The Legendary Van Hunks

In Cape Town’s City Bowl you will find the eclectic Kloof street, home to many exquisite restaurants, pubs and a scattering of curio stores. Van Hunks resides on this street where Kloof meets Upper Union. The quaint restaurant is the namesake of a retired pirate in the tale of how Table Mountain got its cloud.

The legendary folk-tale tells of Jan Van Hunks, a Dutch pirate who settled at the foot of the mountain in the early 1700s. Jan was a frequent smoker and his wife eventually forced him to leave the house and smoke his pipe outside. It was on one of these occasions that he met a tall mysterious man dressed in black. He was also smoking a pipe at the foot of the mountain and after engaging about how often they smoked, the man made a wager with Jan and the two men fell into a pipe-smoking duel. The smoke began to rise and cover the mountain and Jan had just about won the duel when his competitor was revealed to be the Devil himself. This is – according to legend – how Devil’s peak got its name.

Van Hunks has a spectacular view of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain as well as a wide selection of exceptional craft beer on tap, including the iconic Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale and the equally popular Fokof Lager. Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by a crackling fire and friendly staff in the charming lounge section with a rich bourgeois interior that is both warm and inviting. To the right of the reception area is a closed bar with large glass windows to conceal the smoke and noise without cutting off the ambience of the restaurant. A charming indoor seating area leads out to the much larger and welcoming outdoor deck – a section often used for large functions that flows through to the smoking area overlooking the nightlife in Kloof.

There are almost too many specials to mention but the most appealing would have to be the lunch specials from Mondays to Saturdays between 11.30am and 3pm. One may select 2 meals on the daily lunch menu for R90 or have a single meal for R60. Monday brings the R40 pizza special and the Tuesday rib special is highly recommended by regulars who commend the quality and tenderness of the slow-roasted pork belly ribs served with chips and onion rings. The 500g rib portion comes at R120 and the 250g at a surprisingly low R80.

For those out to have a good night, you can take advantage of the 2-for-1 Tequila special during the daily Happy Hour from 5pm to 7pm. The menu has a wide variety of wines, including some viognier, chenin and malbec and beer lovers are spoilt for choice with Jack Black and CBC draughts on tap and a range of interesting ales and beers from all over the world – even some local ale such as the Long Beach Green Room pale ale from Noordhoek and Sxollie, a local cider fermented like a wine with apples from the Elgin Valley.

Enjoy incredible cuisine, craft beer and a wonderful atmosphere down at Van Hunks and watch the Tablecloth settle on the mountain from the deck.

Contact Details:
021 422 5422
info@vanhunks.co.za
vanhunks.co.za

3 great local breweries to visit for craft beer tastings

While you’ll find top-notch craft beer at bars and restaurants across Cape Town, it’s always cool to go to the source for a beer tasting at a local craft brewery. Lucy Corne, a respected beer judge and author of South African beer guide Beer Safari, shares a few of her favourites.

The Taproom at the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company is the go-to for craft brewers, because the beer is good, the food is good and it’s a very cool space. It ticks all the boxes. They’re always open and they have food available.

The Riot Factory at The Palms Centre in Woodstock is also very good, but they’re not open very often.

Another good venue in Woodstock is the Brewer’s Co-Op, which was started by about 15 brewers who all clubbed together and bought the brewing equipment.

The brewers have a schedule where they can each use the facilities to brew their own beers, and they’re all available on tap, so there are loads and loads of beers to try.

You can expect up to 20 beers at a time, and because they really just want people to sample their beer they keep it really affordable.

5 of the best burgers in Cape Town

Whether you’re nursing a hangover or just getting the evening started, it’s hard to beat an old-school hamburger done right. These five Cape Town burger bars won’t disappoint.

1. Royale Eatery

Ask a local Capetonian where they had their first gourmet burger and chances are it’ll be Royale Eatery in Long Street, the party strip of Cape Town’s city centre. Arguably the pioneer of the top-notch patty, Royale’s menu stretches to more than 50 different burgers and there’s a nice buzz to the place. It’s really top notch, but is it the best burger in Cape Town? Maybe not any more, some may argue…

2. IYO Burgers

A strong contender for the title of best burger in Cape Town can be found up the road on Bree Street. Halfway down this hipster highway, IYO Burgers combines a superb burger with a sustainable ethos. Their meat comes from free-range grass-fed beef, the potatoes are organic and the vegetables are locally sourced. To top it off, the burgers are superb.

3. The Taproom

There are few better food pairings than a cold beer and a hot burger, and the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company in Salt River does both rather well. The Taproom offers all eight of the Devil’s Peak beers on draught, plus a few specialty beers on the side, while their burger is a generous patty topped with melted emmenthaler cheese. Also look out for their burger specials on Tuesday evenings.

4. Redemption

Just down the road in Woodstock’s trendy Old Biscuit Mill precinct you’ll find another firm favourite. Redemption is about the size of a large broom cupboard, but that doesn’t stop them from whipping together a fantastic burger and bun. The sesame-topped roll is stuffed with a thick juicy patty topped with grilled cheese and – wait for it – a crispy deep-fried onion ring. There’s a chicken burger on offer too, but the beef is your best bet. There’s a good range of craft beers on tap, too.

5. The Dog’s Bollocks

Last but not least, there’s a local secret you should know about. It’s hard to find, it’s low on frills and the owner’s pretty grumpy. The upshot? The Dog’s Bollocks offers burgers that are, well, the name says it all. Open from 17h00, The Dog’s Bollocks dishes up enormous burgers and crispy fries in a cosy, quirky yard off Roodehek Street in the suburb of Gardens. Bring cash and a sense of humour and you won’t be disappointed.

Cape Town’s classic craft beer: what to take your first sips of

You’ve landed in Cape Town, the sun is shining and you’re dying for a taste of Cape Town’s craft beer — beer produced by small, independent breweries. But where to start amid the many local craft brews? Lucy Corne, a respected beer judge known as the “the Brewmistress of Cape Town”, points you in the right direction.

The classic craft beer in Cape Town? It’s hardly an original answer, but I’d say you’d have to start with the King’s Blockhouse IPA (India Pale Ale) from the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company.

It’s not really a South African style of beer — it’s an American-style IPA — but it has won lots of awards and was really the first heavily-hopped American-style beer brewed in South Africa. It’s not a beer for first-timers, but it’s a really great IPA.

Another great beer to try is the Jack Black lager. It wasn’t the first craft beer in South Africa, but I’d say it was instrumental in launching the craft beer scene in the country. South Africa is a country of lager lovers, so it’s very much a South African beer too.

Craft beer comes to Franschhoek

The Franschhoek valley is famous for its French cuisine and fine wines, but a craft brewery with Asian owners and a Mexican bent is breaking all the rules.

Franschhoek is about wine. Any tourist knows that. And if your day of meandering through genteel estates ends at a cosy French bistro lifted from the streets of Paris? Well, so much the better. It’s a tried and trusted recipe in this scenic winelands valley an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

But Tuk Tuk Microbrewery is hoping to spice up that recipe a little. Craft breweries are all the rage in Cape Town right now, but this is the first in a valley more famous for its pinot noir than its pale ale.

Part of the acclaimed Leeu Collection, which includes the superb boutique hotels Le Quartier Francaise and Leeu House, Tuk Tuk will soon start turning out its own range of craft beers from a state-of-the-art microbrewery. Beers are brewed using spring water from the nearby Leeu Estates’ mountain spring, local and imported hops and malts and bespoke cultured yeasts.

“The choice of ingredients is the first step to creating exceptional craft beer,” says Dewald Goosen, brewmaster at Tuk Tuk. Goosen started brewing at home, before cutting his teeth amid the tanks of Woodstock Brewery and Cape Brewing Company (CBC).

“Tuk Tuk is a very nice little brewery on steroids, especially when it comes to technological advances and energy savings,” adds Goosen, who plans to release a Lager, Weiss, Dunkel and Pale Ale.

While the Tuk Tuk brews are maturing quietly in their steel tanks, the brewery will be serving up a range of CBC beers; a perfect match for the delicious taco offering.

Yup, there’s no Frenchified food on offer here: the taqueria alongside dishes up beer-friendly Mexican fare. Think spicy tacos, fresh ceviche and cheesy nachos all whipped up by Leeu Estates’ Executive Chef Oliver Cattermole.

Fancy a glass of light Sauvignon? No thanks, make mine a lager…

Darling Brew: beers with the flavour of Africa in every bottle

Surrounded by the rolling wheat fields and vineyards of the Swartland district an hour north of Cape Town, Darling Brew produces a compact range of delicious craft beers.

What’s in a name? Plenty, when it comes to the craft beers from Darling Brew in the quaint winelands town of Darling.

The Darling “Slow Beer” is the first that will catch your eye. A rich, golden lager that is best served well chilled on a hot Cape Town afternoon, it is crisp, bitter and refreshing. Drink it slowly, and then reach for another.

The Darling Brew beers embrace their African roots in each and every bottle, with the “Silverback” an innovative black wheat beer that pay homage to the shy African honey badger; rarely sighted, but extremely rewarding for those patient enough to find one. Not unlike the beer.

The Native Ale offers a beer that bursts with spicy richness, but far and away the highlight is the Bonecrusher wheat beer. This bottle-conditioned (no artificial carbonation) beer has all the fragrant sweetness of a traditional wheat beer and is ideal for a session in the summer sun.

The bottle-conditioned Black Mist is also superb; an inky-black ale inspired by the Verreaux’s Eagles that you may see soaring above Darling Brew taproom.

Speaking of which, the sleek Slow Quarter taproom makes a welcome change from the local wine estates and offers a good range of light meals alongside the full range of Darling Brew beers on tap.

Drop in for a drink with the Devil at this top craft brewery

Few craft breweries in Cape Town have built a following as loyal as the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company in up-and-coming Salt River. Here’s why…

It’s fitting that the view through the towering picture windows at the Devil’s Peak Taproom, in the gritty suburb of Salt River on the border of the Cape Town’s city’s centre, is the sandstone bulk of the mountain that lent its name to (arguably) the most successful craft brewery in Cape Town.

The head brewer at Devil’s Peak Brewing Company, JC Steyn, spent almost a decade making wine in the vineyards of Stellenbosch (a 20-minute drive from the city), before swapping merlot for malt in 2013, and beer-lovers are all the better for it.

Steyn has crafted a remarkable range of beers under Devil’s Peak’s eye-catching labels. Although their beers are available at leading liquor stores and restaurants, the Taproom is the best place to have a taste of the brews, with both their Founders and Explorers Series on tap here. The former includes the much-loved India Pale Ale and Amber Ale, while the Explorers varies according to what’s come out of the tanks that week. Look out for the double-hopped Imperial IPA.

If you’re lucky they’ll also have their barrel-matured “Vannie Hout” on offer, or perhaps the wine-beer hybrid Vin de Saison, made with one-fifth Chenin Blanc from the Swartland wine region.

The Taproom also dishes up superb beer-friendly food, with the pulled pork sandwich and gourmet burger legendary amongst local beer-lovers.

Easy beer tasting routes in and around Cape Town

With the craft beer trend in full swing across Cape Town, the range of small-scale breweries makes it easy to string together a beer route just for you, says Lucy Corne, a respected beer judge and author of South African beer guide Beer Safari.

If you have wheels then you shouldn’t be drinking, which makes the suburb of Woodstock a great option. You can walk between the breweries in Woodstock, with most of them contained within a three-kilometre stretch. There’s the Riot Brewery, the Brewers Co-Op and of course the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company and its Taproom.

If you have a designated driver, the beer route along the N1 freeway outside of Cape Town is another option.

Wild Clover, next to the Villiera wine estate in Stellenbosch (a 20-minute drive from the city centre), is amazing for families. Wild Clover has a ball-pool and a castle and a petting farm, while for older kids they have mountain bikes and cycling trails.

The Wagon Trail Brewery at Anura Vineyards is also nearby and has a very cool American brewpub vibe. From here you can also hop over to the Cape Brewing Company (CBC) on the Spice Route Estate, which is also a very family-friendly venue.

Find your favourite flavour at Spice Route in the Cape winelands

Beer. Chocolate. Even grappa. You’ll find a unique combination of artisanal products – and great wine – at The Spice Route estate in Paarl, a 40-minute drive from Cape Town.

Many estates in the winelands around Cape Town focus on one product: wine. Spice Route, however, goes further to become a one-stop shop for a range of goods from wine to beer, chocolate and more.

The reason it works so well is that great care has been taken in the selection of a range of artisanal producers whose produce perfectly complements the wine.

First and foremost, Spice Route is well worth visiting for the wine alone. The brainchild of Charles Back, owner of neighbouring estate Fairview, Spice Route was one of the first wineries to make use of the older vineyards of the Swartland wine region north of Cape Town. The result is a range of superb wines that will remind wine lovers of the Rhone valley and Languedoc. Their Mourvedre and Grenache are superb, as is the Rhone-style blend, Chakalaka.

Once you’ve sipped and swirled your way through a wine tasting it’s essential to explore the rest of the estate. Bean-to-bar chocolate-maker Pieter de Villiers moved his small facility from Hermanus to Spice Route in early 2012 and today turns out wonderful artisan chocolates. Your best option here is a guided tasting, where you’ll sample their 70% single-origin bars made with beans from Trinidad, Uganda and Madagascar.

Down the hill you’ll find the Wilderer Distillery, where you can taste the delicious range of grappa and fruit spirits from Master Distiller Helmut Wilderer. Alongside the distillery, their casual La Grapparia Restaurant offers wood-fired pizza, flammkuchen and tapas at rustic outdoor tables.

Lastly, don’t miss the Cape Brewing Company run by respected brewmaster Wolfgang Koedel. He brews up a range of excellent beers, including a pilsner, weiss and India Pale Ale. Enjoy a guided tasting in the brewery, or hop next door for  a beer and a bite at the Barley & Biltong brewpub.

Head to Muizenberg for dude food and beer with a sea view

There’s no shortage of fine dining and fancy food at Cape Town’s restaurants, but when all you want is beer and a great burgerwith a sea view to boot, head straight for Tiger’s Milk in Muizenberg.

Dude food and beer. That’s what Tiger’s Milk is all about, says owner Michael Townsend, one of the most successful restaurateurs in Cape Town. Boasting superb views of the family-friendly Muizenberg beach, Tiger’s Milk is immensely popular with locals who pull in for a great burger and a cold beer after a surf in the sea at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg, a 40-minute drive from the city centre.

If you’re feeling hungry after all that paddling, don’t be shy to tuck in to the generous starters: think peri-peri prawns, mussels drowned in garlic and wine, and sweet and smoky barbecue ribs.

The main courses also don’t mess about. Large steaks win the day here, with plenty of prime cuts at very good prices. The peri-peri baby chicken is also excellent, as are the wood-fired pizzas. Then there’s the beer, with a selection of local craft beers on tap.

While the burgers are excellent and the beers cold, the final feather in the cap of Tiger’s Milk is that it’s a pretty sexy space too. A vintage BMW motorbike bolted to the wall sets the scene for a space that feels rather masculine with its leather couches and exposed metal beams; a good fit for that dude food.

Grab a seat at one of the long communal wooden tables or – if you’re early enough – the window-front counter where panoramic sea views make a fine backdrop for a damn fine burger.