When in Cape Town ..... My Basaar

Maybe its because in the last year I developed a new appreciation for (at least parts of) the Johannesburg CBD, but my recent weekend in Cape Town had a bit of a “let’s rediscover the city centre” theme to it. Another great spot to sit at a big window counter and watch the world go by in the Cape Town CBD is My Basaar, a restaurant owned by chef and author Bernice van der Merwe. I drove past and was immediately in love with the fantastic exterior – exposed brick, huge windows and a striking logo. When my sister told me it is owned by her friend Bernice, I knew I had to go back later in the weekend. So, in between my brother’s work commitments, I took him to My Bazaar for a cup of coffee. The interior is all black, white and navy blue, crisp clean lines with big chalk boards on the wall displaying the menu on offer. It looks like a great lunch spot and I will have to put My Basaar on my next to-do list when in Cape Town, not least because I am intrigued to find out the backstory to the name!

You can like My Basaar on Facebook here.

When in Cape Town ..... Ou Meul Bakery

During my recent long weekend in the Cape, I popped into the Ou Meul bakery, situated in Long Street, for a quick breakfast. However, once inside I quickly realised that this is a place that is great for, well...NOT quick. It is a great place to linger a bit longer, especially on one of the high window seats at the long counter facing the street. This bakery is the new branch of the original one in Riversonderend, which is famous for its homemade pies. Their pie range is indeed elaborate, but they serve a variety of other sandwiches, salads and pastries. I loved the atmosphere and the great coffee and if I worked in the Cape Town CBD, I think that this great spot would often see me, just to find some respite from the madness.

You can visit their website here.

A Birthday party under the big tree

Last weekend I was lucky enough to pack my bags for a long weekend in the Cape. The excuse was my sister’s birthday party. It was a family affair, with my parents also in the Cape from the Karoo, and to complete the picture my brother was in town working on an advertisement shoot. So, in a setting that seemed designed for a 'highlights of 2012' album, all of my own family, my 89-year old grandmother and my sister’s in-laws gathered on their fabulous patio under the gnarled old pine tree.

Rising fabulously to the occasion, Elanie then proceeded to lay out a seven course meal. It started with a lovely seasonal watermelon salad with mint, feta and olives followed by a wild mushroom tart served with truffle oil. A cold cucumber soup with yogurt and honey found its way in there as an intro to the main act. Only after all of that, the main course was served. My grandmother’s face when she realised there were more food to come, was priceless! It was a beautifully grilled fillet, with rosemary and lemon potato wedges and a green salad. Sorbet followed just before the chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream on a bed of honeycomb. The menu was completed with a cheese platter.

Now, Elanie’s sense of occasion is already legendary, and if it’s not, it should be. Her husband remarked, very proudly, that the thing he will remember is with what ease she served a seven-course meal. It was as if a few friends just suddenly popped in for tea. And I will certainly remember her fabulous hospitality too. What I will treasure most, though, is how the unseasonal cold was beaten back by the warmth of the friendship, the conversation, the togetherness. I will remember the occasion of having my family, usually spread out over distance and time, together in one place again. I am grateful that we were lucky enough to enjoy the very best there is to life for an evening, and do it with people we love.

Image credits: Elanie Fourie and me