Resident ghost Elsa Cloete must be beaming with pride in her newly renovated corner, a far cry from the style of the 1800s when she lived in Hout Bay on the very same property.
Almost everything has changed since the first farm was established in the 1670s at Kronendal in Hout Bay. The surrounding area is now residential and developed. More change came when the very same building was declared a National Monument in 1961 and decades later was turned into an Asian restaurant called Kitima. When time was called on the eatery, it stood vacant for two years until new life was breathed into it at the end of 2019.
Now it is home to international brand Deus Ex Machina’s first African franchise in Cape Town at The Homestead of Perpetuity. It is a mix of many things and has something for everyone. When you step inside, you can’t not feel overwhelmed by how they have transformed the space. There’s a little art, some music, muscle motorbikes, ice-cold beers, delicious food and everything in between. It’s a space designed for friends, families, lovers and loners.
According to Lauren Burlingham, Head of Marketing for Deus ex Machina Africa, they have a plethora of offerings in store for visitors.
“At the Homestead we trade in all that is Deus at the restaurant, serving elegantly crafted local dishes at the café, beside retail space and the vinyl room. Throw in some cooking live sets from local DJs and sometimes obscure artists and we are perpetually smiling,” she said.
The one constant, however, is Elsa Cloete. Legend has it that between 1835 and 1849 the Kronendal Farm was owned by Sir Abraham Josias Cloete. According to the tale, Elsa died of a broken heart because she was forbidden to marry her soldier lover. To this day, she still waits for him, and many have seen her by the window searching the dark in anticipation of his return. As a sign of respect to the legend, they will be designing and making a custom surfboard dedicated to Elsa and her lover.
Her corner has been updated to fit into the new surroundings, no doubt Elsa appreciates the effort made for her comfort.
You have to appreciate how brands evolve and incorporate more in their offering to encourage diverse patrons. Settle into the comfortable vinyl lounge and indulge in the slick sounds of a bygone era while sipping on a cocktail, coffee or beer. Or how about a spot of shopping at the store with merchandise from the global Deus Ex Machina brand.
The decor throughout is a mix of dark and light wood and leather, potted plants and down-lit charm. There are contrasting chandeliers in some rooms to add a touch of class. The design focuses on widening spaces and making the pockets of areas in and around the building seem brighter and bigger – and they have accomplished this cleverly. Whether you opt to sit at the bar or outside in the courtyard, you are left wondering if this is the same space you’ve been to before. The transformation is so complete, it leaves you a little baffled, in a good way.
The menu at the Deus Café is a mix of light, bite-size and more substantial meals. A waiter hurried a pizza past our table and the wafting smells were a dead giveaway that good food was on the horizon.
The chicken wings on the starter menu is a must-try. We polished off the first one and ordered another. They are crispy and crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Unlike most chicken wings, which are devoid of flavour, these were seriously good. You can easily tell a good chef when the simplest dishes are outstanding.
I ordered a salmon poké bowl as a main meal and it didn’t disappoint. The fish was fresh and the veggies crisp. The black rice brought the flavours together masterfully and although it seems like an indulgence, the best part is that it is healthy for you.
For dessert, the apple crumble with vanilla ice-cream soothed the heat away. It was crumbly, sweet, soft and delightful. They have three weekly events to change things up, Taco Tuesday, OK Friday and Sunday Sessions.
Having little space to manoeuvre because of its heritage status, they have carefully thought about how to open up the area. Rooms inside the building are perfect for private functions or candlelit dinners. The courtyard area is a favourite, for the outdoor vibe. And if you’re not in the mood to stay a while you can visit the bakery for a quick fix of your favourite pastries and quiches.
Their local shaper Anton Butler is situated at the Homestead to create boards shaped with local and world-class breaks in mind. Their custom bikes will be crafted by Stoos Customs in the very same space too. Ken at the Bay Barber Company is their resident barber and there is even a Crossfit onsite to keep fit.
It’s an all-in-one solution for your weekend. Catch some rays, do some shopping, grab some grub and wash it down with a cocktail or beer and most importantly… relax. If you’re really lucky you might stumble upon Elsa, who without a doubt is enjoying her new space.
Contact: +27 21 569 0625
Address: 140 Main Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes