5 Hidden Food Gems in Cape Town That You Can Visit

Posted on 15 March 2024

Embark on an adventure through Cape Town’s hidden culinary treasures in our blog post, “5 Hidden Food Gems in Cape Town That You Can Visit” From a rooftop Persian feast with a view to an ever-evolving ice cream haven, these off-the-beaten-path spots promise to delight your taste buds. Join us as we explore Tapi Tapi, where ice cream takes on daring new dimensions, and venture to How Bao Now for Taiwanese-inspired street food. Then, savour the vibrant flavours of traditional South African cuisine at Seven Colours Eatery before ending your journey with scones at The Scone Shack, a whimsical dessert haven with a sustainable twist. These hidden gems await your discovery, offering a taste of Cape Town’s culinary diversity and charm.

1. Persian Peacock

Persian Peacock - Hidden Food Gems in Cape Town

Source: Facebook / @ Persian Peacock

Ascend two flights of outdoor stairs to reach a Vredehoek rooftop terrace, where you’ll uncover a charming haven of genuine Iranian cuisine bathed in peacock-blue hues, adorned with opulent textiles and brass lamps, and offering a slice of mountain scenery. Ali and Fatima, the culinary maestros, have masterfully blended ancient Persian and modern Iranian culinary traditions, culminating in an informal yet lavish banquet brimming with saffron, sumac, and the fragrances of the Middle East.

Begin your gastronomic journey with a mezze platter featuring a fluffy pita and an array of delectable dips. Next, choose from a tempting selection of succulent kebabs grilled over charcoal, hearty rustic pizzas, or the unmissable tah-chin, a magnificent dome of saffron-infused rice baked to perfection with slow-cooked lamb (with alternative fillings of chicken, fish, aubergine, or potato and vegetables). The dish is garnished with radiant ruby-red barberries and drizzled with pomegranate sauce, creating an explosion of flavours. Conclude this epicurean adventure with the sweet notes of baklava, saffron ice cream, and a cup of Iranian black tea.

2. Tapi Tapi

TAPI TAPI - Hidden Food Gems in Cape Town

Source: Facebook / @ TAPI TAPI

Tapi Tapi, or “sweet-sweet” in Shona, is a hidden gem of an ice cream parlour in Observatory. Its founder, Tapiwa Guzha, a microbiologist, is an adventurous culinary maverick inspired by his grandmother’s Zimbabwean recipes and a MasterChef episode featuring liquid nitrogen ice cream. He constantly experiments with indigenous African ingredients to create unique, ever-changing flavours. Past delights have included deep-fried dough with kei apple jam, caramelised plantains with ginger and fire-roasted peanuts, and rooibos and imphepho (wild sage) ice cream.

At Tapi Tapi, there’s no fixed menu; Tapiwa’s creations are a delightful way to challenge taste buds and change perceptions, using ice cream as a canvas for trying something new and exciting.

3. How Bao Now

How Bao Now - Hidden Food Gems in Cape Town

Source: Facebook / @ How Bao Now

Introducing the baos you’ve been searching for! Founded by two former Test Kitchen chefs, Matt van den Berg and Carla Schulze, in 2020, How Bao Now has evolved from a beloved food stall into a permanent, cosy eatery nestled in the heart of the Old Biscuit Mill. The core of their menu continues to revolve around the Taiwanese-inspired street-food gem, the bao bun, crafted with utmost care and dedication.

These fluffy buns are filled with options like succulent pork belly, savoury beef short rib, or a surprisingly delightful BBQ pulled jackfruit for the vegan palate. Each bao is presented with a simplicity that’s nothing short of perfection, accompanied by just the right balance of pickled carrots, cucumber, and togaroshi. Moreover, the “bun of the day” introduces creative and ever-changing filling combinations to keep things fresh and exciting.

4. Seven Colours Eatery

Seven Colours Eatery

Source: Facebook / @Seven Colours Eatery

A heartfelt endeavour by chef Nolu Dube-Cele, this vibrant eatery has found its new home at Battery Park after garnering a devoted following at the former V&A Food Market. Nolu is dedicated to celebrating the rich tapestry of traditional South African cuisine, serving up plates of comforting soul food that are both visually stunning and incredibly delicious. Every dish is prepared with genuine kindness and a touch of warmth.

Don’t miss out on the must-try items, which include vetkoek with mince and chakalaka, umleqwa (road-runner chicken), mogodu (renowned for having some of the finest tripe in Cape Town), and the Seven Colour Plate featuring umngqusho (samp with sugar beans), umfino (maize meal with chopped spinach, cabbage, and potatoes), and amazimba (sorghum). For those seeking a memorable taste, the shisanyama plate, boasting braaied meat in a special BBQ basting sauce, alongside roosterkoek and salads, comes highly recommended!

5. The Scone Shack

The Scone Shack

Source: Facebook / @ The Scone Shack

Nestled along the road to Cape Point, this whimsical, crooked shack, crafted from recycled windows and wood, is a fairy tale dessert spot. Owned by Karl Odendaal, who purchased the property at just 21, the place has evolved into a magical oasis over 32 years, featuring a succulent nursery, a rustic river area with rowboats, and a menagerie of farm animals. After a day at Buffels Bay Beach, it’s the perfect stop for exceptional scones, made by Karl’s partner Cara in a wood-burning oven, served with homemade jam, butter, and cream, all complemented by delightful cinnamony iced tea.

In essence, this charming spot combines delectable desserts with a whimsical, sustainable world, offering a delightful escape along the journey to Cape Point.

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Also Read: Dining with a View: South Africa’s 12 Scenic Restaurants

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