulling over if you ever find yourself in the area!

Oh, and much to the delight of both Jessica and Emily, the restaurant does have a small trampoline for the kids on the grass patch. Small, but much appreciated touch.

Related Link: Signature Divine | Facebook | Annie’s Art Gallery | Oudtshoorn

Bikes and Burgers at The Cafe Racer in Somerset West (2017-10-20) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 04 FEB 2018

The Beehive building in Somerset West is old, pretty rundown and has been home to a little family run shop for years. It now also happens to be home to a particularly interesting newcomer to the Somerset West restaurant/bar scene – The Cafe Racer.

As you might guess from either the name, the logo, or the shiny hunk of polished chrome standing on two wheels outside the front door, The Cafe Racer is a restaurant that marries biking culture with beer and gourmet burgers – and rather successfully at that mind you.

The staff (and chef) are all relaxed and super friendly, the atmosphere super chill, the balcony space surprisingly nice, and most important of all, the menu mind boggling interesting.

Apart from a seriously good selection of craft beers on offer, The Cafe Racer specializes in some rather unique (and well made) gourmet burgers.

For example, my Mikachu burger (named after one of the waitresses) consists of a beef brisket patty topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, sliced banana – and then drenched in condensed milk of all things!

Chantelle on the other hand had a burger which forgoes standard hamburger buns in favour of chocolate doughnuts. Chocolate doughnuts!?! Who even thought of that!

The place is quirky, the younger crowd seems to like it, and as you might imagine, guys into bikes get a kick out of it.

So certainly a very unusual, but pleasantly enjoyable, addition to the Somerset West food scene.

Related Link: The Cafe Racer | Somerset West

Scones and Cream at Hillcrest Berry Orchards in Banhoek Valley (2017-08-13) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 JAN 2018

Having spent most of our Sunday enjoying a drive, admiring the Huguenot Monument, and letting the kids run wild and free at the Station Pub & Grill in Franschhoek, we then wrapped up the outing with a stop at Hillcrest Berry Orchard (at the behest of BOTH Chantelle and the girls!) on the drive back.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time then you know that we end up stopping here more often than not whenever we find ourselves driving along the R310, better known as the Helshoogte road, through the beautiful Banhoek Valley (which lies on the outskirts of Stellenbosch on your way through Pniel and on to Franschhoek).

If that is the case, then you undoubtedly already know about the fantastic jams and other berry-rich products that Hillcrest Berries produces, not to mention the good, uplifting work opportunities it provides in the immediate area.

If you know about those, then you probably also know that the Tea Garden and its deck with a view is a great option for some good coffee and scones, and furthermore, as a long time reader you would probably then also know that paying a little more for the Devonshire clotted cream REALLY is the way to go.

Unless of course they don’t have any more left for the day, meaning then that your foodie wife is nearly brought to tears with disappointment.

Still, it was a very nice enough stop as always – even if they had already run out of clotted cream for the day.

Related Link: Hillcrest Berries | Facebook

Breakfast at Tredici (The Bakers Dozen) in Swellendam (2018-01-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 JAN 2018

So I mentioned earlier that Chantelle and I needed to drive up to George in order to pick up our Accent that was sitting there for repairs a couple of weeks ago. This of course thus meant a road trip along the N2, which, given how early we ended up leaving Gordon’s Bay, also then meant the need for a decent breakfast stop too.

Enter one of Chantelle’s favourite stops along that route – the Tredici (or Bakers Dozen) bakery, restaurant, and coffee shop in Swellendam.

Driving along the N2, Tredici is nearly impossible to miss when you enter the Swellendam area, thanks to the building’s very European styling, its bold black accents, and its imposing four meter high doorways.

Inside you are greeting by the sights and smells of all the delicious pastries and baked goods being brought to life and put on display, before heading through to select a table either downstairs, upstairs, or these days, outside.

Obviously, a good cup of coffee was the order of the day, but as I mentioned at the start, we were there for breakfast as well – and pretty soon we were tucking into some good tasting ‘brekkie’ combinations from their reasonably comprehensive menu.

Chatting to the waiters, business over the course of the December holiday season had been particularly brisk, so much so that Tredici had to even go ahead and set up a little outside ‘On the Go’ container pop up shop to service all the people knocking at its doors!

Tredici is a genuinely nice place to stop, and seeing as the kids weren’t with us for this particular trip, we could actually sit down, relax and enjoy the tranquil pace of life that stems from living in a place like Swellendam for a change.

Always recommended.

Bonus: In case you are not familiar with the term Baker’s Dozen, it stems from an old European custom whereby bakers would illustrate their honesty by offering their customers more than what the law required – so instead of 12 loaves or 12 measures of something, the customers would always receive 1 extra – hence the baker’s dozen.

Bonus 2: The evening before we left for George, Chantelle and I decided to have Chinese food for supper. Pro tip: The giggle worthily named ‘Wok This Way‘ in Somerset West delivers big time in terms of food, flavour and atmosphere!

Definitely highly recommended!

Related Link: Tredici | Swellendam

Ice Cream at Don Gelato in Stanford (2017-12-16) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 26 JAN 2018

Last year December I woke up one morning and suggested to Chantelle that we take a drive out towards Stanford for a picnic at Klein River Cheese farmstead, to which she readily agreed – basically because she is head over heels in love with this quaint, oft-overlooked little riverside Overberg town, and will pretty much use any excuse to pay it a visit!

Anyway, a visit to Stanford is not complete without a visit to Don Gelato, makers of fine Italian ice cream, so that’s exactly what we did as we wrapped up our day of dining on little pieces of cheese and bread in the countryside.

Only, we were in for a little surprise when we did reach the distinctively green building towards the bottom of Queen Victoria Street – Don Gelato has more or less been demoted to a tiny “ice cream served from a counter” experience!

Well, that’s only technically true.

The Giovanetti family that launched Don Gelato in 2013 always used to offer authentic Italian meals every now and then from the Don Gelato building/restaurant, but obviously that business was good enough to now give it a proper go, meaning that the Don Gelato and its ice cream operation has been shifted to the side, while the main restaurant has been rebranded into La Trattoria – which very obviously is now Stanford’s premier Italian restaurant experience.

Sadly, this then means no more nice back courtyard to sit and enjoy your ice cream in, meaning that instead we trundled down towards some steps across from the beautiful Dutch Reformed church in order to chow down our expensive (I guess because of all the good, organic ingredients that go into making these chilled delights) gelato treats there.

Pleasingly though, the flavour selection of ice creams on offer is still as it was – i.e. great – and the gelato itself delicious, so still well worth popping into if you feel like a treat on a hot Summer’s day.

Ice creams devoured, it was then back home, though we made sure to take the scenic drive through Hermanus this time round!

Related Link: Don Gelato | Facebook | Stanford

Fish and Chips from the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay Harbour (2018-01-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 JAN 2018

I think that it was my folks who originally introduced us to the Sea Gypsy Cafe, one of their favourite spots to tuck into some fish and chips whenever they are down in Mossel Bay (which, given their Pinnacle Point holiday home, is relatively often).

For some or other unknown reason it has now managed to also wiggle its way into being a bit of an institution for both Chantelle and myself, so much so that we now tend to pop in for a bite to eat almost each and every time that we too find ourselves in the general area!

So anyway, two weeks ago Chantelle and I left the kids behind with her folks in Bellville in order to spend the last bit of our holiday driving up to George, where we would then fork over R7,500 to collect our car that had been forced to stay behind for a week at the Kia/Hyundai Service Center for repairs. (More on that story later, I promise. In essence though, it revolves around old spark plugs and coils, just in case you were wondering.)

With the fixed Accent now back in our possession, Chantelle and I opted to not sleep over in George again, but rather drove our two cars down to Mossel Bay for a change of scenery. After spending a lazy day around the Diaz beach area, we did a bit of a ‘taking in the sights of Mossel Bay’ drive out and about, before heading down towards the harbour for a spot of supper – selecting the aforementioned Sea Gypsy as our restaurant of choice for the evening of course!

Situated on Quay 4 along the harbour wall, the bright blue Sea Gypsy and its gorgeous views of Mossel Bay’s beaches and surrounds is admittedly looking rather tattered these days. (Though to be honest it’s probably always been a little… weathered. It just seems to be getting more and more noticeably so with each and every subsequent visit!)

Anyway, looks/first impressions aside, we grabbed an outdoor seat next to the wall, ordered our food, watched some seagulls, engaged in small talk, witnessed a woman awkwardly trip over the foot of one of the benches, and then finally tucked into some pretty good hake and chips. (The calamari was okay at best).

Still, the views were pretty amazing.

(Also, being in the South Cape I very obviously had a Glenhoff Draught to accompany my meal, because as I’ve now very firmly established for myself, I REALLY do enjoy their brew.)

Seeing as sunset was now upon us, we hopped down the road to The Point, now thankfully devoid of most of the crazy holiday caravan crowd that descends upon Mossel Bay each and every December holiday season.

Thanks to the smokey haze stretched across the sky (from a massive fire in the Albertinia area), the sun looked particularly fiery as it worked its way ever lower, with me managing to capture this particularly cool photo featuring the iconic St. Blaize Lighthouse in the background:

I’m pretty chuffed with it actually.

As for the rest of the evening – we spent that wandering about Hartenbos while listening to a Native American busker doing his thing.

Related Link: Sea Gypsy Cafe

Fishing for Lunch at Eikendal in Stellenbosch (2017-08-06) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 11 DEC 2017

You could of course travel to Eikendal in Raithby, lying along the R44 snug between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, in order to taste and buy their award winning wines. You could even be heading out that way to stay in one of the private terraced rooms of the Eikendal Lodge, or perhaps to try your hand at fly fishing in their trout stocked dams.

Most likely though, you are probably heading towards their distinctively styled entrance to grab a seat (either inside or out) at Cucina di Giovanni, more commonly referred to as Giovanni’s among the locals.

We didn’t actually know this, but it turns out that this restaurant is rather on the popular side, and even more pleasingly, produces some particularly delicious pizza – as we find out for ourselves with an impromptu visit there one Sunday afternoon back in August this year.

(Turns out, the place we were actually on our way out to, the nearby Vredenhof, is closed on Sundays).

Eikendal itself is really worth a visit though.

Obviously there is the traditional wine tasting and food pairing that happens at the Eikendal Tasting Centre, but then there are also tours of their distinctive barrel vaulted cellar, fishing with the onsite Winelands Fly Fishing outfit, upmarket food from Giovanni’s, mapped out vineyards walks, lush green lawns, and finally a small kids play area, to enjoy.

Also, the abundant views of the vineyards and mountains isn’t too shabby either.

Chantelle, the kids and I rather enjoyed this impromptu visit, and given the fact that Eikendal lists Kiddies Tastings and Tractor Rides on their website, there is a more than reasonable chance of us returning for a more full experience sooner than later!

Related Link: Eikendal Wine Estate | Cucina di Giovanni | Giovanni’s Eikendal

Pizza and a Zipline at Cango Caves Estate in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 07 DEC 2017

Having decided that she wasn’t particularly keen on eating lunch off a bench table at Wilgewandel following our exciting morning of exploring the world famous Cango Caves, Chantelle was instead much happier with the idea of taking a short hop up to the Cango Caves Estate (which itself is just below the Cango Caves), home to both an interesting looking deli and a rather scary looking zipline!

This turned out to be a really, really good idea, because a) the deli afforded fantastic views of the swartberg mountains, b) the tranquility of the Grobbelaars River was right there if needed, c) the zipline made for some exciting people watching, and d) the coffee at the Cango Caves Estate turns out to be rather good.

Aside from its main business as a wedding or private event facility (the restored Manor House elegantly caters for this), the Cango Caves Estate also operates a very popular deli, which has its own coffee roastery and curio selection, not to mention its impressive stock of all the local fine wines, cheeses and biltong.

Then of course there is their zipline.

The Cango Caves Zipline is a double zipline setup, meaning that two people can slide side by side at the same time.

The ride starts at the parking area of the Cango Caves, with an initial teaser zip of some 155 meters over a Karoo ravine, followed by the big 465 meters trip over a game enclosure and all the way down to the Cango Caves Estate!

My girls are of course too small for this, (while Chantelle and I too heavy), so we opted to rather make do with some delicious pizza and ice cold drinks, admire the view, and perhaps try and beat the heat instead.

Can’t say that it wasn’t an enjoyable attempt.

Their food is good and the deli air-conditioned (and rather comfortable), making this a worthwhile stop if you ever do find yourself out and about in the middle of a sweltering hot Karoo afternoon.

Related Link: Cango Caves Estate

Mozart Cake and Memorabilia at Nibbles Bistro in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 NOV 2017

Seeing as we had happily been spending the day driving around, spotting mosaics and exploring the lovely little Sedgefield on the final leg of our June Holidays road trip, I decided that a suitable reward (in terms of cake and refreshments) was now very much in order for the girls and one super patient Chantelle.

Having just completed a short drive on The Island, we emerged (after dodging some bulldozers and diggers working on one of the roads) at the door of Nibbles Bistro, standing in the middle of the small Mosaic Market which itself is neatly tucked in between the Scarab Arts Village and the super popular Wild Oats Market location.

In addition to its welcoming outside seating area (hard not to love all that colour), the interior is actually well worth meandering through, primarily because all the walls are literally covered from floor to ceiling with all manner of for sale sports, music and movie memorabilia.

(Note, these memorabilia products are in fact sold by some other online company, the name of which has unfortunately now completely escaped me. It has something to do with golf, I’m sure. Anyway, if someone could drop me a line with the name it would be much appreciated!)

All this of course then means that there is no shortage of conversation fodder around the table – which could either be a blessing or a curse depending on how annoying your significant other is in terms of popular culture knowledge!

If I remember correctly, we ordered a couple of cakes to all share, the girls had hot chocolate and I had a nice coffee, with the star of the show for me being a piece of very delicious Mozart Cake – the first time that I’ve ever encountered this particular cake, much to the eye-rolling surprise of Chantelle.

The cafe was rather busy on the day that we were there, so service wasn’t that great (in fact I can remember to having become slightly annoyed with matters), but with that said, the cake was delicious, the food menu looked good, and the atmosphere was pretty laid back – so exactly what one would expect from this self declared “slow town” then! :)

Worth popping into then in other words.

Related Link: Nibbles Bistro