(Editor’s note: Rumit Mehta, a native South African, is currently leading a bike tour of South Africa as part of his Hello Yebo tours. Here’s one of his dispatches.)
There is always the allure of “fine dining” whenever one travels. The waiters are normally dressed in penguin-style uniforms, you sit down, and you order the food you like. You have a conversation with your dinner partner with soft music in the background, talking softly, afraid to disturb the other guests around you. The decoration is elegant, yet bland while a candle on your table ensures for a good atmosphere.
Then there is the South African fine dining experience, complete with a cacaphony of sounds, smells, and colors. There is always a bit of “expect the unexpected” when visiting the Africa Café, located in the heart of Cape Town’s restaurant district, but it is a place that one must visit.
Upon arrival, I fell in love with my own country again, all in this unassuming restaurant. I was welcomed by a smiling lady who wore a beautiful typical African dress, with patterns decorating her face as she showed us our table. The epircurean adve
nture had begun.
Drums in the background were playing as the locals were eyeing the prix-fixe menu. The joy of eating at the Africa Café is the fact that there are small plates of food from every part of the contient. Over several glasses of wine, you can eat your way through the continent! Each plate represents a country or region and presented with a complete description and also how to eat it. The menu is seasonal and pre-set and the plates appear one by one by eleganty dressed servers
The food was as amazing as we hoped, and the conversation was fantastic as we enjoyed the war stories of the Germans (our nex- door dining neighbours) about their epic journey through South Africa. Dessert was served and then probably the best part of the evening started.
The waiters started dancing and singing traditional songs at the beat of African drums! Of course we joined and five seconds later, the Germans were doing the African dance like pros, while a French couple decided to give it a try as well. (The French needed a few tips along the way, though). As the evening wound down, we moved to the quaint bar on the main floor for a final night cap of Amarula over ice and wandered the gallery of ceramics the cafe have on display for a last-minute gift.
Africa Café is a must. This restaurant definitely gives you the full flavor of South Africa, not only food-wise but culture-wise as well!