The Duchess of Wisbeach is quickly earning a name for excellent food and great service. It is an absolute must for the discerning food lover. Our guest blogger, Andrew McDonald shares his dining experience at The Duchess with us…
Referred to merely as “The Duchess”, this quaint restaurant is tucked away in the heart of Sea Point in a renovated Victorian building. The food served is “bord kos”, hearty meals prepared like your grandmother would. Only the freshest seasonal ingredients are used, and the menu changes regularly. The owner, Theresa Beukes, is in the kitchen every night overlooking her restaurant from the open galley style kitchen.
As I enter through the tall, red doors, one is taken back in time. Black and white floor tiles, a marble topped bar, wood panelling, and book shelves that rise to the ceiling, lined with literature from previous centuries. The centre piece is Muesli, the prized Swiss Brown cow mounted above the bar that was owned by Theresa’s father. The décor is eclectic; nothing matches. Every chair is in a different style, covered in a different material. Sitting atop each table is a unique silver candlestick holder, and a ceramic dog (various breeds are to be found throughout the restaurant).
We are greeted by our smartly dressed hostess and take a seat at the bar. We enjoy what must be the best margaritas in Cape Town. Not too tart, perfectly in balance, with a salted rim. After our cocktails we are escorted to our table. The menu is not extensive, but provides a good selection of dishes to whet anyone’s appetite. I chose the Crispy Fish Fingers prepared with fresh kingklip, and my partner decided on the Grilled Calamari served with onion riata. The calamari was tender and flavoursome; the fish fingers succulent with a hint of turmeric and coriander.
My main courses consisted of Free Range Beef Fillet, served with béarnaise, and accompanied by thick, home-made French fries. My partner ordered the Baby Peri-Peri Chicken with cucumber ribbon salad. The fillet was mouth-watering, especially when combined with the exquisite béarnaise sauce. The Peri-Peri sauce was not too spicy, giving the baby chicken a slight bite on the palate.
After generously sized starter and main course potions, we decided to share a dessert. After much deliberation we narrowed down the selection to the Hot Sticky Apricot Pudding. A soft sponge with pieces of apricot, and cooked at a low heat to allow the butterscotch sauce to absorb. This decadent dessert is served with ice cream, and a small jug of heavenly butterscotch sauce on the side.
For a home-away-from-home dining experience, delicious unpretentious food and friendly service, you will be hard-pressed to find a more inviting option.
Widaad Jacobs enlightens us about the perfect way to start the day — by indulging in a yummy Big Boy breakfast at Kashmirs coffee shop and bakery…
While surfing the net and doing some online shopping recently, I stumbled on an amazing breakfast offer from Groupon. The offer included two Big Boy breakfasts and two Lavazza coffees at Kashmirs Coffee Shop and Bakery (which I purchased straight away). In the back of my mind I was thinking, this is a perfect way to start a morning with my loved one in the City as I have never been to this restaurant/coffee shop before.
Kashmir’s bakery is locally acclaimed, with some of its baked specialities being hailed as being the ‘finest in Cape Town’ and its coffee shop is rustic and run with the friendly service one needs, so early in the morning.
I was told to make a reservation in advance and so I did. I was curious to know why I had to book to have breakfast — I was told that they cater for big groups all the time and that there would be a work group at the restaurant on the morning I had gone. So if you’re considering going there in future, I would advise you to call first.
Driving down the scenic main road in Green Point, it was a bit tough to find Kashmirs as the endless road is filled with so many eye catching shops. While driving around for a few minutes we eventually turned around and found Kashmirs.
Upon entering the cosy little bakery and coffee shop, I had gone to the open plan kitchen to inform the waiters about my reservation. There were two other customers — one was reading a newspaper and other took advantage of their Wi-Fi facility. We opted for a two-seater table and our waitress was very friendly.
Soon after we were seated and presented our Groupon vouchers, our breakfasts had arrived. The Big Boy Breakfast is filled with yummy things to chow down. Our plates were filled with grilled quartered mushrooms, a half unsliced tomato (the veggies served were not sliced – a refreshing change to the norm which I appreciated), two sunny-side eggs, two sausages and bacon with Italian Ciabattas. I especially loved the aroma of the freshly baked Ciabattas following with the Italian trend — Italian brand Lavazza coffee! Although the pigeons tried coming into the shop a few times, they didn’t bug me one bit. One of the staff members had taken some crumbs and led them outside. I suddenly felt like I was on a farm for a moment.
Kashmirs specializes in baked breads and desserts accompanied by light lunches. Their main attraction is their wholesale trade and for this they ask no delivery fees! I have heard that they have the finest french Croissants and I am yet to take another trip down to Green Point and find out for myself!
For bookings and reservations:
315 Main Road,
I’m sure many of you have driven pass a tribal printed brown building as you arrive in the Mother City (on your way to the V&A Waterfront). Did you know this building is an authentic African restaurant called Marco’s African Pan Restaurant? Well I must admit that I did not. I used to drive pass this beautiful establishment on a regular basis until recently when a friend of mine from Zimbabwe visited Cape Town. Before her departure a few friends and family members gathered at Marco’s African Pan restaurant for a farewell dinner.
We had called in last minute on a week night to book a reservation for about 12 guests – this restaurant is perfect for big gatherings. The African theme was visible throughout the entire restaurant. The decore consisted of leopard print table cloths, zebra stripes and tribal prints all over. The lighting was exceptionally dim with candlelight and lamps. The service was decent considering we came in a “tribe”, but with this 220 seater restaurant and bar, there’s always room for one more! Soon after we arrived the venue filled up quickly with locals and foreigners alike having a taste of traditional African cuisine.
The menu consisted of an array of meat dishes, such as Madagascar Springbok (medallions of springbok in a green peppercorn sauce), Kudu Steak and Oxtail Curry to name a few! Some of our dishes were served in mini “potjie-pots”(a pressure cooker pot for braai’s), and “pap” known as a traditional maize meal substitute for rice – this was a great conversation starter among foreigners! If you’re not into trying the traditional cuisine, there’s an array of seafood dishes such as king prawns and hake available too.
During the course of our meal, a curvy jazz singer had serenaded the crowd with a few songs, but when she started singing the “click” song also known as Pata-Pata by Ma Miriam Makeba, guests from all tables had started dancing away and joined in on the fun only to find when the bill came we had to dish out an extra R20 per person for the entertainment. Although I would have liked that to be admit fee to enter the establishment. Our bill amounted to just over R2000 including drinks, entertainment and gratuity. So that means an average meal would cost about R180 upwards depending on your appetite.
Marco’s is a restaurant I always wanted to experience, true South African culture in a formal environment, that is if you’re too chicken to try out Mzoli’s - which I hope to experience soon so I can tell you all about it!
Post by Widaad Jacobs