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Our trip to Cape Town in April was overwhelming. We did so much that I can’t do it justice in one post! I’ll be breaking it down each week, with a highlight of each area. This week, it’s all about one of my favourite things….food!
As we were staying in self-catering apartments, we had to figure food every day. My partner lived in Cape Town for 18 years so she had a long list of places that she wanted to eat. Luckily, she also knew what a supermarket looked like, what products were good, and not to eat polony!
We had discussed and saved a long time and sorted our holiday budget so we could afford to eat happily whilst we were there. I was surprised to find that the supermarkets were about on par in price with UK supermarkets. The average household income in the UK is around £27,000 and in South Africa it is around £10,000. So for food to be the same price, it’s the equivalent of a bag of microwave rice costing us between £3 and £5 on average.
Comparatively, the cost of eating out in Cape Town is a lot less than in London. Which is great for us because the cost of stocking up the cupboards with all ingredients etc for cooking was heading towards more than eating out! Plus when you go out for dinner, no one has to do the washing up.
Thanks to our historical knowledge, research and recommendations from M’s friends, we had a great time eating our way round the city. My top 5 meals are here!
One of the first places we ate was Spur. Imagine TGI Friday’s with a native American theme… and a lot cheaper.
In the style of the true gluttons we are, we ordered a lot of different things. Spur’s nachos are infamous, so we had to have a big portion of those! We also had wings, calamari, fries and veg sides (very butter spinach and butternut squash). We didn’t manage to finish it, along with the cokes and beers we had, it was just too much. Including the tip it came to less than £25 and it kept us going all the rest of the day.
The next place we hit up was Salushi, in Claremont. We’d gone on a tour of the suburbs, seeing where M lived and grew up and this was on her must-eat list. I have to say, I was definitely not disappointed. As we went during the day in the week, it was relatively quiet so we had our pick of outside tables.
The waitresses were welcoming and funny. The food was beautifully presented and delicious. We ordered enough that we couldn’t finish it, despite having climbed around Kirstenbosch National Gardens for hours just before. Still our bill came to around £25 which was more than just a bargain! I’d definitely recommend the Bon Bons to eat, with an iced tea to cool you off in the heat!
After days of running ragged, M and I decided we needed some down time and a date night. We wanted to go out in the evening, for dinner and drinks, but the city centre isn’t really safe enough after dark for us to be doing that. Luckily, the area we stayed in, is super safe so we felt okay to wander about. So we stumbled upon Knife at the Marriot, and I’m so glad we did! Everything was wonderful.
The restaurant itself was beautiful, the waiters were fantastic and the food was heavenly. The cocktails were also a big hit! They have a partner restaurant, Fork, in the town centre which is more of a tapas vibe but this place was great for our date night. Including 2 courses, cocktails and a large tip, the bill came to around £80 for the two of us, which was the perfect end to the evening!
When we were staying in the town centre, we decided on a day of museums and wandering, as a lot of the things were nearby each other. Obviously to survive a day of traipsing about, we need to fuel up! We pottered about and came across this beautiful little cage, Mozart on Church, nestled between antiques markets and buskers on Church Street. The coffee was delicious, the eggs were poached to perfection.
The buskers nearby weren’t going to win the X Factor any time soon but they were a nice background. A lot of Cape Town is super modern or commercialised but this place had a real laid back, beachy vibe. No rush for your order, no suited waiters, with plenty of hipster arty types wandering around.
Now, a Gatsby isn’t a specific restaurant or café, it’s Cape Town’s odd signature dish. For a city with the most wonderful mix of ethnicity, in Africa, based on the sea, I’d expected it to be something fresh and salad like with lots of spices. I think a LOT of Brits and Americans would love a Gatsby. It’s basically a massive long bread roll, filled with Malay spiced steak, chips, salad, cheese and sauce.
It’s essentially a heart attack in a bun and makes no sense with the country’s heritage but it’s GLORIOUS. One feeds at least 3 to 4 people and they come in about a fiver each. You’ll find them in “greasy spoon” type cafes or independent restaurants. The posh version any of the chain restaurants aren’t worth it at all! The food was glorious but I think, for me, the topping was the company. I was with M’s friends, the girls who love her most in the world, who had welcomed me into their homes and hearts with big open arms.
And the rest
There was SO much else to share in terms of food. We ate out every day, for convenience and cost mostly, but also because we’re on holiday and wanted to live without restrictions and have fun!
Here’s the run down of where else we went, all of which I would thoroughly recommend!
Rockpool – Sea Point. Popped in for brunch. Great food with great views!
The Galley – Fish Hoek. We went in with the intention of Fish & Chips in their takeaway but got drawn into a fancy fish kebab in their restaurant, whilst watching kids play in the waves of this secluded beach.
LouLous – Green Point. This was a night out out for a friend’s birthday. Tapas and booze. The food was amazing and I wish we’d been there for an actual dinner and not to consume copious amounts of rum and gin. Also great party venue on a Saturday night if you’re looking for a little party but not a huge club!
Cape Town Fish Market – Century City. More Sushi! We just couldn’t help ourselves. I thought it was a bit bright on the lights but the sushi is made to order and totally on point. Great options for cheap wine that pairs amazingly, too!
NowNow – Various locations. Imagine Subway with the quality of Waitrose and the health levels of Whole Foods. A touch pricier than some on-the-go places but still cheap, quick and delicious!
Braii – the best way to enjoy food in Cape Town is with the locals. Any South African will tell you the best way to cook is to Braii (BBQ)! It’s more complex than a Great British BBQ. You have to wait a long time. Plenty of beers and snacks are needed but the end result is SO worth it. South Africans really know how to season and fire their food!