Africa Food Travel

Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Test Kitchen, Fork and Table Mountain

This is part nine of my travel series to South Africa. For the complete series, please see below:

Traveling to South Africa – South African Airways and Federal Air
Singita Ebony – The Lodge
Singita Ebony – Day to Night
Singita Sweni – The Lodge
Singita Sweni – Day to Night
Cape Grace
Cape Town – The Peninsula Tour and The Boat House
Cape Town – City and Winelands Tour
Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Test Kitchen, Fork and Table Mountain
24 Hours in Istanbul

Today, I wanted to share some of the last remaining favorite sights and tastes we experienced during our trip to Cape Town – two of our favorite restaurants, the V&A Waterfront, and Table Mountain!

Our hotel Cape Grace was located in a touristy, but very lovely area of Cape Town – the Victoria & Albert, or V&A, Waterfront.What I loved about this area was that while it was clearly upscale/touristy, it was also a working port with large ships docked all around. I loved seeing them from our room at Cape Grace.

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Even though I loved almost all of the food we had in South Africa, I still missed Asian food from time to time. I can’t go very long without eating Asian food and yes I am that person you’ll see in Paris eating at the Chinese restaurant next to the big tables filled with tour groups.

I was craving a bowl of noodle soup in Cape Town and when I saw this Taiwanese ship with workers on board slurping noodles, I nearly passed out in excitement! Sadly however, I found out that they were just eating some instant ramen that they had brought from home.

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Walking over the bridge way from our hotel.

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The V&A area was full of shops and places to eat. We checked out a building full of “food stalls”. We would have stopped by to eat here but didn’t have time during our stay.

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The one meal we were able to fit in at V&A was at the lovely Harbour House, which came very highly recommended. It was about a ten minute walk from Cape Grace. We sat outside with a view of the docks right next to us.

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The food was delicious! This was a gnocchi dish I ordered. So good and fattening.

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Incredibly fresh fish – we ordered this dish based on what was on the blackboard as “just caught”. I would highly recommend going this route, this was a delicious King Clip.

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Now that we’re on the topic of food, I wanted to share some of the other amazing food we had in Cape Town – some of our favorite restaurants (aside from our meal at Bruce Robertson’s).

The first restaurant and one that I would highly recommend to any food lover visiting Cape Town – The Test Kitchen.

The restaurant was located in a very cool little center called “The Old Biscuit Mill,” which was formerly exactly what it sounds like – a mill dedicated to making biscuits.

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The Test Kitchen itself was a very open seating arrangement, with tables placed all around the cooking areas.

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The food was so, so good! I can’t do justice to the food in my descriptions so please forgive me in advance.

Even the bread selection was fabulous – loved the hot and toasty pretzel rolls!

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This was the amuse bouche, it all looks sweet but in fact these were all savory. All amazing and of course the only item I remember is the gold dusted “billionare’s shortbread” with duck liver parfait.

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Yet another amuse bouche – lovely though not exactly bite sized! Tomato, an aubergine puree, goat cheese, and more.

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Smoked fish as a first course (one of my favorite foods in the world!). I believe it was a yellowtail ceviche (and the carrots were BBQ’d!), with crème fraiche and curry dressing.

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Grilled scallop with raw shiitake mushrooms. and asparagus

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A fried line fish with cauliflower and quail egg ravioli.

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The chefs preparing more amuse bouche courses in the kitchen.

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Crispy pork belly with a blue cheese dressing – oh so good!

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A light apple and jelly sorbet.

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A caramelized poached pear with noisette ice cream.

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Delicious chocolate dessert which included something called a “cinnamon sponge” and a lovely parfait.

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Our dinner for two, complete with full wine pairings, was less than $200, tip and tax included. And I would say that was on the high end for Cape Town – all in all, much friendlier prices than what we’re used to in the Bay Area. I would highly, highly recommend Test Kitchen for anyone visiting Cape Town. Make reservations here way in advance, especially if you want a dinner seating (I’m talking two months plus) – it’s probably one of the hardest reservations to make in town.

The second restaurant which we really enjoyed was Fork, close to the City Center of Cape Town.

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I was craving tapas for one of our last dinners in Cape Town and wanted to see what the local interpretation would be like.

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First up – a meat and cheese platter. Jamón ibérico, baby!

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A few more dishes – smoked salmon rolls with goat cheese, mini kudu fillets with a chili potato puree, and a lovely rocket and parmesan salad.

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By this point we had drunk quite a bit of sangria and also run into a father/daughter pair that we’d met at Singita so there are no more photos for the night.

Fork – very recommended, have your hotel make reservations a week or so before you arrive. Our bill came in around $50 US.

I wanted to end this post by sharing one of our final and favorite sights that we saw in Cape Town – Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a must see in Cape Town and you should have your hotel concierge purchase you tickets ahead of time on the morning you decide to go (this helps you avoid a potentially very long line!).

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You can either hike, walk or take a cable car to the top of the mountain. We took a cable car which was wonderful. Next time I think  we would walk up, it’s apparently a lovely way to spend three hours.

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At the top, we took a stroll around the perimeter of the mountain. It was seriously gorgeous with amazing views from every side.

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The city (you can see some clouds coming in).

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Side note: we had several conversations with native South Africans who had the impression  that Americans were very litigious. “Don’t get too close to a lion…it may attack you…and then you’ll have to sue!” they’d cackle.

Whether or not this impression was right or wrong, I will say that I did notice a distinct lack of fences, or signs for safety, even at the biggest and most heavily trafficked tourist attractions, including  Table Mountain. Instead, it seemed that basic common sense was the rule – if you’re not an idiot, you won’t step too close to the edge of Table Mountain, and then you won’t go tumbling off to your death.

Even though it made perfect sense, Mr. Feather and I were still surprised at first by our ability to get as close to the edge of the mountain as we wanted. It was beautiful though, and soon we were really enjoying the freedom to go scrambling down the rocks in safer areas.

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I’ll sign off this post with one of my favorite photos that we took up on Table Mountain, of both the sea, the greenery, and city.

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Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited, and one of our favorite destinations so far. It is the one place we’ve been to that has exceeded expectations by the largest margin. I love you Cape Town, and we will be back!

Next, I’ll be taking you through the last leg on our trip, our journey back home, with a nice long stop in Istanbul. Thank you for reading along!

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  • Sonya
    November 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I’ve bookmarked the entire series you have done on Cape Town for our future trip. We love Istanbul and looking forward to seeing how you liked the beautiful country.

  • V
    November 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

    If it were me, I’d need those fences up to get anywhere close to the edge. I am deathly scared of heights and need the seeming security of a fence to “entice” me to leave sea-level behind.

    Looking forward to your post on Istanbul! 🙂

    • Katherine
      November 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

      V for most areas it’s not a steep drop and there’s quite a bit of space so I wouldn’t be worried up there – I’m not the greatest person with heights either so I totally sympathize 🙂

  • Irina
    November 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Kat! Thank you for this series, I enjoyed it enourmosly:) Will be waiting for your next trip! Also, Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the wolrd, so let’s see what you have to say about it;) Have a good day!

    • Katherine
      November 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      We were only there for less than 24 hours…I would love to go back, I hear that Istanbul is one the list for many people for “Favorite city!”

  • Mel
    November 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Harbour House looks like the perfect lunch spot!

    That first photo you posted of Table Mountain (looking down) made my stomach drop….

    • Katherine
      November 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      It is! If you go, I’d recommend you going to their restaurant in Kalk Bay!

  • Olyvia
    November 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, I’ve never seen food like that before (per Test Kitchen). Thanks so much for sharing! I feel like I’ve been living in a box seeing your adventures 🙂

    • Katherine
      November 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you so much Olyvia!

  • Adele
    November 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    The food at test kitchen looks like the food we get at my favourite restaurant – gorgeous & so well presented.
    The views from Table Mountain look stunning.
    Happy Tuesday Katherine xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

    • Katherine
      November 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      What is your favorite restaurant? Would love to hear some Adele recs 🙂

  • Laura
    November 23, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I’m a long time reader, first time commenter. I had to let you know, I love your South African travel series. We’re preparing to go next summer and I am wondering if you can do a what to pack for the South African trip as well. Love the blog and as always, thanks for sharing all your adventures!

    • Katherine
      November 24, 2013 at 12:15 am

      Hi Laura! Thanks for your kind words, so glad that you found the series helpful! I have a “tips for S. Africa” post that I’ve been working on, I hope I can publish sometime this year 🙂

  • Diva In Me
    December 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Sorry I haven’t been visiting your blog lately. Now that I have and I will be reading the next 7 post too.
    Thank you for showing us Cape Town. It’s on my bucket list. My bf and I have been talking about it and will someday visit this place for sure.
    Those fine dining food looked scrumptious that’s for sure! =D

  • Cape Town – Cape Grace | Feather Factor
    December 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    […] Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Test Kitchen, Fork and Table Mountain | Feather Factor says: November 18, 2013 at 8:31 am […]

  • Annie
    May 18, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Dido, I didn’t know what to expect before flying into Cape Town. Once I was there, I was captivated by the immense beauty of the mountains, beaches and wonderful food.

    • Katherine
      May 18, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Annie, very glad that you enjoyed as well! I want to go back to Cape Town pronto 🙂