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  • Shelley Dark

13. Sparkling Cape Town

After our musical evening last night, we decided to sleep in this morning.

It meant foregoing our trip in the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, but here's a photo of sparkling Cape Town by my Noosa bridge partner John who very kindly emailed it to me so that you don't feel deprived! Both Helen and I felt we needed a little time to regroup. Lying in bed felt totally wicked and simply delicious.

We caught sight yesterday of the flower markets at Adderley Street, so that was our first stop this morning. It's an alleyway filled with flower sellers - just to make your heart sing!

I'll let the flowers do the talking....

I spied an Aussie flower among the perfumed stocks.

The vendors were happy to pose for photos.

As I made my way in behind some flowers towards this man, I heard a stall holder yelling at some vagrants who were just behind Helen. I didn't realise it, but Helen said that while the woman was begging from her, there were a couple of other quite bad-looking men eyeing off my phone. I was totally unaware of the situation, and they'd been hunted away before I turned back.

Before I did, though, this darling man holding the yellow roses put them down, motioned for me to wait, took his false teeth out of his pocket, and posed again. Very handsome! -:)

By now it was nearly lunch time, so we were off to the Neighbourgoods Market in an old biscuit mill in Woodstock, a stylish local meeting place on Saturdays. The stalls were all selling good quality products, from leather to clothing to curios, so we spent a little time browsing.

The local print shop has huge print capabilities, colourful murals on the walls. We both bought postcards and frig magnets here.

I didn't buy this poster, but liked the thought.

I fancied these scalloped ceramics but resisted temptation....

Don't you love the great hairdo?

We found our way to the lift which took us three storeys up to the Pot Luck Club and our lunch reservation, with sweeping views of the harbour and Table Mountain. It's owned by one of South Africa's most famous chefs, Luke Dale-Roberts. He also runs the more upmarket fine-dining Test Kitchen nearby.

We pondered the menu over a glass of the Graham Beck méthode Capclassique sparkling pinot noir chardonnay. It's really quite a yummy bubble!

Our waiter kindly wrote down three words for cheers!

The plate-sharing menu here is divided into salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (said to be the flavour of monsodium glutamate!).

It's recommended to choose 6-8 dishes, but we'd eaten a late breakfast. We chose these 4:


marinated olives

seafood tagine, saffron rouille, cauliflower and almond cous cous (it went down without a photo!)


beef tataki with Hoisin dressing, coriander pesto and ponzu mayo


crispy calamari with yuzu compressed apples, black sesame emulsion with fermented peanut-chilli dressing

All simply wonderful and not too filling.

The markets had closed and the afternoon was wearing on. Belgola was our Uber driver back to the V & A Waterfront. I accidentally airdropped him a free uber ride in his own taxi, which caused much hilarity!

The Watershed is a large warehouse space with many stalls. African animals are well represented in the art of South Africa. I wish I had a container to take some home.

The waterfront is a vast area of shops and restaurants, very crowded on Sunday with buskers performing. We enjoyed wandering hither and yon. Loved this Helon Melon bag with linen handle.

But the other side of the water was beckoning - we'd planned a late afternoon drink at the Silo Hotel.

First we popped into the jewellery store at the Cape Grace. This extraordinary stone is an example of the Paraiba tourmaline (but this one is not from Paraiba in Brazil), said to be the most precious and valuable stone in the world, more so than the diamond. They were discovered in Brazil in the 1980's, and more recently they've been found in Mozambique. This particular ring was about $80,000.

On with some glad rags (just a teeny bit gladder) and off we went! The Silo Hotel starts at the sixth floor, but there's a small soaring lobby space at ground level with a modern chandelier suspended near remnant grain handling machinery and stunning contemporary art, part of the amazing collection of Liz Biden throughout the hotel.

The concrete wall backdrop contrasts nicely with the opulence of this painting made entirely of sequins. The hotel interior was designed by Liz as well, and it's a fabulously and wildly colourful baroque-meets-industrial design. Absolutely exhilarating!

The staff member on the desk cautioned us that the Willaston Bar would be quite full - the hotel is THE place to be at the moment, and it's not a huge space.

The bar takes its name from the first ship to transport grain from the building in 1924. We took the lift to the sixth floor where there was standing room only at the counter.

What a glorious view of the city and Table Mountain through those amazing windows! Did I tell you that each piece of glass was specially cut?

photo courtesy Royal Portfolio - this is what the bar looks like when it's empty!

Suddenly one high chair at the bar became empty, and Helen sat on it while we considered our options. We decided I'd do a reccie of the rest of the floor to see where else we might have a drink while Helen kept the seat in the hope another would become vacant.

I walked past reception towards the dining room, the lights of Cape Town twinkling through windows everywhere. Between the two areas was a comfortable lounge area, perfect for a drink! I approached the girl on reception and introduced myself. She was extremely sorry, that area was for resident guests only. I said I understood perfectly, and would it be possible to see one of the rooms? Jess introduced herself and said that yes, she'd be delighted.

So we set off with Jess, who worked at the Cape Grace for many years and is newly engaged to be married.

We adored the fun bathroom with its view of the waterfront.

Back down on the sixth floor, with the bar still bulging at the seams, Jess suggested that as there were no hotel residents in the lounge seating, that we might have a drink there. Great idea thank you Jess!

We sipped our drinks and reflected on such a relaxed and wonderful day. Just as we were about to leave, Jess let us know she'd contacted Keegan at the Cape Grace and the hotel car was coming to collect us. What lovely service. Not to mention Keegan's offer to deliver himself and a karaoke machine to our room when we arrived home.

Tomorrow buddies I'll tell you about the wine lands, where although I may fall sick I'm sure you'll fall in love with the area! Amazing gardens, runner ducks, sculpture gardens, beautiful hotels, great wines and a meeting with the daughter of friends - the wine lands will have it all!

Until then,

shelley dark, writer 

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