Decadence of Cape Town’s east side

Western Cape

Cape Town - It was a busy afternoon on the east side. This is the part of town roughly bordered by Plein, Darling, and Roeland streets, stretching up to De Waal Drive, and has tons to offer, from coffee shops to museums, gentlemen’s clubs to churches.

We took a stroll down Buitenkant Street past the Perseverance Tavern, which is more than 200 years old. Next door is a (much newer) jazz club, The Mahogany Room, and on the corner of Roeland Street is one of my favourite pubs, inside the Kimberley Hotel. The Kimberley is a bit like Vegas. What happens there, stays there. Or at least I hope it does.

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Cape Town - 140204 - There are many great locations in the East City where one can explore and enjoy architectural heritage as well as local cuisine and culture. Here Charly's Bakery is renowned for its creative and delicious baked goods. REPORTER: BIANCA COLEMAN. PICTURE: CANDICE CHAPLIN.Cape Town - 140204 - There are many great locations in the East City where one can explore and enjoy architectural heritage as well as local cuisine and culture. Here, Truth on Buitenkant Street offers award winning artisan coffee with a laid back steam punk theme. REPORTER: BIANCA COLEMAN. PICTURE: CANDICE CHAPLIN.Cape Town - 140204 - There are many great locations in the East City where one can explore and enjoy architectural heritage as well as local cuisine and culture. The Book Lounge on the corner of Roeland and Buitenkant streets, has a great selection of literature while offering a relaxed space with cosy couches and great music. REPORTER: BIANCA COLEMAN. PICTURE: CANDICE CHAPLIN.

You can get a double G&T for a little more than R20, and very decent bacon and egg breakfast until 12.30pm for R13 – as long as you buy a drink with it.

Crossing over Roeland, I introduced Divine Lady D to The Book Lounge (021 462 2425, [email protected],, which is where I want to live one day. We were just going to “pop in” but ended up browsing for ages, and drinking cappuccinos in the downstairs library. It’s a gorgeous place and locals will recognise it in that new whiskey ad that has made grown men cry.

There are events every week – readings, book launches, talks, discussions, even scavenger hunts – when you can meet authors and poets and like-minded souls while sipping a glass of wine and nibbling on snacks. I don’t know if they have food every time, but definitely wine.

Drop them a mail to get the weekly newsletter. There’s quite a full programme for the coming week, so get cracking.

On Saturday mornings there is children’s story time. Today’s topic at 11am is trees.

Wild-eyed and hopped up on caffeine, which I don’t normally drink, our next stop was Truth Coffee Roasting (36 Buitenkant Street, 021 200 0440). They take their coffee very seriously at Truth, and that ain’t no lie. It’s roasted right there in the middle of the room.

Drink it, buy it for home, or order it online from But do specify what you want because there is “normal” coffee, and then there is Slayer coffee at R25 a delicious cup, made in what is widely regarded as the best espresso machine in the world. I’m not a coffee expert and Truth owner and coffee guru David Donde will probably be rolling his eyes at me right now if I say I don’t know the difference, but it does taste good.

Truth is open from 6.45am on weekdays, and 7.45am on Saturdays and Sundays.

There are often things happening in the evenings, like live music on Fridays, burlesque (tonight), comedy, and more. There is also really good food from The Larder, like a breakfast called Johnny Depp (what’s not to love about that?), and yummy baked goods.

From there we criss-crossed to Harrington Street for lunch at Lefty’s (see below), and then down to Charly’s Bakery (38 Canterbury Street, telephone 021 461 5181) for dessert. So what if Joburg has Brad and Angie, we have real live homegrown television stars right here, all the time.

The gals at Charly’s – mom Jacqui and daughters Alex, Dani, and Roche – have become famous through their reality show Charly’s Cake Angels, which has been seen internationally on Food Network.

This means fans flock there from all over the world, not only to scoff the brightly decorated glittery cupcakes and elaborately iced cookies, but to say hello, and take photographs of the family. It can get a bit chaotic at times.

The display cases are full of ready-made tempting treats, but you can order a customised cookie or cupcake for any occasion. While we were there, a bloke was getting a heart-shaped biscuit with an apology iced on it.

Very clever. I’m sure she forgave him for whatever he did.

We had more coffee, which explains why after a mid-evening crash I was still awake at 1am, and cupcakes.

I took home a multicoloured sugar skull-styled cookie just because it was beautiful. I’m still not sure if I am going to eat it.

Other places to put on your east side list for culture include the Central Library, the District Six Museum and the Fugard Theatre (Caledon Street, telephone 021 461 4554).

Named for one of South Africa’s most significant playwrights and recipient of a lifetime achievement Tony, Athol Fugard, the 335-seater theatre is inside the historic Sacks Futeran building with the renovated Congregational Church Hall as its entrance.

Right now you can see Playland, by Fugard himself, tomorrow at 2pm and 6pm, or Tuesday till next Saturday at 8pm (and 4pm on Saturday). Next week sees the return of Blood Brothers, from February 12 till March 22, Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm.

The musical was adapted by David Kramer to a Cape Town setting and tells the story of a mother in dire financial straits, who gives away one of her twin sons at birth. Booking is at Computicket.

The Castle of Good Hope is nearby; as is the City Hall where you can listen to the symphony orchestra one week, and go to a tattoo convention the next.

The sixth annual Cape Tattoo Expo is at the end of the month. Visit for updates about attending artists, concerts, competitions, and more.

Last but not least, a sneak “coming soon” preview – the third I Love My Laundry will be opening in Buitenkant Street on February 22. This is where you can drop off your washing, and have dim sum and wine, separately or at the same time. Call Clayton on 084 660 0777 for more info or go to - Weekend Argus

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