Quintessential Cape Town Eating: Kloof Street House

If I had to pick just one meal to live off for the rest of my days it might very well be the Roasted Beetroot and Deep Fried Goat’s Cheese Salad from Kloof Street House. Well, it’s a toss-up between that and their Salted Caramel Baked Cheesecake. Covered in a thick layer of caramel and topped with crunchy caramel popcorn, this is one dessert you’ll want to save space for.

The Ambiance
Stepping across the threshold of Kloof Street’s House feels like stepping into a fairy-tale. Where outside, the busy end of Kloof Street thrums with neon lights, shoppers, skateboarders, hipsters and tourists; inside is a different realm entirely. A lush, fairy-lit garden beckons visitors up the path and beautifully tiled staircase and inside the grand Victorian manor house that whispers with intrigue.

Soft and romantic lighting, aided by the many candles and fringed lampshades, illuminate Tretchikoff prints, gilded mirrors, leather Chesterfield couches, mosaicked tables, hanging plants, black and white photographs of Cape Town and curios that belong more to Gatsby’s era than to our own, in a mismatch that’s both intimate and exotic. Delve a little deeper and you’ll find the bar, stacked with old travelling cases, and the library – a lounge area warmed by the roar of the crackling fireplace. In fact, each room is a visual feast so rich that one scarcely knows where to look. Rumour has it that the sumptuous décor, with its reams of velvet, is a nod to the house’s slightly more illicit past as a gentlemen’s club, but you might have to explore a little more to see if that particular tale holds merit.

In winter, we suggest booking a spot close to the hearth, while those visiting on balmy days might enjoy the glittering oasis of courtyard instead. While the theme may harken back to a more languid and indulgent time of old, the vibe is trendy and young. In fact, the people watching is almost as good as the décor itself. Visitors and chic locals form a chatting buzz that adds and energy to evening and tables accommodate romantic dinner dates just as well as they do large, laughter-filled celebrations.

Either way, once you’ve had a wander through the unfurling and ever-changing story that is the house, take a seat and ready yourself for a feast of a more gastronomic nature.

The Drinks
Whether you’re looking for an impressive wine list or the perfectly crafted cocktail, Kloof Street House delivers on both. Try an exotic take on your favourite or something entirely novel. We loved the Earl of Kloof – a glamorous blend of Tanqueray gin, orange marmalade and Earl Grey tea syrup livened by soda and lemon juice, but creations like The Tree of Life with vodka, fresh grapes, pressed apple and lime juice, torn basil and vanilla sugar look equally as moreish. Of course, they make a mean G&T and the usual classics, so if that’s more your bag, the bow-tied barmen have got you covered.

To accompany mains, you might want to consider moving onto the wines. Both their whites and reds proudly represent some of the best that the Western Cape offers with wines that hail from as near as Durbanville to as far as Elgin. If you’re starting with a light dish, try the Glenelly Chardonnay or Pecan Stream Chenin, or dive straight into the reds and order a glass of the Raka Biography Shiraz or Spice Route Pinotage (a grape varietal unique to South Africa).

In a nod to the old world, take the time to finish off in style. Indulge in a glass of port or perhaps freshen up with a pot of reviving herbal tea. We loved the chamomile blend, perfectly brewed and served in an Eastern style teapot.

The Food
Choosing a starter, main and dessert will prove to be your biggest hurdle here. The brasserie-style menu hits the nail on the head with Mediterranean-inspired dishes fused with the very best local ingredients. Looking for something a little lavish? Go for the oysters, served with a dressing of apple, cucumber and shallots or the pan-fried Patagonian calamari – the perfect portion to whet your appetite and awaken your taste buds for mains. But don’t miss the Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese salad. It’s a dish I’ve ordered every time I’ve visited, and after careful study, have concluded that it might be the greatest of all salads.

The herby leaves lightly dressed in a Shiraz balsamic vinegar meet the warmth of crumbed goat’s cheese and hearty depth of the roasted beets, all finished with a crunch of roasted seeds. It’s not something you’ll want to share, but having reluctantly done so, my partner agreed with my musings.

If you’re a fan of seafood you’re in good hands for mains. We’ve sampled the Kingklip, served with a delectable truffled cauliflower puree and garlicy butter. Salmon is also a strong contender. Lightly grilled on a bed of tender stem broccoli, it’s a solid option for those following a healthy diet. But the pièce de résistance must be the Bouillabaisse. The lip-smacking seafood stew combines line fish, salmon, prawns, calamari, mussels and clams in what can only be described as a party on a plate. This is served with garlic toast that you’ll need to mop up all the yummy juice. Of course, meat lovers and veggies are well taken care of too. The ostrich fillet is glorious, as is the lentil artichoke bake – elevated as it is by the soft topping of Chevin and avocado puree.

I did warn you about saving space for dessert. Even if you’re fit to burst (the Osso Buco or Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder might just do that to you), wait a bit and then order. Winter additions include Malva Pudding (a local bake akin to rich and warm sticky toffee pudding), but if there is only one thing you can order it should be the cheesecake. The texture is perfect, the salted caramel thick and the popcorn a fun addition to a pudding that will no doubt leave you enraptured.

Join in the Fun at the Kloof Street House Events
You certainly won’t be done exploring Kloof Street House’s many delights after just one visit so why not return for their Sunday Jazz brunch or the upcoming Christmas in July festivities that take place from 24-31 July! Then there’s the Winter Lunch Special – a set course menu that’s seriously great value.

Book at Kloof Street House

  • Whether you’re visiting for dinner, lunch or a special event, booking is essential. Book a seat online by visiting their very informative website, or by calling +27 21 423 4413.

Alternatively, you can email the team directly at info@kloofstreethouse.co.za.

Blog post by: Tarah Darge

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