A taste of London’s gastro-pub fare in sunny Cape Town

One of the joys of travel is eating out with the locals. And if you’re looking for top-notch bistro fare on the fringes of the city’s nightlife district, head to the Black Sheep on trendy Kloof Street.

I love blackboard menus in restaurants. Scribbled up daily, and updated as the night wears on, it’s the mark of a restaurant that cares about each and every dish on the menu. Made fresh that day, using fresh ingredients; when it’s gone, it’s gone. Draw a line through it and move on.

That’s just the first reason to love Black Sheep, on the upper reaches of Cape Town’s trendy Kloof Street. The second is the wonderful food from chef Jonathan Japha.

Japha made his name at the small-plate restaurant Fork, in Long Street, but here offers dishes inspired by his time in the “gastro-pubs” of London.

While the menu changes daily, starters could include delicious bacon and calves’ liver pâté or classic steak tartare with crisp Melba toast. Hearty mains embrace the bistro approach, with the likes of roast rabbit loin wrapped in bacon, and stuffed lamb neck. Then there are the favourites locals simply won’t let him take off the menu: chicken breast rubbed with mustard and tarragon, and pork belly with hoisin and Chinese five-spice. Both are delicious.

Unusually for a bistro, vegetarians will also be happy here. Japha applies his considerable skills to concoct a wonderful range of meat-free meals that range from seasonal salad of heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil pesto to a signature lentil coconut curry with roasted butternut and grilled halloumi.

The menu is matched by a great selection of local wine estates, alongside a handful of good craft beers. As bistro food goes, Black Sheep ticks all the right boxes. Just be sure to book a table in advance; this restaurant is a very popular black sheep.

Eat, drink and be spoiled at the Cape’s Delaire Graff wine estate

You know you’re in for a treat from the very moment you drive up a luscious green lane lined with magnificent statues and trees…

The Delaire Graff Estate offers an experience in which all your senses will be stimulated. Nothing makes a better pairing with wine than food, art and beauty – and you will be able to enjoy the complete experience at this estate outside Stellenbosch.

Visually, the estate is an explosion of colour, nature and art. A must-see is the art collection, which recently acquired a fantastic new addition – Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic painting the ‘Chinese Girl’. Chairman of Graff Diamonds Laurence Graff acquired the piece, one of the most reproduced and recognisable paintings in the world, in March 2013.

Dotted around the estate and lining the walls are examples of some of the most fascinating art that South Africa has produced. South Africa’s diverse heritage is reflected in the art that can be viewed here: Lionel Smit’s African Woman in the Tasting Lounge echoes the subtle palette of the natural hues used in the sophisticated setting, while signature Dylan Lewis cheetahs grace the landscape. Works by Deborah Bell, Sidney Kumalo, Fred Schimmel, Durant Sihlali and Cecil Skotnes adorn the walls, while guests at the Lodge will particularly enjoy Stephane Graff and the intensity of Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi’s work.

The estate gardens are another visual wonder, landscaped by celebrity horticulturalist and multi gold-medal finalist at the Chelsea Flower Show, Keith Kirsten. Here you can walk amongst mostly indigenous plants, shrubs and trees, including milkwoods, yellowwoods and sneezewoods.

The luxury lodges on the estate – for those who want to spend more time in this fantasy world of art, wine and nature, are surrounded by scented hedges of camellia and swathes of coffee jasmine.

When all the senses are spoken to, hunger will still prevail – but even here the estate offers food and wine that will introduce you to a world of new taste experiences in one of their restaurants.

At the Delaire Graff Restaurant the style is “bistro chic” cuisine, which is organic, feel-good food infused with vibrant flavours. The dishes here are pure Africa on a plate, such as the beef tongue, served with pickled white asparagus, beef jam, brown butter and horseradish. There are also lamb neck, line fish and beef served with chargrilled vegetables, sweetbread ravioli and asparagus. The dishes here are pure Africa on a plate, such as the beef tongue, served with pickled white asparagus, beef jam, brown butter and horseradish.

Indochine serves Asian-inspired food, which can only be described as art on a plate. Here you can enjoy seared miso yellowtail, or sip a mussel and whelk laksa soup. Some main courses to delight in are Thai barbeque, cured salmon trout or curries made with line fish, lamb, beef and duck.

On the wine front, you won’t be disappointed. The estate has won several awards and there is a wine lounge where you can taste the Delaire Graff wine range while you enjoy beautiful views and a roaring fireplace in winter.

For longer stays and pampering treats, the estate has a luxury lodge and spa where you can unwind and relax.

La Belle: a good bakery with a great view of Camps Bay beach

Seafood and champagne are what you’d expect to enjoy at a terrace table with a gorgeous sea view, but at La Belle in the Atlantic seaside suburb of Camps Bay you’ll find a Cape Town bakery with a difference.

It’s a rare visitor that doesn’t fall in love with the Camps Bay strip, where white sands and palm trees evoke the glamour of Miami. But no, you’re in Cape Town, and one of the finest places to watch the world go by on this glitzy strip of tar and sand is from one of the terrace tables at La Belle, a stylish bakery and bistro.

Come evening the menu here offers bistro-style cuisine, but it’s during the day you’ll most want to visit. You’ll have a clear view of the sea, and this is one of the best places to grab a good coffee and freshly baked pastry on this side of the mountain.

The breakfast menu won’t set the world on fire – the ricotta hotcakes are about as adventurous as it gets here – but crowd-pleasers include a full English breakfast, and the ever-popular Eggs Benedict. No mind though, the fine views and fresh breads, cakes and pastries make up for the staple menu.

If you’d rather not indulge in tea or coffee, you could choose from a range of raw juices if you’re that way inclined. I’m not. I’ll have another flat white, thank you very much.