Category Archives: Restaurants

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

Roosterkoek Burgers at the Old Gaol on Church Square in Swellendam (2018-01-05) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 03 MAY 2018

The last time that we had visited the Old Gaol on Church Square restaurant in Swellendam it was raining. And we walked out with a delicous milk tart. This time however it wasn’t raining. And we were instead with my father, who was graciously giving us a lift back to Gordon’s Bay following our little George holiday detour.

In a way it is a bit of a pity that the Old Gaol restaurant no longer resides in the old jail over at Swellendam’s Drostdy Museum, because then obviously the name makes a lot of sense. However the restaurant’s new(ish) location in the historically significant building on Church Square makes for a good enough replacement – perhaps even better given the great outdoor space now on offer.

Given the good weather, we found a nice table in the shade, partook in the Old Gaol on Church Square’s reasonably good roosterkoek hamburgers whilst cooling down with an age appropriate assortment of beers, sodas and milkshakes – all while giving the legs a neat little stretch.

The restaurant appears to have undergone a bit of a face lift, with updated branding, a new menu and a staff complement which felt a little more snappy compared to the last time that we visited.

All in all, another pretty neat lunch time stop in Swellendam then.

Pro Tip: Can’t find the restaurant? It is literally across the road from the magnificent NG Church that dominates Swellendam’s main road! (Also, the old carriage standing out in front makes for a decent marker as well.)

Related Link: Old Gaol on Church Square | Swellendam

Gourmet Burgers at Pure Craft and Foods in George (2018-01-03) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 APR 2018

George isn’t really known for being a foodie hotspot, which means then that both Chantelle and I were way more than pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon the fantastic Pure Craft & Foods during our short stay in the “Capital of the Southern Cape” at the start of this year.

Standing where the long running institution that was the King Fisher Restaurant used to be, Pure is like one of those hip, young eateries that you would expect to find in some trendy Cape Town neighbourhood like Woodstock or Observatory. Except that it is in George. Which is kind of at the other end of the trendy spectrum.

Owned by a young guy, heavy on the wood and brass look, the double storey high Pure features loads of table space (both inside and out), and oozes a contemporary feel with just about everything that it does.

Their menu and food presentation is just as up to snuff, and pleasingly, the waiters all seem to be young, energetic and eager to interact. In addition to their great dishes, Pure, as what any other contemporary eatery simply needs to have, has a great range of craft beers and sushi (of course!) available, and as you might have guessed by now, this rather popular new spot definitely has quite the good vibe going for it.

Although not exactly overly kid friendly in that they don’t have a space available for kids to play (the girls did love their colour-in kiddy menus though), Chantelle and I absolutely loved it and its offering, so much so that we actually visited there twice over the handful of days that we were in George!

Impossible not to recommend really.

Related Link: Pure Craft & Foods | George

Snoek Pizza at the Franschhoek Station Pub & Grill (2017-08-13) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 26 APR 2018

Franschhoek is a fantastic town to visit, beautiful surroundings, incredible wine estates, brilliant restaurants, a grand monument – but in truth isn’t really all that geared for visiting families, given the general upmarket offerings of the area. That said, there is one restaurant that does actual cater for those needing a more casual experience – the Franschhoek Station Pub.

Situated in the historic, but now disused, town train station, the Franschhoek Station Pub & Craft Bar is one of those dining spots that gets a whole lot right when it comes to entertaining families (and men who want a place to watch sport). The menu is nice and cosy, the beer selection wide (and yes, this includes a lot of the local craft brews), the pub’s decorations interesting, and most important of all, they have a small kids play area behind the pub, right next to the big stretch tent that covers the outdoor eating area.

Oh, and they offer a biltong tasting too.

Our particular visit saw myself tucking into a particularly good hamburger and downing a surprisingly good Stellenbrau Craven Craft Lager, while Chantelle opted for something far less conventional – a snoek covered pizza! A weird combination for sure, but nevertheless a taste which wasn’t half bad in the end.

Chantelle and I had a good time, the kids had a good time, and so all in all a pretty easy spot to recommend to visitors looking for something a little more casual in among the rest of Franschhoek’s more sophisticated offerings.

The station pub is on the main road and pretty much impossible to miss (the building is unique, the old steam engine stands out, and then there are the large tin buffalo, elephant and rhino statues to catch your eye), though here is a map for just in case you did somehow manage to ride on right past it!

Related Link: Franschhoek Station Pub & Grill | Franschhoek

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