This week I fell in love with Chalk & Cork. No, it’s not the latest menu category on Pinterest – it’s Kloof Street’s newest little eatery, a darling two-storey haven on the busy Rheede Street corner. It’s owned by Marc and Amy Botes, with chef Mandie Kruger in the kitchen.
The unseasonably sunny weekend saw the tables in the tree-lined courtyard packed with Capetonians taking advantage of a new spot to enjoy a quality alfresco brunch (try the poached egg bruschetta, with portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and Parmesan). But when I visited for lunch on Tuesday, the rain had arrived, and we were forced indoors.
‘Forced’ may be too strong a word, because the second floor of this adorable spot was actually more than inviting. Light wooden tables, white walls and contemporary art (all for sale) take the space from attic to airy. Fat rain drops were sliding down the skylights, making us feel very cosy inside indeed, but come summer this will be a wonderfully sun-drenched little bolt-hole for a quick working lunch or intimate meal with friends.
The menu takes some perusing, let me tell you. Fresh mussels in paprika cream? Sirloin with bone marrow and gremolata? Ricotta salad with avo, rocket, tomato, pear and pecan nuts? The flavours practically leap off the page at you. A blackboard menu of small plates offers lighter nibbles along the lines of fresh burrata with salsa verde and arancini (fried rice balls) with red pepper aioli.
In the end, my lunch date and I settled on wonderfully fluffy potato gnocchi with roasted vegetables and a perfectly thin-crust cauliflower-base pizza with salami and fresh basil (Tim Noakes has been haunting me this week). If you’re not heading back to the office (worst luck) you can wash all that down with a glass of bubbles, prosecco, local wine or craft beer from the well-rounded list.
Or you could do as I did, and throw dietary caution to the wind with the flourless chocolate cake, a deliciously rich, dense affair I’ll be returning for again and again.
For a comprehensive guide to Cape Town’s eateries, download the Cape Town Etc app for iOS here.
Where 51 Kloof Street, Gardens
Trading hours Monday to Wednesday 9 am – 6 pm, Thursday to Saturday 9 am – 10 pm
Cost Average main course R85
Contact +27 21 422 5822, www.chalkandcork.co.za
Photography Jade Cooke, courtesy