Sometimes we get to enjoy some incredible experiences and we always let you guys know about it. But this one time, I wish I didn’t. I’d rather want you go join one of the Cape Town Culinary Tours yourself without knowing what to expect. That’s how I felt when joining up with the guide and other guests taking part in the tour.
I have left out some information as I don’t want to broadcast the entire tour. If you do read ahead, there are a few spoilers. Beware.
The Cape Town Culinary Tour embarks on a 3km / 4 hour walking journey exploring Cape Town’s history with an eye on how it has impacted Cape Town’s culinary food culture. With so many different people living in our beautiful Mother City, every restaurant has a different story to tell, every restaurant offers something unique.
Origin Coffee Roasting
The journey begins at Origin. Established in 2006, their mission is to offer South Africans exceptional roasted coffee from around the world. They currently offer the widest selection of single origin coffees in South Africa.
Here we enjoyed a wonderful tasting session where our dedicated barista used the same coffee beans to prepare coffee in two different ways and showed us how the brewing process makes a big difference in taste.
Afterwards, we were able to have a quick look at their impressive roastery which is located on the second floor. Seeing how a simple green coffee bean ends up looking like the coffee we know is very interesting to see.
La Petite Tarte
Next up on our tour was La Petite Tarte where we got to enjoy a traditional Dutch dish: Babotie. The meal consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping to make it look like a pie. Over the years, South African flavours have been added to make it a very popular dish in Cape Malay culture. I think the restaurant held back on the spices as these tours are usually done by tourists but as someone who has lived in Cape Town for quite a while, this could have used some more oomph!
On our way to the next stop, you’ll pass many colourful houses for which De Waterkant and the Bo Kaap are reknowned for. You’ll learn more about slavery in Cape Town and the Cape Malay culture until you have reached your next destination.
I haven’t been to the Butcher Man previously so I was quite excited to see what this place had to offer. It’s part butchery; part restaurant. Only offering AAA grade premium beef, this is one of the best quality meat that you can find in Cape Town. In the back, you can choose your cuts either to take home or they’ll prepare it for you if you’d like to enjoy a meal at the restaurant which is located near the front of the store. I love this idea and I’ll definitely be back to enjoy a full meal at the Butcher Man.
A quick trip down the road, we made our way to Beluga where we got to enjoy dim sum, sushi and bubbly. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a quick bite to eat on a hot day in Cape Town. Did you know that Salmon Roses originated in South Africa? You’ll also learn how MCC’s differs from French Champagnes. Not a lot as it turns out and our local bubbly often tastes much much better.
Moving on to Café Extrablatt, we enjoyed excellent craft beers from CBC. This movement has been in full swing for quite a number of years and more and more craft breweries are opening up in South Africa. CBC beers are brewed by the master brewer who was in charge of Paulaner when the it was still located at the V&A Waterfront. The beers are refreshingly good: my favourite has to be the CBC Pilsener.
On our last stop, we made our way to Mondiall at the V&A Waterfront via the V&A Market and Watershed Market which houses many quaint little shops selling art, clothing and food. As your spot is booked at Mondiall, you won’t have much time to see what the market is all about, but it is definitely recommended to come back after the tour has ended.
Mondiall is proud to offer a menu where 70% of all ingredients are sourced from local farmers. A wonderful cheese cake and cheese platter is presented as the final meal. I could have eaten 5 more of these. Delicious. Some local South African wine to pair doesn’t hurt either.
Overall, the tour was very relaxed and not rushed at all. The walking is done at a slow pace and the distances also weren’t very far. With each and every spot there is also enough time for a break in case it’s a really hot day. Every one of the six stops on the tour as well as the paths taking you to each restaurant has an interesting story to tell. The route is very well chosen. You’ll definitely come home a richer person with an appreciation of how food is made and its place in Cape Town’s history.
I can only recommend joining one of the Cape Town Culinary Tours. At the time of writing, it’s R899 per person. This tour is a very informative, interactive and delicious way of exploring Cape Town.