Category Archives: Food and Drink

Burgers at The Orchard in Grabouw (2021-01-03) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 25 FEB 2021

Having spent the whole morning at Adene’s Farm Flowers out in Wolseley, we took a leisurely long scenic drive back home, heading through Villiersdorp with an eye on eventually grabbing lunch from The Hickory Shack, a particularly excellent smokehouse on the outskirts of Grabouw. However, on arrival at the skull mounted shed in the Elgin Valley, we were disappointed to find Hickory Shack rather super busy – in other words, super not okay to visit during this current Covid-19 pandemic. Saddened, we pointed our nose back in the direction of Sir Lowry’s Pass and tried our luck next with a visit to Rojaal. Damn, it turns out that they have since been forced out of business thanks to all the crippling lockdowns.

Okay, no worries, we then hopped over to the ever popular Peregrine Farm Stall in the hopes of scoring lunch. Ah, should have known that with an adjective like ‘popular’ in that previous sentence, Peregrine would also be outrageously packed with people in this time of the Coronavirus! Right, so properly disillusioned now (with moans of hunger surrounding me), I threw my last dice and pulled up at The Orchard, another one of Grabouw’s famous on the N2 farm stalls.

Success at last! Almost completely devoid of people (bad for the business of course, but excellent for us), The Orchard ticked all the right boxes. Little to no people to have to work our way through, a lunch menu, and that all important option of sitting outside in the fresh air to eat. (The availability of grass to run on and things to clamber over for the kids was discounted given how hot it was on the day. You would have ended up with 3rd degree burns if you went down a jungle gym slide!)

The Orchard’s farm stall section itself is actually worth mentioning. It is particular spacious, well stocked with all the things that you would expect from a farm stall, and has a delightful array of home bakes and other sweet things to take back with you on the road. In terms of the eatery section, the menu is uncomplicated but features a little something for everyone, and on this particular outing pretty much everyone ended up having either a chicken or beef burger with fries on their plates.

So although it wasn’t originally on our lunch time venue list, The Orchard definitely stepped up to the plate for us, and honestly, sitting at a table shaded by a tree with no one one around was absolutely perfect. Definitely not looking for ‘vibe’ at least until the vaccination rollout is well and truly underway!

Eggs Benedict and Coffee at Famous Bean in Gordon’s Bay (2021-02-15) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 21 FEB 2021

Monday saw the girls finally return to Gordon’s Bay Primary School after an INCREDIBLY long December school holiday break thanks to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Of course it is safe to say that we DEFINITELY weren’t the only parents to celebrate this return to relative normality by immediately heading out for a breakfast bite following the big 1st day of school drop-off. (Also, to add to the fun, it just so happened to be Emily’s first day of Grade 1, meaning that we are now officially released from the baby school phase of our parenting lives. In other words, even more reason to celebrate!)

Sadly, the popular Gordon’s Bay eatery that was the Old Cape Café (situated across Gordon’s Bay main beach in the Old Cape Café Mall) didn’t survive the devastating Coronavirus Lockdowns of 2019, but fortunately an eager newcomer has stepped in to fill its shoes in the form of a Famous Bean franchise trading under the name of Famous Bean @ Cape Café.

Naturally, as part of the Famous Bean company, the freshly roasted coffee on offer is fantastic, and pleasingly the food offering is pretty good too. On this particular morning both Chantelle and I indulged in some lovely eggs benedict with coffee for breakfast, and I am happy to report that all was good. Sadly the wind was a little too nippy to encourage us to sit out on the deck, but seeing as we live right here in Gordon’s Bay, its not like we don’t already know the view! ;)

Sudoku and Bistro Fare at Alex on Fire in Somerset West (2021-01-23) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 01 FEB 2021

Tucked away in what is best described as one of the more tired looking parts of where Strand meets Somerset West is a relatively new, sparkly eatery gem named Alex on Fire Moto Bistro. Bearing in mind that subtitle, given the fact that the bistro is situated just behind a popular motorcycle workshop, and taking into account that kick-ass logo, this is of course then another one of those eateries that takes its heart from the biking fraternity – which makes sense considering the fact that co-owner Derek Chester-Browne has for many years been part of the local motorcycle scene. That said though, this is certainly no simple biker’s joint.

Housed in a heritage property and in possession of a beautiful Burmese teak bar that comes from a once popular Somerset West watering hole that has long since burned down, the Alexandria Hotel, Alex on Fire is actually a quite decent eatery that serves some pretty upmarket styled food and just so happens to have a little something for everyone on its impressive (for a bistro) menu. Again, this makes complete sense if you consider that Scott Hendrie is the chef at the wheel, which, if my LinkedIn stalking skills are correct, has him as having previously helmed some of the Cape’s top kitchens, including Le Franschhoek Hotel, Dieu Donne Restaurant, Pepper Club Hotel, and Val de Vie Polo Restaurant.

Given the intention to be a bit of a home to all, Alex on Fire actually does a great job of catering to kids, complete with a fun little adventure styled kids play area that features a magnificent boat stuck in a tree treehouse! Our particular visit fell within the period where Coronavirus Lockdown rules equalled prohibition, so no comment on the drink available but as you can tell from the photos the food came out of the kitchen looking (and tasting) pretty damn good!

An added bonus worth mentioning is that on arrival both the kids and the adults received a neat little entertainment pack – colouring in for the girls and a page of sudoku, wordsearch and crossword puzzles for the adults – a near perfect distraction while you wait for your food and maybe don’t have anything left to say to one another after having spent pretty much the entire year staring into one another’s eyes thanks to the global pandemic the world is currently engulfed in.

Exploring all the way to Chapter 4 Eatery outside Stellenbosch (2020-08-29) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 13 DEC 2020

The Western Cape experienced some truly cold weather this winter, enough to spark snowfall on most of our higher peaks, which of course then meant lots of chasing about to view this wonderful and relatively rare occurrence for a territory not exactly used to receiving snow. As it stood, even our lowly peaks of the surrounding Helderberg mountains managed to get a bit of icing sugar on the top of their heads and so into the car Chantelle, the girls and I clambered to see if we could get a slightly better Helderberg view.

This particular sightseeing trip saw us first head out to Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and up to Knorhoek Estate, taking the steep road right up to Da Capo Vineyards and the beautiful Idiom Winery and Restaurant on the slopes of the Helderberg range. (The view of course was stunning, and if we didn’t have the girls with us in the car, we probably would have indulged in some wine tasting at their majestic tasting centre.)

Oh well. Down the mountain we came and back in Somerset West, we pulled over on Reservoir Road to take in the stunning view of the white frosted peaks. And also the mom who was diligently taking photos of her daughter doing ballet photos with the mountains as a backdrop. Clearly we are not ‘influencer’ enough!

From there I sought out a new place that I had caught wind of via Google Maps, a small green cluster in the heart of Somerset West referred to as Silver Tree Gorge (or Silwerboomkloof). As it turns out, Silver Tree Gorge is a small protected valley that is home to a forest of rare Silvertree, the silver-coloured tree member of the Protea family that is actually indigenous to the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. This clump, far removed from its normal habitat is somewhat of an anomaly, so it was kind of cool to stumble upon.

By this stage the girls were moaning about being hungry, so after a nice drive around the idyllic Spanish Farm suburb of Somerset West, I set course to the Cape Garden centre outside Stellenbosch, more specifically to a small little eatery called Chapter 4 Eatery – opened by the former owner of our once beloved Mondeor Garden Kitchen.

This little jaunt to the nursery for pizza and milkshakes was actually our very first restaurant visit following the big Covid-19 lockdown, but it was exactly what we needed. Super quiet, lots of space, and a little bit of outdoor fun equipment for Jessica and Emily to stretch their limbs out on. Nice.

USA 2019 – 07 Fuel Pizza and Wings at 600 F St NW in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 10 DEC 2020

So after a very successful day of on foot architecture, memorials and sculptures sightseeing for my first day in Washington DC, my now very tired feet were urging me to pick my way back to the hotel, but more importantly before that, find something to eat considering the fact that I hadn’t eaten the entire day – and for my first night in Washington DC I knew very much exactly what I wanted: America-style pizza!

So I slowly worked my way up along 6th St NW and just before I reached the Capitol One Arena (which was a hive of bustling, hay-fuelled horsey activity thanks to the grand Washington International Horse Show about to kick off – which unfortunately I wasn’t able to secure tickets for), I bumped into something looking particularly promising tucked away on the bottom floor of a very interesting looking building marked as the former Oriental Building Association headquarters – Fuel.

Fuel Pizza & Wings as it turns out is a small franchise that started up in 1998 by a couple of New Yorkers who found themselves living in Charlotte but in need of some really good New York-style pizza. They eventually found the perfect location to start in an old funky 1930’s gas station and fast forward 20 years, the team now have four locations scattered around Charlotte and two in Washington DC – one of which I had now perchance stumbled upon.

This particular Fuel eatery is themed around the 1930’s racing circuit and goes for a relatively industrial, minimalistic feel to it. Aesthetics, bar, and wings offerings aside, pizza is what I was there for and thankfully Fuel delivered exactly what I wanted. By the slice, cheese dripping, crispy thin based pizza heaven. It sounds stupid of course because we have plenty of good pizza options back home in South Africa, but admittedly there is something a little different about how the American ingredients influence the final product.

Pizza and Baboons at Something Els in Rooi Els (2020-11-08) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 08 DEC 2020

Last month Chantelle and her The Helderberg Cake Company venture had as her last bake for the weekend a Sunday delivery out in Betty’s Bay, and so to combine wanting to get out of the house and grabbing a spot of brunch at the same time, we all piled into the car and drove off over the beautiful Clarence Drive coastal road, picking our way along the mountain slopes and the sea in what can only be described as some rather overcast weather.

Betty’s Bay and her dirt roads were of course thus a mud and puddle heaven, and not wanting to take a chance of sinking our car into a particularly deep hole, Emily was employed as official puddle depth tester (she being the only one wearing gumboots on the day), meaning any overly large puddle we weren’t sure of, she would have to jump out and go walk through the water. Genius use of child labour I tell you!

Delivery done and now on the way back, I wildly gesticulated at Chantelle that she pull over just outside of Pringle Bay, for I had spotted a magnificently gushing waterfall a little ways off the road. As luck would have it, there was in fact a small road that got us relatively close enough to admire the waterworks and well as the beautiful fynbos flowers that were so prettily framing this majestic Kogelberg Biosphere scene.

From there we rolled into Rooi Els, a perennial favourite of mine, pulling up at Something Els, an eatery and more interestingly, a botanical bar. Now I’m not entirely sure what they mean by “Botanical Bar”, but seeing as this is the Western Cape it is probably something to do with fynbos infused gin. (Seriously, you can’t move more than a few metres around Cape Town without tripping over some or other brand/style of gin these days!)

Not that it mattered though. We were there for food and to chill, and so a combination of pizzas and breakfast options were devoured, games of noughts and crosses were played, rain and grey sky atmosphere soaked up, and as if that wasn’t entertainment enough, one of the local baboons entered the restaurant much to the giddy excitement of the girls and of course, consternation of the staff. (No damage done, he didn’t get away with anything, and now Chantelle’s car has a furry baboon butt imprint on it).

SCV Wine, Brandy and Beer Tasting at the Barrydale Cellar (2019-07-02) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 30 MAR 2020

This is South Africa so of course we try to produce wine pretty much everywhere, and the Klein Karoo is certainly no exception. Situated along the Huisrivier river, right at the entrance to the diminutive town of Barrydale is the Barrydale Cellar, a well known local winery and brandy distillery that also plays home to a pretty unique restaurant experience in the form of the Cellar Restaurant.

In 2005 the Barrydale Cellar and neighbouring Ladismith Cellar joined forces to form the Southern Cape Vineyards (SCV), the umbrella label under which both wineries now produce their wines. In addition to the wine, the cellars also produce a range of other alcoholic drinks, including beers (like the Lady Lager and Barry Ale), ciders, grappa, and of course brandy, with signature lines like Oude Molen and the premium Joseph Barry being the most well known of these.

There is a small intimate tasting room at the Barrydale Cellar operation that allows you to get more familiar with their product lines, but for most the allure of visiting the cellar is of course the Cellar Restaurant – a restaurant space tucked into an old brandy aging cellar with its raw brick walls, aged cement roof, stacked wine barrels and rustic copper light fixtures. There is also a complete brewing room situated behind a glass wall, allowing you on certain days to actually see first-hand how some of the craft beer gets brewed.

On this particular visit of ours we were of course obligated to taste all the wines (which were excellent), but sadly enough, our plans for the day did unfortunately not include a meal at this most interesting looking restaurants. Oh well, another time then…

Coffee and Curios at The Old Jail in Riversdale (2019-07-04) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 27 MAR 2020

Continuing our June school holidays adventure, the girls and I moved on from Barrydale, shooting past Algerynskraal, over the Garcia Pass and on to Riversdale, with the final goal being to make it back onto the N2 in order to end up in Mossel Bay. That said, there was a particular stop that I first wanted to make as we crossed into the small town of Riversdale…

One of the oldest historical buildings still standing in Riversdale, the original structure of the Ou Tronk (Old Jail) was first used as a trading store, before being purchased by the state in 1860 for conversion into a jail. Eventually closed down in 1979 (following the construction of the large prison in Oudtshoorn), the jail moved back into private hands (making it one of the only South African jail properties to actually reside in private ownership).

After inheriting it from her father who had bought it to store farming equipment, Louise Malherbe eventually found a second life for the unusual space by turning one of the courtyards into a coffee shop and renting out the remaining cells (there are 33 of them) as display spaces for various home decor and art creatives. (There are also a fair bit of historic artifacts dotted around, including an imitation of the travelling gallows that were used to hang the jail’s only receiver of the death penalty, one Gilbert Hay of Heidelberg who was found guilty of having murdered his mother.)

(There is apparently also a weekly farmer’s market that happens on a Saturday at the jail, but I’m not 100% sure if this is still the case.)

Despite its initial ghoulish overtures, the Ou Tronk (which actually in some ways looks a lot more like a Spanish hacienda than an actual prison) is quite a welcoming space for a cup of tea and a slice of their famous carrot cake. The courtyard is peppered with shade from planted avocado and banana trees and of course the location itself makes for some interesting conversation points.

All in all the Old Jail certainly makes for an interesting place to make a stop, that’s for sure.

Koi and Coffee at The Blue Cow in Barrydale (2019-07-02) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 MAR 2020

For the June school holidays last year we found ourselves spending a bit of time in Barrydale at the relaxing Warmwaterberg Spa setup, and seeing as this is somewhat of a tradition by now, we obviously made time for a coffee and cake stop at The Blue Cow.

Situated on the Cooke farm in Barrydale, the Blue Cow sits at the edge of a small farm dam (jokingly referred to as the Barrydale Waterfront) and offers a nice selection of homely cakes, coffee, farm fresh salads and very light lunches. The views of Barrydale’s surrounding hills and farmland are refreshing and the countless koi and weaver birds surrounding the coffee shop makes for a tranquil, nature rich stop.

The Blue Cow has in fact taken it a step further now, having birthed its own accommodation option in the form of four cottages at the so-called Blue Cow Barn. Chantelle and her folks get on particularly well with the owner of the Blue Cow, which translates into VERY lengthy and sociable visits.

Not that I’m complaining though – all the more time to stroll around and take a LOT of photos of what really are beautiful surrounds.