One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town has so much going for it – long sandy beaches, fantastic food and locally produced wine, and the most exquisite natural setting I have seen.
For the Brits, Cape Town is still one of the most affordable holiday destinations – the £ (despite the recent Brexit battering) is still strong compared to the Rand, so do not expect to pay an arm and a leg for top notch food, wine and some accommodation whilst there.
One of the best meals I had during the recent #Stellenblog 2016 tour was in Cape Town at a restaurant called the Chefs Warehouse Kitchen headed by Irish chef Liam Tomlin, but more on that later.
|My lovely blogger friend Sam Linsell of Drizzle & Dip fame with friends John & Pammie at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen|
Cape Town is a mere 45 minutes drive from Stellenbosch where we spent most of our time during the tour (see my earlier review here and here including my 3 top dining recommendations in Stellenbosch). So it is a good place to start or end a holiday in South Africa’s Western Cape.
Where to Stay
The President Hotel is a four-star hotel in the heart of the Bantry Bay area of Cape Town, a couple of blocks away from the seashore. It is a reasonably large hotel, a popular destination for holidaymakers and time-share owners, and offers everything from single or double rooms and suites to fully equipped self-catering flats.
My room was one of these flats, with two double bedrooms, a small kitchen, dining and living room areas. It had more than enough space for me as a single traveller, and was modern in its furnishing, affording great views over the sea, the swimming pool and surrounding areas.
The pool dominates the centre of the hotel, and is the focal point for breakfast and late afternoon drinks. The President Hotel is also one of the official stops for the Hop-on-Hope-off bus route, which has a circular route around Cape Town’s most popular spots, see What To Do section below.
Where to Eat
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
In the heart of Cape Town, the Chefs Warehouse & Canteen is a casual eatery headed by Irish chef Liam Tomlin. It is a relaxed canteen-style restaurant that does not take bookings, and is popular for its tapas-style menu. Chefs Warehouse & Canteen is one of the most coveted tables in Cape Town right now, so make sure to arrive early (around 6pm!) to get a table for the evening.
I ordered the popular tapas for 2 menu – eight dishes for 540 Rand (currently £28 for two). Dishes change every day, so I’ll give you a brief description of what I ate but you will probably get something different if you visit.
The food was immaculately presented, fresh, zingy and well seasoned. The chefs clearly know what they are doing, and I enjoyed every dish on the menu. My only regret is that the portions were not bigger, so delicious were they!
Cured beetroot salmon with horseradish cream came with micro-herbs.
Crisp fried squid with Sririracha (Asian chilli sauce) and guacamole – this was soft but with crispy outer layer and had just the right amount of heat for me.
Tuna and yellowtail with miso and sake was beautifully presented with micro-herbs and sliced baby radishes.
Roast onion risotto was served in gorgeous individual copper pans, scattered with chives and fried garlic, this was creamy and delicious and one of the highlights of the evening.
The sautée mushrooms with soft polenta and Parmesan cream was suffused with deliciously rich, earthy flavours from the funghi.
The confit rabbit, rabbit loin and Puy lentils.
The entrecote was a tiny portion, served rare with green vegetables, and I really enjoyed it.
The crayfish linguini with crayfish bisque was deliciously concentrated, and lifted by the addition of chives and basil.
I had a great dinner at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen, and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cape Town.
In the beach-side suburb of Cape Town known as Muizenberg, Tiger’s Milk is a popular dining spot famous for their burgers, pizza and steaks. Despite the name (tiger’s milk being the dressing for ceviche) there is no Peruvian connection to this restaurant.
I had a great burger there – the Rockstar – with medium rare beef, guacamole and cheese (£5). The patty was juicy and beautifully cooked, served with proper hand-cut chips, although I would have preferred pieces of avocado to the creamy guacamole, which made the burger a little too wet and challenging to eat.
What to Do
Helicopter Ride with Cape Town Helicopters
One of the most incredible experiences I had in Cape Town was a 25-minute helicopter ride around Table Top mountain with Cape Town helicopters.
Taking off from the V&A Waterfront, this was a breathtaking flight to see the city of Cape Town from the sea with Table Top Mountain in the background. We then soared above the mountain to see the view of the city and Atlantic Ocean from behind the mountain, as well as False Bay, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg.
I would thoroughly recommend using Cape Town Helicopters while in town. There are various trips available ranging from 12 to 60 minutes, at a variety of prices. The one I took was the Two Oceans (£100 per person for a 25 minute ride), which also included a free City Sightseeing bus ticket (the hop-on, hop-off one) for the day, worth £10.
Cable Car up Table Mountain
Another experience not to be missed is going up Table Mountain by cable car. The ticket will cost as little as 240 Rand (£12), and the panoramic views of Cape Town from the top are breathtaking.
But there is so much more to Table Mountain than just the views – you can plan a full day of activities, free guided tours, hiking, learning about the unique vegetation and fauna.
Table Mountain is also a great place to watch the sunset, and for the more adventurous, abseiling is also possible.
I spent a few hours on top of the mountain, and it was difficult to tear myself away from the view to take the cable car down again – I could have stayed for hours.
Gary Surf School
Located on the beach front at Surfer’s Corner, Muizenberg, Cape Town, Gary’s Surf School is a favourite for surfing enthusiasts wanting to learn the tricks of the trade.
|Gorgeous Art Deco buildings in Muizenberg|
The first half hour of the class is spent on the beach learning about the techniques (I never thought there would be so many needed to keep you afloat on a surf board!), but most importantly health and safety. The remaining 90 minutes were spent in the sea, and a lot of it involved falling off the board, trying but failing to catch the surf.
For me, the best part of the class was heading back to the school for a hearty breakfast of eggs Benedict over mushrooms and chunky bread!
Antique shops in the quaint town of Kalk Bay
One of the most popular destinations along Cape Town’s False Bay, Kalk Bay’s Main Road is packed with antique shops, coffee shops, galleries, second-hand bookshops and restaurants.
Essentially a fishing village, Kalk Bay is still a lively working harbour as well as a fun place to visit, and makes for a great day trip from Cape Town.
I found this a pretty, arty little fishing village, and spent a few happy hours exploring the galleries, antique and book shops there. I would recommend a day trip there to anyone in Cape Town.
Hop-on, hop-off bus
Taxis in Cape Town have no meters, so haggling is required, and as a visitor you will find that prices fluctuate tremendously. I was surprised to find that the taxi ride from my hotel to the Cable Mountain cable car cost more than twice the cost of a whole day ticket on the hop-on, hop-off bus (£10.50), which links those two locations. There is a stop right outside the President Hotel.
I always smile when I see tourists in London on these buses, but I have to say if you have only a couple of days in a city, it’s a really great way to get around and I was very glad of it in Cape Town.
As well as offering two different routes, from my point of view the bus is great value, offers the option of stopping anywhere you like, and also has an informative commentary. There are spectacular views from the open-topped, London-style double decker bus.
The 2-day ticket (£16 per person) comes with a canal cruise, a wine tour, a night tour and a walking tour included in the price, which strikes me as amazing value. If you have not already purchased it, a one-day ticket comes free with Cape Town Helicopters.
The Stellenblog campaign was created and sponsored by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, Stellenbosch 360 and Destinate in partnership with iambassador. The London Foodie has however full editorial control over all content published.
I flew with South African Airways from London Heathrow taking a connecting flight from Johannersburg to Cape Town. With two daily overnight flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg, South African Airways offers flights to the largest route network within Southern Africa. To learn more, visit their website on flysaa.com or call 0844 375 9680.
4 Alexander Road, Bantry Bay, Cape Town
Room rates are in the region of £100 to £150 per night, depending on the season.
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
92 Bree Street
Cape Town 8001
Tiger’s Milk – Muizenberg
Corner of Beach and Sidmouth Roads
Cape Town Helicopters
220 East Pier,
Table Top Mountain
Going up the mountain by cable car
Gary Surf School
34 Beach Rd
Facebook : Garys-Surf-School
Cape Town Sightseeing Bus Tour
Daily ticket £10.50