It’s not often that you come across a venue so perfectly suited to keeping both kiddies and adults entertained for hours on end. But one afternoon spent at Clay Café’s brand new home makes it abundantly clear that it is exactly that.
Nestled on a lush, 2.5-acre farm in the heart of the Hout Bay valley, Clay Café was buzzing with energy and activity when we arrived. The first thing that caught my eye (and ears – such were the shrieks of excitement emanating from throngs of little ones) was the enormous trampoline enclosure, not unlike something you’d see at the circus. It’s a kiddies’ paradise, which makes it great for relieving mums and dads too.
While the innovative playground is indeed an ingenious addition, we were there to channel our energies into a more creative endeavour and paint our very own ceramic pieces– a pastime that Clay Café has been offering artistically inclined visitors since 1998.
How Does It Work?
After settling in at your table, one of Clay Café’s friendly waitrons will pop over to bring you a menu and explain the process. If you elect to take part in the painting, you’re shown to the bisque (unglazed pottery) room, where you can choose from over 200 clay creations that stack the walls. Once you’ve made your selection, you move on to picking three paint colours, brushes, finishing tools and touches before excitedly darting back to your table, where you’re free to unleash your imagination and decorate your own signature masterpiece.
While handcrafted items get a bad rep for being impractical, this is not the case with Clay Café. Not only are all their items moulded on the premises from the clay that they make themselves, but once fired they’re also completely dishwasher, microwave and oven proof.
There are endless options, suitable to both small busybodies and older, more practical tastes. The children gravitated to the sweet little bunnies, cats (and even Despicable Me minions), but I browsed the vases, salad bowls and platters before plucking out a hearty-looking soup mug in anticipation of cooler days.
Having decided on a loose design (Pinterest is a great source of inspiration!), my mum, sister and I relaxed into our shady spot on the outside patio and quietly enjoyed the unique type of creative therapy that focused painting induces.
Pizza and Pottery
Producing fine works of art is hungry business, but the Clay Café has you covered with breakfast, lunch and an array of treats on mouth-watering display. We enjoyed our Truth Coffee cappuccinos, freshly-pressed veggie juices, a baked cheesecake that disappeared in moments and an oozy, delectable fig, chevin and walnut bake served on a bed of rocket and crostini.
Lunch options include pizza, burgers, salads and wraps (with veggies from their on-site veggie garden) – many of which were carried past me, on their way to the chatting groups of friends and families that surrounded us. They all looked heavenly!
Pausing to swap out some colours or brushes, or simply to soak in the glorious mountain views, we happily whiled away the better part of our afternoon – totally absorbed in a wonderfully de-stressing activity.
Firing and Finishing
Once you’ve put the final flourish on your ceramic piece and you’re ready to go, you label it with your unique number and snap a pic for identification purposes, before taking it to the front where you settle your bill.
As pieces need to be fired and glazed, you can’t take them home with you immediately and will need to return 3 weeks later to collect them – a great excuse to enjoy another round of painting and snacking in a picturesque setting.
Book Your Clay Café Excursion
- Clay Café is open Tuesday – Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm.
- Bookings can be made online by visiting their website. Alternatively, call + 27 21 790 3318.
- Larger groups and parties can also be accommodated.
Blog post by: Tarah Darge