Mains consisted of Pasta Arribiata, a stacked slider and a lentil and aubergine moussaka.

Kalk Bay in Cape Town has been named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Forbes magazine, and with its stunning views of the sea and mountains as well as its laidback cafe culture it’s easy to see why.

One of the best spots to soak up the best of Kalk Bay is The Courtyard Cafe in the Main Road.  

The location and layout turns it into an oasis from the hustle and bustle, but you can still people watch and sea watch from the deck or go a little deeper and enjoy a quieter space with a mountain view.

While the restaurant is carnivore-friendly, it is at heart a vegan restaurant serving plant-based cuisine.

Our visit was to taste the “root to tip” summer menu launched by Chef Michael Keating and owner Jolene Kritzinger, accompanied by wines from Catherine Marshall Winery.

Kritzinger explains her inspiration for the menu: “As a lifelong vegetarian, I wanted to provide customers with plenty of choice and variety when it came to both plant-based and carnivore-friendly menu options and the use of quality ingredients to prepare delicious , healthy and clean food is the base of our food philosophy. With the addition of Chef Michael in 2018 the final piece fell into place and my dream of what the Courtyard Café culinary experience could be was realised.”

The first course consisted of a trio of chilled summer soups: avocado gazpacho, borscht and a butternut and orange soup. This was accompanied by a Panzanella salad, a Waldorf salad and Quinoa salad.
The first course consisted of a trio of chilled summer soups: avocado gazpacho, borscht and a butternut and orange soup. This was accompanied by a Panzanella salad, a Waldorf salad and Quinoa salad.

For dessert we were served an almond chai panna cotta; a chilled beetroot cashew cake and a chocolate brownie with banana ice-cream.

Of course the food was fresh and wholesome, but what struck me were the vibrant colours on the plate and the new and unexpected twists on some classics. 

Chef Michael definitely has some tricks up his sleeve. He says: "People nowadays are very conscious of what they eat so I am very conscious of what I put in my food.

"If you look at my menu, it's a lot of the family favourites, the traditional classics that I'm looking at and figuring out how can I turn this into a vegan dish."

Kritzinger adds: “My wish for all customers visiting The Courtyard Café is to leave feeling refreshed and happier than when they arrived having enjoyed delicious and wholesome food prepared with love, care and attention to detail."

The Café  also has a little deli section so you can take some of that wholesomeness home.

Outside there's the smell and sounds of a bustling seaside village, inside there's the vibrant colours and the clean, fresh tastes of well-made food: The Courtyard Cafe is a gorgeous feast for all your senses.