11 super soup spots in Cape Town

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 11 July 2013

It would appear that soup has pretty much been around since time began. In the Middle Ages families would eat up to three bowls of soup a day as it was affordable during the many food shortages and in France there was a broth sold by street vendors as a cure for physical exhaustion. Then the first recipe book featuring soups appeared in 1742 and was called “The Compleat Housewife”.

Perfect housewives and cures for exhaustion aside, soup still remains much-loved by many during the colder months and it’s certainly one of my favourite winter meals. So I went in search of the best spots in the city to enjoy a bowl of winter warming happiness. Almost 20 bowls later (sometimes three bowls in one sitting), here are the results from my search…


1. Aubergine Restaurant, Gardens

First on the list (it is alphabetical) and possibly the swankiest of the lot. The floors are Kynsna Blackwood, the tables are Yellowwood and the wine list is so extensive that it comes in a book. You pay for refined dining and a bowl here could set you back R115. That said, Aubergine oozes class and has won numerous awards, so if you can afford it, why not treat yourself to an evening of sophistication? We had the Cape Seafood Chowder in Oriental style with coconut milk served with a seafood spring roll and the Mushroom Soup served with duck ravioli and pickled mushrooms. My tip would be not to have the soup dishes on their own, but rather as part of a 2-course menu for R215 (with wine pairing R298) or a 3-course menu for R290 (with wine pairing R415).
Contact: Tel 0214654909, email [email protected], www.aubergine.co.za.



2. The Brasserie, Tokai

This is the sort of place you can meet up with a group of friends for dinner or take the family for lunch. It’s smart, but has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Their ingredients are locally sourced and they even bake their own bread. They have a pretty impressive bar as well! Apparently their French Onion soup is popular (and always on the menu), but they also have a soup of the day. When I was there I had their delicious rich and creamy Roast Tomato Soup. To be honest, tomato soup is one of my favourites so I am biased and will say it was delicious! A bowl of soup here costs R38 and comes with a bread basket. Tip: Request a pink chair. There are only two available and they are so comfortable! Don’t be surprised if they are booked already!
Contact: Tel 0217121363, email [email protected], www.brasseriect.co.za.



3. Constantia Glen, Constantia

If you are looking for soup with a view, then Constantia Glen is the place to go! The views over the valley are as magnificent as the soups are tasty. Their soups are made fresh every day and apparently there is a competition between the ladies in the kitchen making the soup as to who made the best soup that day! They have a Honey Roasted Butternut & Sage Soup, a Beef Goulash Soup (from a recipe handed down through the generations) and a French Onion Soup. The soups are served with fresh bread and Rooibos butter and cost R45 for a single portion or R50 for a Trio of Soup, which a smaller portion of all three. Please note that you will be required to drink wine with your meal (not a problem for most of us!) as they are not essentially a restaurant, rather a tasting room with food on the side. Wine tasting is R30 a person.
Contact: Tel 0217956100, email [email protected], www.constantiaglen.com.



4. Dear Me, Longmarket Street

The name alone was enough for me to investigate this spot in the CBD and it turned out to be a delightful find. It’s one of those cheerful creative spots where the menu is attached to a clipboard and chalkboards reflect daily bakery specials, along with cute long-stemmed green flower decals on the walls and mirrors. We had the soup of the day which was a Creamy Potato & Watercress Soup served with crème fraiche. I had never had a potato and watercress soup before and loved it almost as much as the place. The soups change on a regular basis depending on what’s in season, so you could have Roasted Parsnip Soup one day and Zucchini & Mint Soup the next. Their take-away soup costs R35 (in a recyclable container) and comes with fresh bread. You can choose to eat-in as well, but that will cost you about R10 more. They also have a range deli items and baked goodies for sale.
Contact: Tel 0214224920, email [email protected], www.dearme.co.za.

12 super soup spots, Cape Town, Rachel Robinson


5. Frere’s Bistro, Foreshore

Celebrity chef Jason Whitehead may never have been to France, but his 35-seater French-style bistro certainly feels authentic. Open since March, it’s in a lovely spot surrounded by broekie lace and there’s parking too, which is a rare find in the city. Jason challenged me to try all three of his signature soups and having a good appetite I gladly accepted. By the time I got to the third one, I was almost ready to explode (and I didn’t have bread with them either) so who says soup isn’t filling? My favourite was the Wild Mushroom Soup (garnished with truffle oil), but Jason’s is the Split Pea and Pancetta Soup. The thick Frères Onion Soup (renamed from French Onion Soup as theirs is chunky rather than watery) was delicious too. Their soups cost R58 for a hearty bowl (with bread) and are served with charm, good looks and the odd tattoo. They also serve a range of Craft Beer.
Contact: Tel 0837777033, email [email protected], www.jasonwhitehead.co.za/freresbistro.



6. Reuben’s @ The One&Only, V&A Waterfront

Most people have this idea that Reuben’s at The One&Only is a posh and generally unaffordable place. You are half right – it’s kind of posh, but it is affordable. Their Winter Warmer Lunch Special for R125 consists of a bowl of soup, a gourmet sandwich and Malva pudding. When I was there I had a tasty bowl of creamy Carrot and Cumin Soup along with a panini filled with slow-roasted lamb and roast vegetables. In order to make room for the Malva pudding I took the other half of the sandwich home for supper! The restaurant is cosy and warm with a lovely view of Table Mountain and the canals. You can also park underground at the hotel for free. Available for lunch from Mondays to Fridays, so take a break from the office and leave the peanut butter sandwiches at home.
Contact: Tel 0214315800, email [email protected], www.capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com.



7. Roxy’s Cafe, Dunkley Square

This has long been a watering hole of mine, but I had never thought to eat there until a friend mentioned that I simply had to include them in my soup search. I am very glad I did! Their Cauliflower and Cashew Nut Soup was the best cauliflower soup I’ve ever had. It had loads of garlic in it (yum!), was garnished with roasted garlic shavings and in the middle of the bowl was a tasty chunk of cauliflower that had been fried in batter. Delicious and different, much like the place! The quirky décor in Roxy’s has hardly changed over the years, but I still find the comic strips fascinating and I love the old movie posters and cars on the ceilings. I still feel a little uneasy being watched by a mannequin in the bathroom though! Soup of the day is served with bread and costs R35. Takeaways available and for R5 extra they will deliver within and around Dunkley Square.
Contact: Tel 0214618507, email [email protected].



8. The Vineyard Hotel, Newlands

The Vineyard was originally built in 1799 as a home for Lady Anne Barnard. In 1894 a Scottish banker by the name of James Mitchell bought the property and turned it into a hotel, with Rudyard Kipling being one of the guests in 1898. So when you walk through The Vineyard Hotel you are literally walking in the footsteps of history! The soup of the day at The Square Restaurant was Roast Tomato Soup, which we know is one of my favourites, but not so much for my friend, so I simply scoffed hers too! Yes, it’s that good! The soup was served with breadsticks and pesto on the side, along with a basket of bread rolls. The Square Restaurant itself has indoor trees and a waterfall, making it a serene spot. We particularly loved the high-backed chairs, which made us feel quite important! Soup of the day costs R44, but I recommend you go for their Winter Special Lunch Menu, which includes a soup. Have a 2-course menu for R155 or a 3-course menu for R185. Apart from oozing history, The Vineyard Hotel is simply beautiful and the lush gardens are perfect for a stroll after lunch.
Contact: Tel 0216574500, email [email protected], www.vineyard.co.za.



9. The Wild Fig, Observatory

The Wild Fig will always reign as one of my favourite spots because it’s lovely in summer and winter – sit outside under fairy lights in summer or keep warm inside by a fire in winter. They serve great food too and it turns out that they also have soup in a “bread bowl”! Theirs is a giant bun with the lid taken off and the inside scooped out – bit like a Bunny Chow, but in soup form! Between two of us, we tried their Corn Cheddar & Chilli Soup (served in the bread bowl) their French Onion Soup and the eye-wateringly spicy Tom Yum Soup. All were delicious and between us we scoffed the bread bowl too. That was followed by a nightcap in Annie’s Bar (they have a great whiskey selection), comfortably seated on a leather couch. We had a difficult time leaving! Soup of the day here costs R39 and the Tom Yum Soup costs R58 (fish) or R60 (prawns). They also have 3-course set menus, starting at R185 per person.
Contact: Tel 0214480507, email [email protected], www.thewildfig.co.za.



10. The Yard, Gardens

Fancy a bowl of Sweaty Betty’s Sexy Soup? I suggest you give it a try because it could be the only thing you need to eat that day! Served in recyclable containers, soup at The Yard (otherwise known as the Dogs Bollocks burger joint by night) is filled with all the good stuff. They are the kind of soups that your granny made that kept you full for days. We had a Pea and Ham Hock Soup with plenty of of yummy ham shreddings and the Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup with generous lashings of melted cheese. Served with bread, these sexy soups will cost you R40 for the meaty stuff and R30 for the veggie stuff. If you are broke, they have smaller containers too. The Yard itself is fast becoming the most famous food-serving garage in town because of its no-frills funkiness and decent portions at good prices. Put your name on the chalkboard, grab a beer or some wine and watch out for incoming scooters when you collect your order. It’s that kind of place… and I hope it never changes.
Contact: Tel 0834407843.



11. ZOOP!, Hout Bay Market

When Linda McKeever served seafood soup as a starter at a dinner party at her home someone remarked that it was “the best soup they’d ever tasted in the world!” A reaction like that needed a follow up, so Linda and her partner, Christian, visited Hout Bay Market with thermos flasks full of different soups for tasting. They were promptly given a spot to trade at the market and the rest is history. Clearly the owners of the market have good taste as ZOOP! soups are super yummy. They are made using natural ingredients and freshly-made stock, with no flour, gluten or preservatives, making them perfect for people with food intolerances. They have four soups to choose from at their stall on the Hout Bay Market and these can vary from Curried Red Lentil Soup to Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup or a Spicy Coconut Chicken Soup to Mexican Three Bean Soup. ZOOP! soup, served in an eco-friendly take-away bowl with a roll, will cost you from R30 to R50 depending on the soup. You can also buy a litre of soup from R80. ZOOP! is at the Hout Bay Market on Fridays from 17h00 to 21h00 and Saturdays and Sundays from 09h30 to 16h00. You can also order online.
Contact: Tel 0822237677, email [email protected], www.zoopsoups.com.



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