Friday 27 April 2012

Coffee continued

A few more of my favourite Cape Town places for drinking coffee or casual eating ...
La Petite Tarte is a little gem with tables fronting onto a steep cobbled street in the old De Waterkant area of town.

Actually tea, not coffee, is the thing to have here - they serve a range of Mariage Frères exotic teas in beautiful iron pots and mismatched teacups ...

The menu changes daily but the French tarts, croque monsieur and chicken pie are the fixtures that everyone loves ... 

and their carrot cake is possibly the best I've had in my life. 

which is why I was excited to find owners Johan de Villiers and Len Straw's recipe book Once Upon a Chicken Pie on Amazon, with almost all these recipes ...

La Petite Tarte is in the old Malay Quarter of the city ... 

... where I get my post-tarte fix of African nostalgia via art and artefacts in shops like Africa Nova

    pics in this collage via

A short drive around the mountain gets you to High Tea, tucked away in a courtyard between some shops. 

It's behind a busy road, but by putting in a couple of simple fountains, roses and lavender in between gravel pathways, the owners have created a little oasis of calm ...

Home-made cakes, quiches, salads and relaxation are on the menu here

and conveniently close by some of the nicest home interior shops I know

Not far away, the Orchid Café occupies some unused space in an unused cement courtyard behind a shop. With some bougainvillea in pots and wire hearts hung on the precast concrete walls, the space is transformed into a pretty-in-pink place you'd happily spend time in, indulging in great breakfasts, cakes and coffee.

It's all in the details ... blankets over the backs of chairs in the courtyard for an early morning breakfast (my friend Lorelle was wrapped in this one when I arrived), home-baked heart-shaped biscuits with the coffee, roses and sweet treats on the tables ...

It's the kind of thing you see everywhere in Cape Town - people who care about good food, imaginatively prepared, and creating beauty even in unpromising surroundings

... and, apparently, customers who prefer sitting down for a leisurely break with some good company over the culture of chains, fast/drive-through and drinking out of cardboard. Starbucks, Costa and Neros haven't come to Cape Town, and speaking for myself, I can't say they're missed.


  1. Thanks for this. i so enjoyed it! It says about values and what's important. joan

  2. WOW WOW WOW!!
    The color there is just astonishing!
    your photos to-die-for.
    You need to do a book HA!

  3. Karen, how right you are about it all being in the details1

    I've had a fine time seeing your posts about your Capetown arrival and stay. The light is amazing, as is the sense of style.

    I envy your being able to have already read the new Wm Boyd...I still await the USA publication and arrival of the book at my wonderful library, hoping I am at the front of the reserve list.

    Mariage Freres tea is so delicious. A Christmas gift from friends of a tin of the Marco Polo blend is still being very carefully measured out into my own brown betty teapot. Served as a treat to friends (and to me, too.)

    My return to NYC has got me back in that work mode, so being able to continue traveling vicariously to beautiful spots like Capetown is so, so welcome.


  4. Your incredibly colourful images of a different world make me want to travel there!

  5. What a feast for the eyes
    and for the soul.
    Love the look of your blog and the excellent collages.

  6. Karen, Cape Town through your eyes is utterly enchanting. It's even hard to believe it's for real! But the camera is a witness --- the flowers, the colors, the whimsy, the beauty --- I can almost FEEL the sunshine and the warmth. London is a thrilling place to live --- but it must be hard to leave this nonetheless!
    (And I MUST check out the cookbook, chicken pie indeed!)

  7. Yes, exactly as Judith says, you infuse your delightful city with a style and lifestyle I never knew existed. Amazing how we can have such a preconceived notion of something and find out actually how different it is. I love this !!
    See you tomorrow for BIO. xx's


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