Through the looking glass, Clarke’s bar and dining room.
So I’ve lived in this Mother City of ours just over a year, and to be honest the one thing that really bugs me is that on Sundays there is nowhere really to go within the city bowl (even my friends roll their eyes when I suggest that other place in Sea Point which I love to frequent) and yet there was a small gem literally in my backyard. Not that I have never been to Clarkes before, I had. I just didn’t like it. Hated the service. Hated the food. Hated the people who frequented it. Basically – anything that I could latch onto and make it into a negative, I did. I would rather walk anywhere on a Sunday morning but there.
So what’s changed? That I can’t tell you. But in the past few weeks that I’ve met friends for lunch or brunch or even the occasion dinner, I have become enamoured by the charm of the place. For those of you not in the know, and like really how is that possible, Clarke’s is a little bar and dining room on Bree Str. (the original block before it exploded into what it is now) in the lap of Table Mountain. With a South African menu more a nod and wink at classic US of A diner food with delicious bits and bobs that keep with Cape Town’s obsession of fresh, local and ingredients and produce produced with artisanal hands.
Like with everything in Cape Town, location is premium – so tables outside at street level are rarer than hens teeth and seldom available – unless you’re friends with the army of seriously cute staff – but more often than not sitting at their conveniently located L-shaped bar (all the better to see the talent walking in and out of the place) means you get it all on a Sunday morning and also it’s a great place to watch the chefs furiously at work grilling bread to perfection or throwing bacon onto a juicy burger. And speaking of staff who work there – don’t be fooled by the job they work to pay for other passions. The young lady who once brought my coffee had two masters, one in political sciences and the other in economics.
I think that, like self-loathing homosexuals who hate everything about gay culture, being an urbanite made me hate Clarke’s reputation as being a melting pot of everything hip and happening, awesome and fantastic, and where the pretty young things gather before moving on to some other fabulous happening where more fabulous oozes effortlessly from their mouths. Clarke’s bar and dining room is perfect for that lazy brunch (or breakfast for those up before noon on a Sunday morning) or lunch date with your best friends. Even if you go alone, the likelihood that you’re gonna bump into someone you know is high so there’s always a table you can join.