Friday, 14 April 2017

South Africa with a Toddler - Cape Town -Part I

The final holiday for us in 2016 was to the spectacular Cape Town and garden route in South Africa. We visited at the end of November, just as the UK begins to brace itself for winter, Cape Town wakes up to begins its summer, was lovely to fly out of Heathrow on a cold, wet and dreary Saturday to arrive to perfect blue skies on the Sunday. 




Day 1 - London Heathrow - Cape Town 

We flew out of Heathrow with one of my favourite airlines British Airways, check in was smooth as always, I tried my luck with upgrade, still never had a success but I remain in hope.
We then spent the majority of the time in the lounge which had a pretty decent selection of both hot and cold food, Mr S though did pop out for a chicken salad as he found the offering far too carb heavy. As we proceeded to the gate to board the flight, BA excelled yet again with their customer service, before even announcing for those travelling with young families to come forward several of their representatives spent a few moments to go up to the families and let them know they were ready to board whenever they were. The young lady also helped me with my hand luggage and newly accuriqued trunki whilst Mr S tried to convince Bubs it was time to stop climbing on all the furniture and board a plane for twelve hours. 

Unfortunately on our flight the in-flight entertainment was not working, not the best start but it was a night flight so we all tried to get as much sleep as we could. It was also Bubs first time having his own plane meal and although he had already eaten his dinner he enjoyed picking at the selection and having a giant chocolate cake slice for desert. Luckily this did not affect his sleep and he was knocked out for most of the flight only waking just before breakfast was served. 

Day 2 - Cape Town - The Taj 


After leaving the airport we proceed to pick up our first ever hire car, a Kia Rio, a process that was slightly delayed by Mr S forgetting his pin number. At least this time he brought a wallet, on our honeymoon he managed to forget his wallet in England. Although I had tried to pack light for Cape Town we still had three medium sized, hand luggage and a collapsible pushchair and no way did I think it would fit into the car but the boot space was amazing and everything managed to be squeezed into the boot. Obstacle 1 - complete, obstacle 2 - fitting a car seat however did not go so well so I ended up just holding Bubs for the 20 min journey into the central of Cape Town to check into the Taj

Although we had arrived before the check in time, the Taj could not have been more accommodating and helpful, with a full valet parking service and an amazing little gift bag for Bubs which included a cuddly rhino to add to his ever growing animal collection. He is really into animal stuffed toys and has a really cool collection now from around the globe. The hotel and room were stunning, colonial luxury that made you feel like climbing into bed, however the sunshine outside was a bigger pull so after a quick shower we all headed out for sunday brunch. 
              


Deer Park Cafe

Our first stop on our culinary adventure for this holiday was the Deer Park Cafe, a local hotspot that we managed to luckily get the last table for lunch at, it was filled with lots of locals enjoying sunday with the family. Nestled under Table Top Mountain with a small children play area and park attached it was the perfect place to refuel and relax. 

To start with we both ordered some of their fresh juices to get our immune systems a boast after the journey in, Mr S had an Orange, ginger, spinach and mint version whereas I played it safe with just orange juice. Bubs by this point had fallen fast asleep so we took as a chance to enjoy our food whilst he napped away. 


For mains I enjoyed the Falafel Salad and Mr S had a special of Thai Beef Noodle Salad, I also could not resist a portion of chips on the side. For Bubs we ordered Mac and Cheese and a delicious chocolate milkshake. 


Falafel Salad
Beef Salad
The best part of our meal however was one of the most delicious, moist chocolate brandy cakes I have ever eaten. We asked the owner to recommend one from the various beauties on display and I am so glad we did. Even though it was a large slice it was really light and just disappeared before we even took a sip of our coffees. 




After lunch we continued our day and to make the most of the spectacular clear skies we drove straight to Table Top Mountain. We parked up at the the Aerial Cableway and encountered our first parking attendant too. Mr S had done a little bit of reading and its common on South Africa to have unofficial parking attendants to help you find a spot and look after your car, provide a little bit of chat about the local area etc in exchange for a small tip. A lot more friendly than putting your change into machine for sure. Tickets to go up the cableway cost around £14 pounds return for an adult and under 4's are free, you can also climb up if you are feeling rather energetic. 
Using the TomTom for directions to TableTop


The journey up the mountain was one of the scariest cablecars I have ever been on, with two of the four sides being left open and a 360 degree turning car at times it felt like we would go face first into the side of the mountain. Also not sure how many health and safety regulations were being broken by having such a large opening, despite being rather afraid the views were breath taking.

View from the bottom of the cableway


Table Top mountain derives its name from the flat surface at the top rather than a peak like most. The nail bitting journey to the top was however worth it once we arrived to see the views at the top of this unique mountain. One thing to note however is it is not very child friendly, with hardly any safety measures or barriers at the edge of the view points. Me and Bubs did soon have to retreat to the cafe for an ice - cream, firstly to escape the heat and secondly because I couldn't keep up with him. He is also a fully fledged toddler so there is no stopping now when he wants to find adventures, which I am normally fine with but not when the adventure is on the edge of a mountain.

We soon headed back to the hotel to relax and freshen up before our evening meal at Bombay Brasserie, the Tajs in house indian restaurant.



We enjoyed a lovely meal of a mixed kebab platter to start, followed by black lentils and a lamb shank curry. All the food was cooked perfectly and it provided the perfect level of comfort after a long flight and day sightseeing. The actual restaurant is beautiful with individually embroidered chairs and wall hangings providing a very opulent settings. With our full bellies we all had an early night before starting our day 2 adventures. 

Kebab Platter for Two
Amuse Bouche - Dhai Puri
Lamb Shank Curry 
   
Black Lentils
Curry, Dhal and Mint Paratha 
Palate cleansing Sorbet

Day Three - Cape Town 

After a filling breakfast at the Taj (who have a separate kids selection of sugar laden treats like  glittered doughnuts) we sent off for a day of exploring central Cape Town, our hotel was in a great location meaning we were able to start the day early by visiting the Greenmarket Square just behind us. Bubs has been collecting keyring from all the countries he visits and this was a great chance to pick up a beaded hippo after some great negotiating skills by Mr S, it ended up being worth every penny as he was attached to it for the whole holiday. 


We then walked down and spent the rest of the morning in the colourful BoKapp area, an icon part of Cape Town easily recognised by the pastel coloured houses that line the streets. Historically this is one of the only areas that remained unaffected by housing moves during the apartheid. 


For lunch we enjoyed a delicious set tapas menu at Chefs Warehouse, we were lucky enough to get a table outside next to their resident dog Bailey who kept Bubs entertained  throughout the meal. The restaurant is attached to a bookshop containing lots of recipe books, kitchen equipment and food items to take home too. 











Deep Fried Squid
Tuna Tartare

Yellowtail



Our first round of starters consisted of crispy deep fried squid served with pork, yellowtail sashimi and tuna tartare.




Round two was a very moreish homemade ricotta served with a pea risotto, the ricotta and squid were some of my favourite dishes






Round three consisted of a lamb rum, version and kingklip fish, by this point we were both very full but had enjoyed every mouthful.
For desert we enjoyed a refreshing coconut and mango desert, the perfect touch to end lunch.


To try and work off some of those calories we went for a long walk around Company Garden which helped Bubs dose off in his pushchair and provide us with the perfect excuse to indulge again in coffee and cake. 


Lemon Meringue Pie
Flat White


As if we had not eaten enough that day we later headed down to The Butcher Shop and Grill for dinner. Beforehand though Bubs enjoyed having a run around the Mouille Point Adventure Playground. The Butcher Shop combines a full restaurant along with a shop and full butchery counter, letting you see all the cuts of meat and fish available before ordering, you can also take these home to cook yourself. A very reasonable priced steak restaurant of exceptional quality.
To begin with we shared some delicious warm bread that was served with butter and sausages, Bubs ordered a chicken kebab and chips of the kids menu, whilst we made a start on the delicious bottle of red recommended to us. On a side note I did pre make reservations at most of the restaurants we dined at during the trip which I would advise as they do get busy, this was a monday evening and by the time we left there was not an empty seat left.



Chicken Kebabs Kids Meal 
T-Bone with peppercorn 

Fillet Steak



Chillies, Mustard and Ketchup


Chocolate Fudge Cake 

After another food filled day we headed home to catch some sleep before our eight hour drive on Day Four.


Part IV - Hout Bay















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