As interest in the origins of the food takes root, restaurant kitchens are responding by sourcing ingredients that are seasonal, fresh, organic, local and sustainably grown and reared. Last year, 18 Cape Town restaurateurs formed a collective called the Longtable Project to nurture and promote eco-sensitive sources of produce and their dedication is paying off in food that stands out for its freshness and flavour.
1. Dear Me
What Dear Me is a popular bistro, bakery, deli and health food store in the heart of the CBD, serving breakfast and lunch. It’s casual coffee-shop style masks a mission to provide wonderful food for people who are on special diets: vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, carb-free and many others.
Sustainability cred Dear Me was the chief mover behind the Longtable Project and sources all its produce from a band of small-scale local farmers who share the owner’s belief in sustainability and ethical food-production practices. At Dear Me, even the eggs, bacon and ham are organic.
You must try The Eggs Benedict Shakshuka: eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce and served with toast (R52)
Contact 021 422 4920, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 165 Longmarket Street, CBD
2. The Foodbarn & Deli
What The deli provides freshly baked goods (the bakers start their working day at 3am) such as pies, breads, biscuits and muffins, and jellies, local wines and cheeses and some convenience items. It also serves delicious coffee from local company Bean There. The restaurant is headed by co-founder and chef Franck Dangereux (formerly of Constantia Uitsig) and provides an affordable fine-dining experience in a family-friendly environment.
Sustainability cred All ingredients used in the bakery and the kitchen are locally produced and sourced within a 100km radius.Only local premium stone-ground flour is used, high in fibre and containing no additives or preservatives. As a sideline, the Bam Bookshop offers an opportunity for anyone to recycle their booksBooks are recycled via the Bam Bookshop, where you can bring or buy or both.
You must try The poached eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, cherry tomatoes and stacks of bacon on potato rosti (R58).
Contact 021 789 1390, email@example.com
Location Noordhoek Farm Villiage
3. El Burro
What El Burro occupies the second floor of an old Victorian building, its balcony providing great views of the bustling Greenpoint streets below. The food is authentic Mexican, as are drinks such as Horchata, made of rice, almonds, cinnamon, lime zest and sugar. A party atmosphere is inevitable with more than 30 Mexican tequilas on offer (including 100% agave tequila) and arguably the best-in-town margarita cocktails.
Sustainability cred El Burro serves free-range meat and fresh local vegetables.
You must try Rib Eye Asada, which is free-range, aged ribeye, topped with a medallion of garlic and chipotle butter, on a bed of grilled mixed peppers and sundried tomatoes and served with homemade chips (R145).
Contact 0214332364, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Main Road, Exhibition Building, Greenpoint
4. Societi Bistro
Image credit: Southern Destinations
What Societi prides itself on serving rustic, unpretentious and ungarnished food in an urban setting. The menu changes seasonally, leaning towards French cuisine in winter and Italian in summer, and special dietary requirements are catered for – so, for example, vegan and gluten-free dishes are available on request.
Sustainability cred Where possible, all ingredients are locally sourced and free-range or organic. The restaurant makes a point of acknowledging that prawns are frozen, since they are sourced from the north Indian Ocean.
You must try The Justine Drake: a free-range ostrich burger served on a low-GI seed bun and served with hand-cut chips and horseradish slaw (R70). (Local celebrities lend their names to many of the dishes.)
Contact 021 424 2100, email@example.com
Location Orange Street, Gardens
5. The Pool Room at Oak Valley
Image Credit: Cape Fusion Tours
What Enjoy the serenity of the Pool Room, overlooking a turquoise swimming pool and views of the Elgin valley as far as the eye can see. The food is wholesome country cuisine and picnics are provided in the gardens, under the trees. Idyllic.
Sustainability cred The meat comes from free-range animals reared on the estate and is entirely free of hormones and antibiotics. The pigs are acorn-fed, the cows are grass-fed and the veggies are organic.
You must try The hearty organic pork belly or pork neck served with a pear and apple cider purée, potato dauphinoise, purple cabbage, jus and seasonal vegetables (R130).
Contact 021 859 4111, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Oak Valley Estate, Elgin
6. The Cellar at Haute Cabrière
Image Credit: 20-Something Cape Town
What With its Franschhoek mountain setting, The Cellar at Haute Cabrière lays on magnificent views of the valley below as you enjoy gourmet food and delicious wines. This fine-dining establishment serves French and South African cuisine with an estate wine to match each dish. The tasting menu options include vegetarian, or you can order full or half portions of main courses. If you are spending the afternoon tasting wines, the menu tantalisingly called Delicious Little Things is available.
Sustainability cred Fresh, seasonal ingredients are sourced from Haute Cabrière’s own organic vegetable garden, which supplies all the creative meat-free dishes on the popular vegetarian tasting menu.
You must try The basil Rrisotto with olive tapenade and a crispy parmesan salad (half portion, R70; full portion R140).
Contact 021 876 3688, email@example.com
Location Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek
7. Fresh at Paul Cluver
What This family-friendly restaurant offers shaded outdoor seating in summer and cozy indoor seating with roaring fires in winter. The ingredients of the South African country-style food are as fresh as the name suggests and big communal tables are perfect for large groups, in setting that includes fantastic views of the Elgin Valley and the bustle of the working wine farm.
Sustainability cred Paul Cluver has an organic vegetable garden that grows, among other things, artichokes, figs, lemons, tomatoes, pomegranates, pears and apples. No wonder these ingredients feature prominently in the menu’s signature dishes, depending on the time of year.
You must try The roast chicken and leek pie: free-range roast chicken and leeks in a creamy sauce, served under a puff pastry lid with a salad on the side (R105).
Contact 071 563 6020, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location De Rust Estate, Grabouw
8. Vredenhof Organic Estate
What Focusing on European and South African cuisine, Vredenhof Organic Estate serves breakfast and lunch tailored to the garden’s organic produce. Families can take advantage of the themed children’s play area, Isabella’s Secret Garden.
Sustainability cred As the name suggests, organic rules at Vredenhof, thanks to an organic nursery and garden on the estate, growing over 50 different fruit, herbs and vegetables. Organic produce is sourced locally too, to make sure the estate’s carbon footprint is kept to a minimum. It has been certified as an environmentally friendly farm by AFRISCO (Africa’s Farms Certified Organic) for the South African market, or the Geneva-based SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance), the world’s leading inspection and verification company, every year since 2004.
You must try The free-range chicken schnitzel, served with fried polenta, steamed organic vegetables and an Emmentaler cheese sauce (R65/R90).
Contact 021 855 0363, email@example.com
Location Bredell Road, Somerset West
Thumbs up to these restaurants that serve sustainable/ethically sourced food:
The Table at De Meye
Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
Overture Restaurant at Hidden Valley
The Restaurant at Waterkloof