On Easter Sunday I had my (Dutch) parents over for a visit. Sadly enough most shops were closed, so we were forced to spend our day in the Mauerpark and occupy ourselves with a bit of neighbourhood sightseeing. The climax of the weekend, the one moment that we had all been looking forward to, was going to be the ‚big‘ dinner. We were going go to hit a fabulous restaurant. And with my long list and extensive experience in the Berlin cuisine, I was easily tempted to drag them to one of my favourite haunts. But then again, eating at a new restaurant might provide a fantastic experience and blog. So, I managed to lure my parental units to a restaurant once recommended by my boss, the South-African Cape Town on the Schönfließer Straße in Prenzlauer Berg, around the corner from my house. Since the Netherlands used to own parts of South-Africa in the colonial days one of the reigning languages is still Afrikaans (a mixture of Dutch, Zulu and all other languages present in South-Africa). During my studies as a Dutch language and culture major, I used to study and read quite a bit of Afrikaanse literatuur, which might explain my fascination with this country.
Have You Always Wanted to Eat Crocodile, Zebra and Wildebeast?
Generally, I do not eat that much meat. But whenever I go out to dinner, I might be tempted to order a nice steak once in a while. My mother is not that much of an adventourous eater (it took her a bit of convincing to get her into the restaurant), but my father and I are always willing to give something new a try. Firstly, we ordered a mix starter plate with bobotie (South-African meatloaf), fried chicken sticks, little meatrolls, gamba’s, samosas, fruit and three exciting sauces. This in itself already was half a meal in itself, especially in combination with the tasteful dark bread that was served as an complimentary appetizer. The starter even convinced my mother that this restaurant was the right choice for our Easter dinner.
She then quickly made up her mind to order a burger, as she likes ordering food that she is familiar with. My father then suggested he and I share a Cape Town Plate, which consists of a selection of zebra, gnu, springbock, crocodile and ostrich steaks for two people. Of course I said yes, all excited about tasting these exotic animals. Unfortunately, they were out of the crocodile (apparently April is not the crocodile season) and we got the opportunity to choose other animals in its place. To supplement our dinner, we chose a very nice Merlot and before we knew it, the sipping had lead to the moment of truth. We received a large dish filled with 10 small steaks, on a bed of rice, beans and potatoes and of course accompanied by three different dips. The zebra has the most peculiar – yet very nice – taste. Not quite like a normal steak or anything I have ever eaten before, it has the most surprising secondary flavour. The gnu almost melted in my mouth, it was very tender. And the ostrich – a familiar and favourite of mine – was fabulous. At the end of the meal, I was barely able to walk. We were all so full, we sadly did not order a dessert. However, they do offer a great choice of sweets: ranging from white chocolate mousse to dessert cheeses. Needless to say, I was very thankful for the close vicinity to my house.
Update (August 2010)
I was lucky enough to be invited to a Cape Town dinner last week and this time I went for a gnu steak. I enjoyed 200 grams of absolutely scrumptious meat, with sweet potatoe and green beans. It sounds simple, but it was once more one of the best dishes I have ever eaten! For anyone who likes to eat (adventurous) meat: I really 100% recommend Cape Town!
Update (June 2011)
Still Cape-Town remains one of my most beloved restaurants. The meat is simply fantastic and makes you come back for more.
What makes this restaurant fabulous:
- The atmosphere. It is officially a restaurant and lounge, which you notice immediately when entering. The music is nice and relaxing and the smallness of the restaurant, together with its location in the middle of a residential area make for some comfortable dining.
- The food. If you’re up for an exciting or refreshing meal, something that is not sushi, Asian food or a Bratwurst – you should definitely give the food here a try.
- The staff. On that Sunday evening there was only one charming man taking care of all customers. He was friendly, polite and the lack of five chaotic collegues running around only added to the atmosphere.
What makes this restaurant less fabulous:
- Well, you might have seen this one coming: the prices. It is definitely a bit more of an expensive and up-scale restaurant. Still very afforable, but not the place to go when you need to cut down on your costs. The Cape Town plate, with five different small steaks costs 20 euros per person and a glass of decent wine you can get at 3,50 and upwards. A vegetarian dish, then again, you can get for less than 10 euros.
How to get there?
Schönfließer Straße 15
030 400 576-58