Best Cape Town take-aways
By Daisy Jones, 17 June 2020
There has never been a better time for take-aways.
First of all, let’s not call them take-aways. When our best restaurants deliver to your home, it’s not pizza in a box or a tub of noodles, it’s a meal; a form of catering. Although it’s not that either, because catering can lack identity. The kind of take-aways you can get now have brand identity. We are getting an amazing bargain here – food from a menu that tells a unique story, and they’re selling it cheap.
If you want to support restaurants for the rest of the year, put it in your diary. Make it a weekly thing. Here’s Winemag’s suggestion: a Sunday roast, once a month; a deli “picnic”, once a month; a fancy dinner, once a month and a weeknight dinner, once a month. We’ve tried some of the take-aways below; others we selected because we’ve liked their sit-down meals.
It’s genius of restaurants to offer Sunday roasts. We’re locked down with family, not friends, and it’s a lovely idea, setting the table just for us, for a slap-up Sunday lunch. I hope it becomes a habit in our house. Post-lockdown, imagine entertaining on a Sunday with no food fuss – no shopping, no frantic Sunday morning cooking, no delegating salad and pudding to other guests, minimal washing up. Wouldn’t that be nice, asking the restaurant’s advice on wine and ordering that too? Wouldn’t it be a New York dream, lolling about on Sunday morning in bed, then stretching, getting up and setting a table while waiting for the food to arrive? Best of all, imagine sitting still most of the afternoon and actually chatting to your nephews or your old schoolfriend – instead of checking and re-checking the rock-hard roasties in the oven, trying (again) to make a better gravy and leaping up to rescue the pudding.
- Black Sheep in Gardens does Sunday roasts for four. It’s either roast chicken with bacon and sage stuffing, braised vegetables and tarragon gravy for R540 or roasted pork shoulder with roast potatoes, braised red cabbage, apple compote and Cumberland sauce for R560. Given that Black Sheep is generous with its portioning, less than R150 per person is brilliant value.
- Coco Safar in Sea Point is offering four-person roasts for collection on Sunday mornings. Both the beef brisket and whole rosemary-roasted chicken come with a carrot souffle, two “haute” sides, two “comfort” sides and two desserts. “Haute” sides include the pickled seasonal vegetables with turmeric, buchu, star anise and cinnamon. The “comfort” sides include a creamy truffle polenta. The chicken and beef meals are R745 and R895 respectively.
- Great news for Cape Townians: Bertus Basson’s Stellenbosch restaurant, Overture, delivers to Cape Town suburbs on Thursdays and Saturdays. Last week’s bounteous three course meal – at R485 for two – included Jerusalem artichoke soup; spiced, glazed duck legs and crack pie. For an extra R200 he threw in a bottle of Kevin Arnold Shiraz.
- Bargain alert! Jardine Restaurant is offering a three-course meal for R275 per person. The menu, devised by hugely respected chef George Jardine, offers real bang for your buck. An example of the bread course: ashed ciabatta with salsa verde, aioli and nasturtium pesto. The bread is made in-house, as the gnocchi would be, or the risotto, for the first course. Main courses may feature pork cheek or poached beef shin. Jardine’s “osso buco”, anyone? There’s always a veggie side – something like roast sweet potato with honey butter and thyme – and a salad, like the green bean salad with crispy garlic and mustard dressing. Dessert might be something like pavlova with lemon curd and candied zest. Delivery is within a 20km radius of Stellenbosch.
- If the family loves a braai, you have to drive out to Spier and get Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery platters. For around R300 – depending on what you choose — you’ll get hot, smoked meats, sides and a pasteis de nata. There’s even a vegetarian option.
Here’s Winemag’s second suggestion: Put some lovely food in a backpack once a month and take it for a walk. A freedom we are allowed is exercise. Eating treat foods at home is one thing, eating them during a walk, by a waterfall in a forest, or on a bench by the sea, is quite another. (Being from the North of England, I don’t even mind a car picnic, if it’s stormy, I’m more than happy to have a pie or a cake in a parking lot halfway up a mountain or at the ocean, with rain running down the windows. A flask of tea makes it even better.) It’s worth bearing in mind that your “picnic” meal might not require ordering; it could be part of your exercise outing. You might stop at Giovanni’s on the way to your walk on Sea Point Promenade, for instance.
- Luke Dale-Roberts’s Gourmet Hamper A available from Lukedaleroberts.com costs R1800 but it contains 14 items, including salmon fillet, country pate, beef bourguignon, chicken pie, bread, cheeses, chutney, berry compote and meringues. It’s not a single-picnic hamper; instead, it’s “a weekly basket of goods, providing the focal point for multiple meals”.
- Giovanni’s Deli World in Greenpoint is a 31-year-old Cape Town institution. It’s open every day and you can still get fresh deli sandwiches, carpaccio, dips and soft, handmade bagels. The range of products at Giovanni’s is legendary: whatever your poison – cheese, chocolate, cold meat or fish – it’s here. You can buy a hot coffee for take-away, too.
- Dalebrook Café in Kalk Bay is open from 7am every day with a wide range of take-aways, coffees, baked treats, pantry items and frozen meals. Deliveries are free in the area. Here’s a clever idea: a braai pack for four with chops, boerie, chicken and three salads for R600. Dalebrook Café is the sister store to Chardonnay Deli in Constantia.
- In Constantia, Chef Kerry Kiplin of Tryn Restaurant at Steenberg is making quiches to order. Collection is at Tryn’s Coffee and Pastry Bar from 9am-4pm. Hot coffees, croissants, muffins and her famous honey brioche are on sale too.
- The Electric, on the east side of the city, delivers fresh juices and shots, homemade bread and granola, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as their healthy veggie burgers and hot dogs.
That’s two weeks of the month, and both aimed at weekend eating. The third thing to do is to order in a weeknight meal once a month. For me it’s usually curry, but for you it might be Italian. The trick is to order at least double what you can eat. The rest goes in the fridge – so that you can dedicate the whole of the next day to decluttering the garage, for instance – or it goes in the freezer for your biggest Zoom day, when suppertime is an ambush.
- The Cousins Trattoria makes a superb lasagna for four or six. It’s also possible to order handmade pasta, gnocchi and ravioli – as well as handmade pasta and sauces, sold separately. The Cousins delivers in the City Bowl, and to the Southern Suburbs on Thursdays. Collection is also possible.
- Prashad Café consistently delivers delicious vegetarian and vegan Indian food made with fresh ingredients. Krishan Peters recently improved his spicing, increasing authentic flavour. Orders can be phoned in and collected in Rondebosch, Kloof Street or Woodstock. Alternatively, orders may be placed via delivery apps.
- Sepial’s Kitchen in Salt River specialises in casual Korean food, with a chef’s attention to detail. Three options are available here: regular take-aways, frozen meals and cooking kits. Chef Sepial Shim is offering online cooking classes during lockdown. Sepial’s also sells handmade ingredients like frozen bao buns and jars of its famous kimchi.
- On Thursdays and Fridays, Jason Bakery delivers its “Survival Packs”, including the R400 Pizza Pack. What a cool and affordable alternative to a pizza delivery: the pack includes four par-baked pizza bases, a jar of in-house tomato and pepper pizza sauce and 400g of buffalo mozzarella.
- Here’s a Chinese take-away Winemag can get behind: South China Dim Sum Bar delivers pot stickers, dumplings and “street food” every day except Sundays. South China Dim Sum Bar is a favourite of Cape Town chefs – yet most dishes cost less than R50.
Finally, there’s the splash-out Friday or Saturday night dinner. This wants a tablecloth, a flower and a candle. You might be celebrating a birthday, or an anniversary. You might just be celebrating the fact that these days you can afford to patronize La Colombe.
- This, hot off the press: bookings open this week on the 18 June for take-home tapas by Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia. Every afternoon, from Thursday to Sunday, diners will be able to collect “some of .. Jones’s favourite dishes”, as well as sauces and sambals made by his team. The menu for Beau Pick Up and Go will change weekly.
- One of the most exciting and best value gourmet take-aways is from FYN. Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss offer seven courses of their Afro-Japanese fusion food for R595 per person. It’s an exotic and exciting menu. The main courses are heated and plated at home – instructions are included. FYN’s wine recommendations, drawn from the restaurant’s extensive wine list, may be delivered with the meal.
- The nine-course meal from La Colombe is an extremely luxurious and elegant offering, with only the breads and meat course requiring warming. It costs R750 per person.
- Janse at Home stands out with its vegan main courses. This week it’s fried kimchi cauliflower with caramelized sunchokes, black garlic sauce, nasturtiums and wood sorrel. (The meat options are smoked and braised beef brisket or deboned baby chicken.) Courses are priced separately, but you could come it at under R500 per person for starter, main and dessert.
- From Wednesday to Sunday, Belly of the Beast does a six-course tasting menu for R450 a person. Here’s a sample meat course: Braised lamb, tomato curry, mielie pap, crispy onion and pecan nut gremolata. Belly at Home does a three-course family menu for half the price, and wildly popular fast foods – like Korean BBQ pork ribs and cured yellowfin tuna tacos – sell out regularly. No wonder: the pickled beef tongue sandwich is R85 and the gingerbread ice cream is R35.
The 20 restaurants above are by no means the only ones offering next-level take-aways. Contact your favourite eatery and see what’s on offer. Then let’s commit to ordering once a week. Having your take-aways “scheduled” supports the restaurant industry, and it works for you too. The hard work of deciding is done; only the fun choices remain – when you know it’s roast week, picnic week or weeknight supper week, who will you call?
- Daisy Jones has been writing reviews of Cape Town restaurants for ten years. She won The Sunday Times Cookbook of the Year for Starfish in 2014. She was shortlisted for the same prize in 2015 for Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children. Daisy has been a professional writer since 1995 when she started work at The Star newspaper as a court reporter. She is currently completing a novel.
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