I miss good coffee. I miss the way the room suddenly fills with the sweet aroma of brewing coffee from an espresso machine first thing in the morning. I even miss the time and effort that goes into preparing a good cup of coffee, and the appreciation you feel when you take that first sip and your eyes are pulled apart a little more.
For the last four weeks I’ve been subjected to the sweet hell of drinking Nescafé instant to wake me up each morning. With the odd exception of enjoying a freshly ground Americano at a local restaurant, this ‘Coffee-Gate’ is slowly taking its toll. I’ve been tempted to purchase a coffee press to improve these terrible living conditions, but then I remind myself that I don’t have any form of regular income and that decent coffee is now a luxury I just cannot afford to indulge in.
Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that this post is not going to be consumed with my caffeine afflictions. I was inspired to write about the wonderful food and drink I’ve been experiencing while in South Africa after a delicious meal last night. Myself and some of the girls I live with decided to have a more low-key Saturday evening than we’ve had in previous weeks and headed over to Noordhoek in search of good food.
We arrived at this delightful little place called The Farm Village Noordhoek, which is a collection of restaurants, bars and shops in one of the most serene of settings I’ve encountered in our surrounding area. After deliberating over where to eat and getting turned away a few times to the tune of ‘fully booked’ we settled on a pub called The Toad, where we were seated on the outside terrace upstairs.
I ordered the fillet steak, cooked medium with peppercorn sauce, served with chips, onion rings & two glasses of Steenberg Cabernet Sauvignon thank you very much. Annie went for the sirloin, and the three other girls had burgers, all of which looked incredible. We were so hungry that we even ordered a couple of garlic pitas and some calamari rings to start. It was a wonderful evening of good food, great wine and sharing stories with each other into the night. The only down-side really was our attempt to find our Uber driver where I made the bad decision to lead the group down a dark wooded lane to what I assumed was the pickup location. Lesson learned: wait for the Uber driver to find YOU.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed a good old fashioned steak and chips last night, a true favourite of mine since living by the ocean here in Cape Town is the seafood. I had the pleasure of trying queen prawns at a restaurant called Barracudas in Fish Hoek (see picture), served as part of a seafood platter with calamari rings, fillet of hake and fresh muscles in a creamy white wine sauce. And after our trip to the Cape of Good Hope a few weeks back, we stopped off at a restaurant called Harbour View in Simon’s Town for a seriously much appreciated pint of Castle lager and a seafood platter. I can still taste those prawns now as I cast my mind back.
In terms of cooking for myself, I’ve made the odd stir-fry, jacket potato or chicken & rice dish, but to be quite honest it seems a lot cheaper to eat out over here. I tend to fend for myself for lunch during the week, as I’m not really eating a lot during the heat of the day anyway. But take last night for example, I had a pretty large fillet steak meal, two large glasses of red wine and two shared starters and contributed R300 to the bill. That’s about the equivalent of £18.50 in the UK and I’m sure you’ll have a hard time getting the same amount of food and drink at the same quality anywhere back home for that price.
During the week it’s really interesting to see what Bondu (the resident chef at the crèche) cooks up for the kids on a daily basis. She must have a fondness for us volunteers since recently she leaves a large plate for the three of us to share after the kids have all eaten. It’s usually a rice or bean dish with chicken or fish and it’s always incredibly tasty. What’s most profound is how generous she is to provide us with a plate in the first place, as there are 72 hungry mouths to feed at the crèche without our own taken into consideration, and I’m sure it’s no cheap or easy feat to provide for these children five days a week. Another example of that community spirit ever present at Masi I mentioned in an earlier post.
So in short, the food in South Africa is fantastic. I’m eating well and probably drinking too much. However I do balance that out with drinking nothing but water during the day (tip – the tap water is also completely safe to drink). Next on the list for me will be a wine-tasting at one of South Africa’s many famous vineyards. To be quite honest I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t already done so in the four weeks I’ve been here!