Category Archives: Restaurants

Coffee and Cake at Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant in Swellendam (2017-12-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 07 APR 2018

When I am in the mood to holiday then I holiday, and invariably that then means that I double the length of all long drives because I pretty much want to stop anywhere and everywhere.

Case in point: I felt like a Swellendam cake and coffee stop on the way up to Mossel Bay last December, but I didn’t feel like popping into (the almost always busy) Tredici as per the norm. So instead, Chantelle dug deep into her memory banks and came up with this little gem: the Old Mill Restaurant.

Situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountain range, in the heart of the Overberg, the Old Mill business is primarily that of a guest house, operating out from a beautiful old, protected national monument building set along the main road, where Belgian owner Nikki and his staff do their utmost to offer accommodation that comes intertwined with warm, friendly Flemish hospitality.

In addition to the guest house (and art gallery/curio store), the Old Mill also operates a lovely restaurant, featuring both an indoor and outdoor dining area.

The menu on offer is a diverse à la carte menu inspired by both traditional Afrikaans and international recipes, all waiting to be washed down with some imported Belgian beer. (The Old Mill appears to be rather proud of this offering).

And yes, as it turned out, they also do good cake and coffee as well.

We were of course super interested in finding a space under the canopy of trees that provides the much needed shade over the outside dining area, and pleasingly we did manage to grab just such a table on what was a particularly warm Summer’s afternoon in the end.

So. Coffee, cheesecake, carrot cake and sorbet was then (more or less equally) shared all around, thus making for a lovely little road trip leg stretch stop.

Lovely find and definitely a place I’ll stop for a bit longer at the next time that I find myself back in the Swellendam area again!

Related Link: Old Mill Guest House and Restaurant | Swellendam

Egg Dipped Croissants at Pajamas and Jam in Strand (2017-12-06) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 24 MAR 2018

Chantelle’s favourite little Helderberg restaurant is without a doubt one of the more unusual ones to be found in the area.

In the shadow of an old decommissioned naval helicopter perched on top the roof, flanked by both the family-run scrap dealer business and costume hire shop to either side, and situated in the heart of the very unsexy Strand industrial area, is the neatly painted, slightly unassuming, Pajamas +Jam Eatery.

Never mind that though – as with most of these little gems, it is on the inside where all the magic happens.

Run by a mother and her two daughters team, the premises of Pajamas and Jam houses a large collection of neatly arranged junk (sorry, I’ve been informed that those are all antiques and collectibles), in the middle of which is a fair number of mix and match tables and chairs.

To the side, hidden just behind the mouth wateringly decadent cake and bakes table is the kitchen, from which the most interesting and on trend foods are wheeled out on a constant basis. The use of top notch ingredients means an ever changing, well thought out menu that goes out of its way to surprise and delight.

Because of the decor and quality food, this eatery is by far more popular with the ladies than the men, and that shows, with the restaurant packed to the brim from early morning already. (Honestly, it’s always a gamble as to whether or not you’re going to get a space there!)

As I mentioned at the top of this post, given the fact that Pajamas and Jam is a firm favourite of Chantelle’s, it made perfect sense to head out that way for her (kid-free) birthday breakfast back in December last year.

Fancy french toast, deconstructed croissants and what not – no wonder she likes this place as much as what she does! ;)

Brownie points scored.

Related Link: Pajamas + Jam Eatery | Strand

Fish and Sushi at Harbour Rock in the New Harbour of Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 24 FEB 2018

As is almost always the case, we were in Hermanus to watch whales. We watched whales from the piazza, we watched whales from Fick’s Pool, we watched whales from the cliff path, we… well you get the picture.

Anyway, the point is that after all that whale watching/ambling about, a spot of lunch was required – and so we randomly picked out a new spot for us to try: Harbour Rock.

Designed and built in 1997, the stone, steel and timber Harbour Rock building sits perched atop a cliff overlooking Hermanus’ New Harbour, a premium restaurant known for its wine and more importantly, ever-evolving menu of seafood and grills.

A magnificent view over the harbour and across the bay, competent chefs, an authentic Chinese sushi team, and access to pretty fresh catches, it is no wonder that Harbour Rock is as popular as what it is.

While the girls weren’t particularly enthralled at having to eat at a seafood restaurant (and to be honest, seafood isn’t really my thing either), Chantelle on the other hand was ecstatic, immediately diving deep into a delicious sushi platter

I on the other hand opted for the less exotic fish and chips option, and in terms of drinks, we turned to a delectable bottle of Wolftrap Syrah for the table.

Following our lovely lunch, we next decided to take in some of the sea air with a leisurely stroll out along the harbour wall – a perfect way to stretch one’s legs and give the food a proper chance to settle in my opinion.

This, the girls were a little more pleased with.

In summary: Harbour Rock was a pleasant surprise and definitely worth keeping in mind if you are ever looking for a nice date night venue when in the Hermanus area.

(In other words, I’m rather glad that Chantelle came up with this particular suggestion!)

Bonus: If you would rather just have a drink, then Harbour Rock’s adjoining Gecko Bar is the perfect solution, enjoying the exact same stunning view that comes with the main restaurant experience.

Just follow the motorbikes to find it!

Related Link: Harbour Rock | New Harbour | Hermanus

Cookies and Coffee at Ikigai Artisan Coffee Bar and Deli in Riversdale (2017-12-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 18 FEB 2018

I don’t normally pull over at Riversdale on any of my N2 jaunts (it’s usually too close to my destination), and on the odd occasion that I do stop, it’s usually to give Die Rooi Aalwyn/Bali Trading a spin so that the girls can have a little run around on their lush green lawn and enjoy their play area.

However, thanks entirely to the power of Instagram and clearly a very clever restaurateur, Chantelle and I now most definitely do have a reason to stop. Ikigai.

Named for the Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”, Ikigai is sandwiched in next to the Spur (to your left as you travel on the N2 towards the Garden Route), and is best described as an artisan coffee bar and deli, with a sense of style that leaves you confused as to whether or not you forgot to leave home and are actually still lounging about in Observatory, Cape Town.

Trendy decor and inspirational quotes aside, Ikigai is obviously known first and foremost for its good selection of coffee and other warm drinks. Then of course there are its light meals and snacks, the most important being their delectable selection of pies – which Chantelle and I simply couldn’t get enough of!

(That said the girls would of course argue that no, their massive selection of baked cookies are by far the best!)

In summary: The space is small and intimate, the service prompt and friendly, the food good, and thanks to Ikigai’s trendy decor, visually everything is a treat for the eye.

Definitely well worth a coffee run stop then!

P.S. Chantelle and I enjoyed Ikigai enough to prompt a return visit on our way back home!

Related Link: Ikigai Coffee Bar & Deli | Riversdale

Banoffee Waffles at the Belgian Waffle House in Strand (2017-12-15) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 14 FEB 2018

Just a friendly reminder, but if you are at the beach in Strand and are looking perhaps to either escape the wind or treat your kids to something nice, then it is worth knowing that the excellent Belgian waffles from The Belgian Waffle House are still going strong.

The waffles are light and fluffy, come in either a sweet or savoury form, and make for a fun little outing to a place that seems to always have people visiting in it. (Fun fact, the picture above is their attempt at a banoffee waffle. Simple yet deliciously sweet.)

Oh, and don’t forget to take a stroll along the beautiful new concrete promenade walkway – the planning and construction guys have done a great job with this one!

Bonus: Yes, my girls pretty much stopped listening to us reading the menu out to them once they heard the word ‘Smarties’.

Related Link: The Belgian Waffle House | Strand

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