Where to eat and drink on Cape Town’s Bree Street: Part One

So today we’re heading for Cape Town’s Bree Street. It’s on the edge of the City Bowl District (CBD) and I’ve watched the street develop into one of my favourite Cape Town areas. It seems like every year when I return a whole raft of new bars and restaurants have popped up and all the old favourites are still there. Consequently it’s a real challenge to keep up!

In fact, there’s so much going on I’m going to do a series on places you must visit in this buzzy street (lucky you). Here’s Part One.

Every year Bree Street has its Open Streets Day in January. Open Streets is a worldwide movement where a street is closed to traffic and all sorts of events take place. It’s a trend that’s growing in popularity around the world and such a great idea to watch people coming together to enjoy live music, street art, street food and eating and drinking in many of the lovely places.

The Station on Bree

Like at The Station on Bree. They bill themselves as the only underground station in Cape Town and all their signage is modelled on London’s tube system. As a Londoner I felt instantly at home here (I have spent many hours on the Underground after all!!).

Welcome to The Station on Bree

There are plenty of nooks and crannies to be discovered at The Station.

Follow the Underground signs to find your perfect spot

We settled in on the pavement under the enormous tree to enjoy some chilled Castle Light beer and people watching. We even won some Castle Light sunglasses – what style.

Showing off our prize sunglasses

Part of the street was turned into a work of art which everyone contributed to

La Parada

I eat at La Parada regularly – my love for Spain and its food is well documented. The best place in Cape Town for an authentic Spanish experience and food. Close your eyes and it seems like you’re in Spain. There are several La Parada restaurants in Cape Town now – one at Constantia Nek and one in Camps Bay- but this in my opinion is still the best one.

Tender salt and pepper squid and crispy patatas bravas

Fabulous mushrooms topped with a soft-poached egg

Delicately creamy croquettas

An amazing plate of pork belly

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Open Streets to visit Bree Street. Thankfully! Any day is a good day. And on the First Thursday of every month, as well as all the usual attractions,  you’ll have the chance to enjoy art and cultural exhibitions.

I’m going for dinner there next First Thursday. Hooray.

Watch this space for more on my series on Bree Street.

Do you have a favourite place you frequent here? I’d love to hear about it.

The Station on Bree is at 207 Bree Street.

La Parada is at 107 Bree Street.

Pub watch: The Salisbury in Covent Garden

Welcome to my new series on London pubs. Their decline is much publicised and as I walk around London I’ve become more and more aware of how many have closed or been converted into shiny new restaurants. There are still around 48,000 pubs in the UK but it’s estimated that over 100 a month are closing down.

So I thought it would be good to share some of my favourites with you. I remember the very first one I went into when I arrived in London, it was small, dimly lit and very smokey – and I had a campari and orange…well it was the 80s! Way before the time you could get the wonderful selection of wines you can now – and way before I drank wine, too! And of course there’s no smoking allowed anymore…how things have changed.

For obvious reasons it seemed appropriate to start in Covent Garden. The Salisbury sits on a corner in St Martin’s Lane right next to a theatre – well, we are in the middle of Theatreland after all. It’s been featured in a number of films and frequented by stars of stage and screen since it was rebuilt in 1898.

london_pubs_33b

The Salisbury is a welcoming sight on one of Covent Garden’s corners

There’s a lovely seating area outside in the alley – the perfect spot for people watching and absorbing that wonderful Covent Garden feeling.

outside

Settle down and watch the world go by

As well as a good wine list and an interesting range of beer on tap, The Salisbury has a lovely menu, too. From sandwiches, jacket potatoes, pies, fish and chips, burgers and Sunday roasts there’s plenty of tasty pub fare to tuck into.

banner-pies

What’s more appropriate than a pie in a pub?

Do you have a favourite London pub? Or one somewhere else in the UK? Do you have a local that you visit regularly? Please get in touch and let me know…we need to keep pubs alive. And I need more to explore.

The Salisbury is at 90 St Martin’s Lane in Covent Garden, close to Leicester Square tube station.

My favourite bars in Cape Town

Having spent pretty much all my adult life in London, I totally understand the importance of pubs and bars in daily life. We have our two locals that we frequent and everyone has their favourite spot for after work or Sunday lunch. People also use them as landmarks which means it’s very rare to give or get directions to somewhere in London without mentioning a few pubs along the way – “If you pass the Park Tavern you’ve gone too far” for example. Sadly more pubs are disappearing every year but hopefully the pub culture will always be a big part of London life.

Of course, in Cape Town there isn’t that uniquely British pub culture. But there are nice pubs and bars and I’ve managed to discover quite a few diverse ones that we now like to visit regularly. They all offer their own particular charm. Here are my favourites – in no particular order as I tend to visit them depending on what mood I’m in. Let me know what you think and what I’ve left out – a new bar to try would make my day.

The Rose Bar in the Alphen Hotel, Constantia

This outdoor bar and terrace is set overlooking the pool and gardens. It has comfy couches, great cocktails and a sushi and snack menu. It’s a good place for a pre-lunch drink on Sunday – our lunches tend to start late because the men are playing golf – so it’s the perfect quiet and peaceful place to catch up over a Bloody Mary or G&T before heading to the restaurant.

Comfy sofas and beautiful gardens at The Rose Bar

Comfy sofas and beautiful gardens at The Rose Bar

Oh and great cocktails, too

Oh and great cocktails, too

The Sky Bar in the Cape Royale Hotel, Greenpoint

Views don’t come better than this. Set on the roof terrace of the Cape Royale Hotel in Main Road, Greenpoint, the Sky Bar and pool deck has 360-degree views of Cape Town, including the sea, stadium and mountain. It’s perfect for sundowners and also serves sushi and snacks. The hotel has a great spa downstairs which makes it the perfect place for an indulgent morning followed by chill out time up on the roof.

The view across Greenpoint towards the sea and Cape Town stadium

The view across Greenpoint towards the sea and Cape Town stadium

The view across the pool towards Table Mountain

The view across the pool towards Table Mountain

Wafu, Beach Road, Mouille Point

Wafu is above the popular restaurant Wakame, and has stunning 180 degree views of Robben Island and the coastline. It can get pretty crowded at night when you will find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with Cape Town’s beautiful people. I love it during the day for a chilled out dim sum lunch and glass of rose. Keep your eyes on the sea as it’s very likely you’ll spot dolphins at play.

There's a good range of dim sum at Wafu

There’s a good range of dim sum at Wafu

The terrace at Wafu is always buzzing

The terrace at Wafu is always buzzing

Tjing Tjing, 165 Longmarket Street

This intimate little roof-top bar is in the city. Be careful to pay attention as you’re walking down Longmarket Street as it’s hard to find. You climb the stairs right to the top to discover a modern quirky bar with a dinky terrace.  I like to go there for a pre-dinner G&T before heading out for something to eat in trendy, lively Long Street and the surrounds. The last time we went there was a free wine tasting and there’s also a tapas menu if you can’t wait until dinner time.

&Union, 110 Bree Street

Somewhat bizarrely situated on the edge of a car park, this popular bar has a great atmosphere. It serves handcrafted beers and its menu is sausage heaven. It also serves substantial hamburgers and prego rolls and there are live bands several times a week. Outside tables soon fill up so make sure to get there early to grab your spot. We recently went there for a girls’ night out and it was the perfect choice. Who’d have thought rose and sausages would go so well together?

Fireman’s Arms, Buitengracht Street

The Fireman’s Arms was established in 1864, as it proudly displays on the door. We love it for its Thursday night pub quiz which is professionally run, truly competitive and fun…although last week the questions were just too hard for our team and we only managed to come 10th. We all left feeling dejected (and a bit stupid if I’m honest!) but the good news is we are determined to go back and do better. It’s also a good place to watch sport as there are plenty of flat screen TVs, oh and the food’s really good too.

An amazing cheese and bacon burger at Firemans Arms

An amazing cheese and bacon burger at Firemans Arms

I'd highly recommend the pizzas, too

I’d highly recommend the pizzas, too

Peddlars on the Bend, Constantia

Peddlars in Constantia is on the bend as it's name implies

Peddlars in Constantia is on the bend as its name implies

Peddlars is a famous Constantia landmark. It’s a large, rambling bar and restaurant with a huge outside area and a comprehensive and tasty menu at good prices. The relaxed atmosphere makes it the perfect place to pop in to for a light lunch (I’ve had an amazing fresh tuna salad here recently) and it’s also buzzing at night. They have a quiz night on Thursdays which I’m yet to try. Their power lunch Monday to Friday is great value at R110 for two courses or R140 for three with a complimentary glass of their wine of the month.

Foresters Arms

Foresters, or Forries as it’s known to locals, is in Newlands at the foot of Table Mountain. It’s one of the oldest pubs in South Africa and opened in 1852. Every generation who’s lived in the area has their Forries stories, I think there must be a book in there, one I’d happily research and write! There’s a massive outdoor area shaded by huge oak trees and a play area for kids. The pizzas and ribs are very good and on Sundays there’s an impressive carvery to tuck into.

So there we go, eight watering holes that I love visiting. Would love to hear from you with other suggestions.