Two of my favourite things are Cape Town (twenty visits and counting) and great coffee. Brad Armitage founded the South African chain Vida e Caffe (think Starbucks but with actual decent coffee) with his business partner Rui Esteves (no, not the former Portuguese soccer international, a different Rui), before selling the business and setting up boutique beer producer cum bar &UNION on Bree Street a few years back.
I asked Brad to tell me about the places in town he’d send his mates if they were visiting Cape Town.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT RIGHT NOW?
Super star chef Luke Dale-Roberts has been claiming the headlines with his award-winning study of molecular gastronomy, The Test Kitchen. However the waiting list is a lesson in patience to say the least. Rather opt for his ‘spill- over’ option, the less formal Pot Luck Club. Small, and unceremonious, it is part lite-meal diner, part gallery.
If you are looking to head out of the city, then it has to be The Table at De Meye wine farm (voted best country dining spot in the recent Eat Out Awards). The Table is what happens when you unleash a chef, a food stylist and a gourmand photographer on a disused barn in the winelands. It’s a single, set menu of local specialities, and its only open twice a week. Booking is a must and be sure to try the Rosé – grown within earshot of your table.
WHERE SHOULD I BE DRINKING RIGHT NOW?
Of course any good evening of libation will start at with a fine selection of craft beers at &UNION. But that is because I am blatantly biased. From then on I would have to recommend dive-bar cum neighbourhood cafe, Power & Glory. It has a limited selection of well-made, old-school cocktails like the crisp and refreshing Army Navy- made from artisanal organic gin, almond liqueur and lemon.
WHAT’S YOUR PERFECT SUMMER WEEKEND IN THE MOTHER CITY?
A morning surf up the West coast at one of the beach breaks beyond Big Bay like Horse Trails. Head back into town for espresso and quick breakfast (try the Heuvos Rancheros at Clarke’s Diner). Then regroup with the family and pack the car to get some more sun and swimming in the rock pools at Bakeoven Beach – probably Cape Town’s best kept secret. An afternoon braai (barbecue) around the pool, and watch the lights come up on Table Mountain. If you have anymore strength, you would walk down into the city, and enjoy a Negroni at Tjing Tjing – one of the few rooftop bars in Cape Town.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL ESCAPE?
Head up the coast to the West Coast National Park. Once inside, forget the wild flowers, and head straight to the secluded beaches like Kraalbaai – it is on the lagoon, with azure warm water that is more akin to the Greek Isles than the stark West Coast – and only an hours drive from the city. Pack a lunch, and stay the whole day.
WHAT’S YOUR CAPE TOWN GUILTY PLEASURE?
A Chicken Roti from the roti lady in Bo Kaap. Sorry, that is all the details I have – she sells the best Roti’s ever! They cost next to nothing, but she only sells for 1 hour, on a Friday, as all the men leave Friday prayers in the mosques in the Muslim neighbourhood of Bo Kaap. Simply brilliant. It all sells out in half an hour.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER ONE TIP FOR ANYONE HEADING DOWN?
Always carry a light-weight, weather-proof jacket. No matter how hot it was today – tonight may get icy, and you will get caught out in the rain.
WHO ARE YOU?
Concept Developer and Brand Custodian, Brad Armitage has been crafting retail experiences for over 12 years. Passionate about the way we spend our time, and our money, and the things we do to make us feel good. He is co-founder of Collective São Gabriel and the Brewers & Union range of craft beers, as well as the purpose built ‘beer shrine’ &UNION, on Cape Town’s Bree Street. Brad continues to work in the realm of brand development, and clients including Woolworths, Paint & Place, Union Swiss and Plascon/Midas Eathcote. He has been involved in a variety of menswear blogs, and is a contributor to Future Laboratory, GQ and Monocle magazines. Brad hates to talk about himself in the 3rd person.