Need a brunch with a punch? Do you eat breakfast with the neck first? Sorry that second line was a bit try-hard wasn’t it?
I love everything about breakfast. The sizzling bacon, the drizzling hollandaise sauce, the magnitude of how you can have your eggs and most importantly the satisfied feeling that can take you past lunch time.
I visited Clarkes on Bree Street in Cape Town based on a friends recommendation. I was not disappointed by the flavour of this small but buzzing bar on a Sunday morning at 9am. If you’re looking for your regular Farmhouse Breakfast, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a classic Eggs Benedict, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for your french toast to arrive in two slices, this isn’t it.
Clarkes has a very unique menu which surprises you when you first take a look. You won’t be able to find a comfort zone which means you are forced to read every item on the menu to find a sufficient replacement. It will make you realise that there are some very exciting options out there for breakfast!
I settled on the Omlette. It was no ordinary omlette. It came stuffed with spinach, goat’s cheese, zucchini, smoked aubergine, our baby rosas, pan-fried mushrooms and served with pea shoots and toast. My UK friend visiting Cape Town selected the Hash Eggs which I assume is a version of Eggs Benedict? It came with crispy potatoes, toasted cauliflower, peppers and spring onions with two poached eggs, hollandaise and pea shoots. Kapow! Talk about a mouth full.
The home page of their website will give you a good idea of the quality of #FoodPorn available here.
How could this wonderful tasting sensation be spoilt? Service. Don’t get me wrong. The service was friendly, inviting, warm and all the food came out looking great every time. We sat at the bar to watch the chefs creating these magical wonders together, which can be fun and traumatising at the same time while we waited for our plates.
It’s all about timing folks. We waited 1h15m to get our food. They were very busy but I’m sorry being busy in the restaurant industry is not an excuse. Especially when it comes to breakfast my friends. My stomach waits for no one. It is rather unfortunate that I can be grumpy on an empty stomach, especially in the morning. When the food finally did arrive I honestly had lost my appetite because I’d left my stomach empty for too long. If they had been on their game they would have possibly offered me more to drink. I only managed to order one (lukewarm) cappuccino and would have loved another to keep the hunger at bay. The staff were just too busy to catch!
I didn’t get this far not to eat the food! I stuffed my face as much as I could but I left quite a bit behind which made me sad because it was indeed delicious.
I don’t want to have a digg at the staff because honestly I could tell that everyone in the kitchen was working very hard. The staff were running around every second of the breakfast service. When we left there was a massive queue going out the doors.
I was just left a little disappointed.
I waited about 30min to get my bill after asking for it. During this time I asked a couple next to me what they thought of Clarkes, it was their first time too. I asked this couple for a quote and they said the following: “Really great menu but major staffing issues which affects service.”
In summary: I would absolutely recommend visiting Clarkes Bar & Dining because their menu is a true delight, but take a snack in your purse just in case it gets busy.
Update 19 February 2015
After publishing my blog I received a Tweet from @ClarkesDining. I was really surprised and impressed by their response. Not only had they acknowledged me but they thanked me for my slightly controversial review. Big up to the community manager at Clarkes Bar & Dining for being on the ball and saying the right thing at the right time. I will indeed visit again soon!
I’ve visited Noordhoek very often of late and what a beautiful place it is! Now here is another reason to visit. Cafe Roux host many events including musicians, comedians and magicians. It’s a small intimate venue with great food, friendly service and a lovely ambiance. Now you might think it’s just the regular wannabes that perform here… think again! Well known South African artists like Watershed and Nik Rabinowitz have entertained in this lovely venue.
On this occasion I visited Cafe Roux to see the magical mentalist Larry Soffer. During my time in London I was fortunate enough to see the talents of Derren Brown in his 2012 theatre production of Svengali at the Shaftesbury Theatre which was haunting to say the least! If I had not passed this billboard on the way to work everyday, I’m not sure I would have ever found out what a mentalist actually does.
So when my friend Sandy L from Humans Of SA told me about her “coin bending” interview with Larry Soffer we all decided to attend his next show! Please be warned that I am in NO WAY trying to compare Larry Soffer and Derren Brown but merely that they both perform the art of Mentalism. The budget for a full scale production can definitely help ones act! If you, like many, have not heard of the art of Mentalism it is essentially the ability to read people (very well) which gives the illusion of mind reading and magic. I absolutely recommend you attend a show if you have not been before as it’s quite whimsical and fun.
Back to the show!
Larry Soffer performed loads of interesting acts that left the most skeptical with their jaws dropped and occasionally ranting “no ways”. For every act he brought someone on stage and asked them to assist him in some way in oder to ensure his act was indeed valid. My favourite illusion (as he is magical too) was when he took three wedding bands from different audience members and joined them together. They were impossible to pull apart. He then pulled them apart one by one before returning them to their owners in dramatic ways i.e. one was found in his wallet in a sealed envelope. Even just typing this I realise how impossible it is to describe. The art of a Mentalist is better explained through experience and I suggest you see one of his shows. He also offers his time for parties, corporate events and team building etc. etc. visit his website for more details: http://www.larrysoffer.com/ beware there is some cheesy illusion music that begins to play – not to insult but as a digital marketer music on a website bothers me.
To round off this blog here is a pic I took that night with a friend of mine as one of the participants. Basically he only touched one of them but the other could feel it at exactly the same time! Creepy.
I really don’t like the idea of Valentines Day. I never have. Maybe it’s the feminist in me that irks at the idea of mushy love and heart shaped things. Maybe it’s because I’ve got many negative memories associated with the concept growing up. Either way, it’s not for me. My birthday is coming up next week so I normally focus more time and energy on that!
What I can tell you is that I had quite a lovely Valentines Day without even planning it. I just did things that I love to do.
On Friday it started with promo girls handing out pink roses at the traffic light followed by epic cappuccinos at work. While both these acts are cheesy, I do love flowers and coffee!
I received a lovely PDF in my email inbox which included some geeky digital marketing pick up lines which made me literally laugh out loud. Here are my favourite ones:
On Saturday I got to have a nice long sleep. I love sleeping. I woke up naturally. Awesome. Then my boyfriend and I made some breakfast together. I was in the mood to attempt a proper Eggs Benedict including the hollidaise sauce. I love Eggs Benedict and I love brunch. Awesome.
Here is the recipe I followed on The Food Network.
After a nice shower and some minor chores I lay down in bed (again) and closed my eyes. I didn’t sleep but I got to listen to my surroundings and rest properly. I love a good rest especially after a long week. Awesome. It was the first time I got to rest properly in a long while!
Then the best thing happened. I started my favourite book series all over again! Yes I picked up Harry Potter and the philosophers stone and turned to page one. I could tell my boyfriend would get bored, so I decided to read it out loud to him. I think we got through four or five chapters before he stopped me and asked questions – and I love questions on Harry potter! Awesome.
We had to stop because there was one thing in particular that was planned. But not by me! My older brother had bought us tickets for a sunset boat ride from the V&A Waterfront as a Christmas present. All we had to do was turn up! Lots of things I love here. I love my brother, I love the ocean and I love sunsets. Awesome.
I took my sea sickness tablets two hours before departure and then we boarded The Spirit Of Victoria. We each got two glasses of Champagne and a red rose. There were quite a few other couples on the boat but if you ignored that it was a pleasant trip!
We experienced gorgeous views of the mountain, the coast line and the sunset. If you do try this in Cape Town take a waterproof and windproof jacket because it gets wet and windy.
After all the ocean adventures we stopped at our local Lucky Fish and Chips for you guessed it – fish and chips.
It was a day that I loved with someone I love. Hey, he had a good day too don’t you worry🙂 in-between all the stuff we did together he also did things that he loves. Best of all he was under zero pressure to plan anything romantic because he knows it’s not my vibe.
So my advice for all of you who, like me, hate Valentines Day: do stuff you love to do and you won’t be left disappointed.
Bachelorettes used to be very simple affairs. I remember as a child we would go to the family home and gather in the garage. The bride would be dressed up in the silliest outfit and the group would play parlor games. This would include the brides face covered in flour, receiving some simple gifts for the home and then having a cup of tea and some cake.
The expectations of celebrating your freedom before marriage has escalated quite a bit over time. I agree that making the bride feel completely ridiculous is out-dated but, the rest has become an expensive and time consuming affair.
Having said that, I really enjoyed this particular bachelorette party for a dear friend of mine which was in the picturesque landscape of Riebeek Kasteel. It’s just over an hours drive outside of Cape Town and is nestled in a beautiful landscape of mountains and vineyards. For this particular booking we used Safari Now which is a very good website however, we were unfortunate in being double-booked with our first booking. They did recover by making every effort to find a desirable replacement. This is how we found ourselves at the beautiful Bloemendal Guest Cottage.
To create a bit of atmosphere to the whole event we did a bit of decorating and created a dress-code for the weekend. The invitation I created had some fun copy to introduce the bride-to-be to her top secret event and some hints on what to pack:
FridayThis aint your first rodeo when it comes to a weekend with the younguns! Get yourself gussied up with a little black dress or an elegant black top paired with a sassy pair of jeans. Sure’nuff no heels are required miss, so keep them boots on nice and tight.
SaturdayHot dang it’s going to be hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch so better pack your bathing suit and towel! No one been hurt getting a bit wet but we reckon a pair of shorts, t-shirt, cap, sunglasses and water friendly shoes will keep ya fresh.
The day don’t end there young gun! Keep it nice and casual with a white dress or top and them denims always goes a long ways.SundayGosh darn we’re gonna have a hankerin’ for a chilled one on this day of all days. Keep yourself comfy sugar with a perdy floral dress or top and we’ll leave the rest up to you miss.Don’t forget:If it do get colder than a witches tit in a brass brassiere then better be packing a hoodie or warm jacket. We wouldn’t want ya to feel useless as tits on a bull so we reckon you need to pack some PJ’s, underwear and them usual toiletries.
We arrived on the Friday evening after work and settled in to some lovely treats which included a selection of fruit, meats and cheese. We paired this with the most delightful champagne which we sourced locally from Riebeek Cellars. You can order their well priced and great tasting wine online and they deliver in Cape Town a few times a week.
That night we had a bit of fun playing a game of Texan Poker and we also gave her a totally personalised memory book with photos and messages from everyone who was attending the wedding.
We landed up going to bed fairly early as we had a 6am wake up call! I made everyone some pancakes before heading out on the Saturday morning. It was about another 1 hours drive to the Breede River just outside Worcester where we met up with Aquatrails. They offer a wide range of water rafting trips around Cape Town but we chose the 1 day experience as it catered for the various experience levels of our group.
It was a wonderful day of paddling, wading in the river and cruising through some fun rapids. The scenery was breath taking and we had a great time together. Absolutely recommend that everyone should try it!
That night we got a braai going and played some party games in the sake of older traditions but less messy! First we did a quiz to see how well the bride knew her groom. We asked him some questions before hand like “How do you like your eggs?” or “What were you wearing on your first date?” and then relayed the questions to the bride to see if she got them right. If she got them right she got to pick a present from our gift pile which either consisted of A. something awesome for her honeymoon on the beach or B. dud gifts like a toy sword or a stapler etc.
We also played a game of customised 30 seconds cards which consisted of words relevant to the brides life. It had names of places she had visited, relatives, her favourite deserts, artists she loved etc.
There was of course drinking involved but that was completely irrelevant to the fact that we had a fantastic day with the bride and all got a pretty awesome weekend out of it. If you see a bachelorette party as a shared treat as opposed to another event you have to attend, then it can be fun for close friends and family. The rest of the guests you can see at the wedding!
Below is the logo I made up for the event which worked quite nicely on her car and as part of the general decorations.
If you have any top ideas that you’ve trialled at a bachelorette party then add them in the comments! Who knows when next I’ll have to plan another one of these.
I just can’t get enough of the beauty of this city. When I see Table Mountain (every day) I say “hello mr. mountain, my what a pretty blanky you’re wearing today” and it gets me into a good mood. When I take High Level Road to work I get quite a lovely little sea view and I say to myself “hello fishies and swishy waves” and again my face automatically smiles. This could be due to the fact that if anyone heard me saying these things they’d laugh at me, but it could just be that it’s just so nice to be surrounded by beauty every freaking day!
Let me give you some comparison here. As previously mentioned in my first blog, I lived in London for five years. My favourite views were the buildings on Regent Street between 7am and 8am as it was nice and quiet and the light was just about brightening up the colours around you. However, most days I mostly saw armpits in the underground and I’d see tunnel after dark and dreary tunnel on my journey to work. Believe me if the weather was warmer, I would have walked more often.
While most Capetonians have been around this fair city quite often, in which case you might find this blog a bit of a snooze fest. I realised this when I explained my road trip to a colleague at work. At the mention of stopping in Simons Town for lunch, she asked if I went to Bertha’s. How did she know! Well perhaps the restaurant offering is minimal? Not sure. But I plan to visit more often to find out for myself!
Now I am getting ahead of myself.
My Mom and Dad are in town and since having spent Saturday shopping at Canal Walk with my Mom, who kindly assisted with some bachelorette planning I’ve been involved in (I got the shoes!). Sunday we decided to all get into my boyfriends car and absorb the scenery. It was unfortunate that it was only a two door car as it was quite comical how my parents had to ‘stop, drop and roll’ to get out of the car each time.
I’ve put together a little road map of where I rather impulsive trip.
Hout Bay hosts a lovely little african market every Sunday. The items are fairly familiar as you could find them in every african market in South Africa let alone Cape Town. If you do find something you like, haggle away! I almost bought myself a nice little Zebra striped fruit bowl made from Marula tree as the lady I was haggling with was extremely fun to engage with. In Hout Bay there are hourly trips out to Seal Island for R30 – R60. There are some great dining options including The Wharfside Grill which, despite its shabby appearance, serves a generous and delicious portion of fish and chips. We particularly liked The Lookout Deck as they have some fantastic views even if it’s just for a refreshing drink.
However we continued on to Noordhoek which included a gorgeous drive through Chapmans Peak (bear in mind there is a R38 toll charge due to the high maintenance roads). We landed up in Simons Town for lunch, yes we went to Bertha’s. We all ordered fish in various forms – mussels, prawns, calamari, hake etc. I have to say that my grilled baby calamari was the winner, however, I found that the food was not exactly top-notch. You would go to Bertha’s mostly for the views and the ambiance.
From there we continued on our drive through Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and then Muizenburg where the water is warmer. We went for a little swim and a stroll on the beach. It was rather busy as Sunday’s tend to be. On the way home we stopped in Kirstenbosch Gardens to see if we could take a quick walk there, however as they are hosting some fantastic concerts, the cars were parked on the side or the road for many kilometers.
I was fairly exhausted after our trip (except for my Dad that already asked “where to next”) and so I decided to snuggle up with a DVD of How To Train Your Pet Dragon 2, which was AWESOME! I do however look forward to planning my next road trip which will include more stops so I can learn more about each area.
I don’t know the name of songs, the name of the band guitarist or how many albums they’ve released. If I hear it and I like it I hop up and down like a spasticated bunny with glee at the recognition of a song associated with a memory from long ago.
The name Arno Carstens rings a bell in the back of my head when a good friend asks me if I’d like to see him play. Since my mother is visiting me in Cape Town I leave the decision up to my guest as to whether she is keen to attend. I think the same bell rang in my mother’s head for she said “I know him, why not”. Little did we know that we were going to be blown away by panoramic views of the glorious mountains, vineyards and coastlines.
My mother tells me that I came in to her life to make her travel. When I lived in Birmingham, she visited me there. When I lived in London, she visited me there. When I travelled Europe, she would join me or sometimes plan trips of her own. Now that I’ve moved to Cape Town it was only a matter of time! She has spent most of her time wondering around Sea Point and finding the most fascinating home interior stores to bring life to my new home. She’s particularly good like that. She’s not my PA and I wanted to ensure she had a great trip during her visit.
I classify myself as a tourist in Cape Town. Not sure how long it will take to become a bona fide local, but I can assure you I’m working at it. Spur of the moment decisions definitely help with my lack of local knowledge and on this occasion it did not disappoint.
After work I drove home to pick up my mom. Then we drove the scenic route along the coast through Camps Bay then Hout Bay and lastly cut through Chapmans Peak where we landed up by the Cape Point Vinyards. After looking at a lot of rock on our left and epic sea views on our right, this venue literally opened up in front of us as soon as we turned in. The beautiful valley of vineyards nestled in the crevice of the mountain was just plain gorgeous.
We were both blown away.
The Cape Point Vinyards hosts a Noordhoek Community Market every Thursday between 16:30 and 20:30 but this time they brought in Arno Carstens for Charity. They did not confirm which charity, but one his hopeful that it went to a good cause. The Noordhoek Community Market hosted some fantastic Vendors including Al’s Schwarmas, Portuguese food from Delicioso, biltong from Caterkid, Imhoff Cheese, steak sandwiches from Kitchen Cowboys and a stunning array of flowers from Mel’s Flowers.
Upon walking in we saw Arno Carstens chatting away to staff and guests. The markets were buzzing with people enjoying fresh oysters, hand made crepes and a find selection of wine. My mother and I bought some yummy falaffel pitas which had the most amazing humus and a nice dash of chilli. Then we settled on the picnic grass and listened to the lovely music and watched as the sun went down. The sound was fantastic and constantly monitored by staff with ‘ghost buster like devices’ which did make me wonder about the lucky neighbors who get to enjoy this lovely ambience crated by the band. I say lucky, they probably say noise pollution which stunts the growth of the local flora and fauna. Tomato Potato I say.
At about 21:00 the band closed up and we had more than enough time to make it back home and get a good nights rest before work on Friday. We took the highway home and I got horribly lost… but we got to our warm cosy beds eventually. Sorry mom.
All in all a fantastic evening and I highly recommend you make a trip out to Noordhoek on a Thursday evening to enjoy this beautiful venue and it’s delicious offering.