I've deliberately stayed away from two types of stories over the last few weeks/months. One is the "winter specials" story. I swear when I have to read about some of the ridiculous things certain places are offering it makes me wonder how desperate they actually are. Come visit us on the first Monday of the month between 1 and 2 pm, wearing a Bafana Bafana jersey and if you order your pizza in Afrikaans you get your second caraffe of wine free if you pay for your first with a R20 note.
Okay, it's not that bad but I have read and heard enough of winter specials. Enough. Every single day the list grows and grows and I personally am completely over it. Fellow food blogger Dax wrote a great piece
on specials and their shortfalls and followed it up with a piece on the worthwhile ones. Nicely done.
The second story I have steered clear of is anything World Cup related. These stories often tied in with restaurant specials and I refused to get sucked in. Until recently. The fever has got me and it's got me bad. The socks are on the Fire Truck
mirrors (yes, I just told you the name of my car), the flag is hanging out my office window, I've bought a ridiculously-expensive Bafana jersey, I own a Puma Unity
jersey and when I finish this post I'm off to get myself an Ivory Coast top. I am totally over-excited for The World Cup. So...I thought instead of listing specials that different places are offering I would provide a list of my own. A list of Jamie Who favourites for visitors lucky enough to be part of this historic event. These will no doubt spark debate (which I would love by the way) but please guys, let's keep it civilised. Below is a list of my
favourites. Things I
enjoy. I'm not saying they are the best. I'm saying they are MY best. Please understand the difference. By all means, comment and leave your suggestions. Here we go:
1. Best steak: HQ and Carne. (Go for the hanger cut here. Rare.)
2. Best place to have an artisanal beer: Brewers & Union. (I'm a fan of the Berne.)
3. Best place to have a glass (or more) of wine: Caveau. (Their Heritage Square branch.)
4. Best pizza: Carlyle's on Derry Street. (It must be made very clear that this is only because visitors won't have the opportunity to enjoy a pizza from Massimo. We should all agree by now that he is king of the pizza)
5. Best beer on tap: Jack Black
6. Best place to enjoy Jack Black on tap: Harvey's Bar at Winchester Mansions and Twankey Bar at the Taj Hotel.
7. Best bakery: Ile de Pain in Knysna and Jardine Bakery in Bree Street
8. Best restaurant on a wine farm (if you're looking for fine-dining): Overture on Hidden Valley
9. Best restaurant on a wine farm (if you're looking for something rustic): Bread and Wine on Moreson
10. Best place to have a cocktail (if you want a view): Salt at the Ambassador hotel.
11. Best place to have a cocktail (if you just want a bloody good cocktail): Martini bar at the Cellars Hohenoort and Asoka.
12. Best food market (for a vibe): The Neigbourgoods market in Woodstock
13. Best food market (for the produce): The Wild Oats Farmers' market in Sedgefield or The Slow Food Market in Stellenbosch.
14. Best burger: Loading Bay (when they have burger nights). Otherwise Caprice.
15. Best breakfast spot: Bistro Sixteen82
16. Best sandwich: The Kitchen in Woodstock
17. Best overall lunchtime restaurant: Superette in Woodstock
18. Best healthy food: Osumo (chicken fajita wrap is what you want here. Trust me)
19. Best coffee: (...............) I can't drink coffee so it's up to you to judge by the comments.
20. Best food memorabilia shop: The Chef's Warehouse
21. Best curry: Firefly in Knysna
22. Best value-for-money restaurant: La Boheme
And now, the big dogs. Let's get a slow clap going....
23. Best restaurant in Cape Town: Bizerca Bistro
24. Best restaurant in South Africa: Zachary's in Knysna
A special mention must go out to Cheyne's in Bree Street. He does private functions in the evenings and the feast he cooked for The Queen's surprise dinner
still rates as one of the best I have had.
There you have it. My favourites. A guide to places I would recommend to anyone visiting Cape Town and/or the Garden Route. If you think of any categories I may have forgotten let me know. We'll chat. Also, I didn't include links to the places I've mentioned. If you want contact details for any of them please drop me a mail at email@example.com