Right, now onto what I wanted to blab about today… About 2 weeks ago we had this freak summer’s day – 30 degrees, no wind, no cloud cover, just absolute perfection. I had big plans to spend the day at the beach, but thing is, if you want to hit the beach, you’ve gotta try get there early. Otherwise finding parking ends up being a painful and traumatic experience. It just so happened that I had a crazy few days before and my body just really needed a good lie-in that morning. When I finally surfaced, I figured, why mission all the way to the beach now and fight my way through the crowds when I’m a 5min walk away from The Company’s Garden, one of the most beautiful places in the city and a perfect spot to chill and soak up some sun.
Also, I knew there’s a little restaurant in the gardens which I hadn’t tried out yet, so I could also grab a quick bite under the trees. Brilliant. So off I went, boyfriend in tow, he didn’t really have an option as I had no food in the house (as usual). hehe.
The gardens are beautiful at the moment. Lush, green, flowers blooming, birds & squirrels out and about. It definitely has a strong calming effect on you. People were chilling on the lawns, some reading, some chatting, others working on their tan. It’s also “kid friendly”, so there were lots of mini-me types running around like they’ve just escaped captivity. To sum it up: the best alternative to the beach really.
We grabbed a table at The Gardens Restaurant. The place kinda has a bit of an outdoors Wimpy feel to it. Definitely a bit old school. The menu covers basic items like toasted sandwiches, salads, burgers & omelettes. Then they also had a Sun lunch special that day which was roast beef or lam with hot veg for R85. They do a few meat, chicken & seafood dishes as well. Like calamari, grilled hake, roast chicken & lamb chops & filltet steak (R89) as examples. Then for dessert you can get some ice cream and pancakes. They have waitresses, but the service is veeeeeerrrry slow. It took forever just to get our table cleaned (from the people before us) and get some menus.
While we were waiting I noticed the table next to ours was packed with pigeons, all fighting over left over pieces of bread and such. It reminded me of this old Animaniacs cartoon I used to love called the Goodfeathers. The cartoon was about these 3 pigeons who were part of the pigeon mafia and trying to make it on the tough streets of the city (basically they made fun of movies like The Godfather). Then sometimes they would be visited by their boss, The Godpigeon, who was this fat pigeon who used to just mumble stuff at them in an non-apprehendable, funny manner. It was very cool. I see you can still check out a few clips on Youtube…
Anyways, we decided to keep things simple. I opted for a toasted tuna mayo sandwich with chips (R40) and Bjorn opted for an egg burger with chips (R48). All I’m gonna say is – at least the chips were kinda good. They were the chunky, beachfront take-away type which tastes awesome when drenched with white wine vinegar. Lemme show you:
As for the rest. I’d rather not comment. This is certainly not a dining destination… It’s a little sad though, because there’s so much potential for this little garden restaurant to be totally awesome. I mean, don’t they always say “location, location, location”? This spot certainly has that angle covered. The place is just in desperate need of a Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares style revamp. Until then I’d say just stick to some drinks maybe. You can at least have a cheap & cheerful glass of wine or a coffee or something.
But you know what, the best way to enjoy the gardens is to just pack your own picnic basket in any case. That’s what I’m planning on doing next time. The little restaurant hiccup is really a minor because there’s still sooooo much to enjoy. If town is a little out of your way, just check if there’s a public garden in your area. Cape Town’s great that way. You can hop on over here for a few more options.
Just a tip to the ladies though – dont’ be walking through the gardens on your own at night. This is still town and there are still dodgy characters around. Be smart & alert at all times.