What is at the end of the rainbow? Judging by this photograph, taken from suite 422 in Taj Cape Town, the city-centre luxury hotel in town, the pot of gold is somewhere around Table Mountain. But it must have been a lucky sign. There is just so much to do in Cape Town and the gal was right in the thick of it all. Thursdays, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., for instance, are the time for the weekly market, just outside. Come out of the hotel’s main door, turn right and first right again into St George’s Mall, and there it is.
There are characters dressed to kill and thrill, and stands selling so many good things, and as well as tourists there are lots of serious local foodies, coming for tastings and to buy breads, and cheeses, and home-smoked meats. It was tempting to have lunch there and then, but I had an appointment and grazing will have to be left for the next Thursday visit. I might sit in the hotel’s own Mint two-floor all-day brasserie, and look out at the proceedings in the Mall. What with Cape Town‘s casserole of characters, it is not surprising that there are African foods as well as European, Indian and Malay.
I loved seeing some of the young locals, perhaps making smoothies, or sandwiches to order. Everyone in Cape Town, it seems, loves their food – and drink. I am told that Taj Cape Town‘s corner Twankey Bar, known for oysters and comfort food, and big ranges of beers and wines, has become really popular with local politicians, and not only because it is just across Wale Street from Parliament. Head down to the V&A Waterfront, a hearty 15-minute hike if you are fit, and you pass so many fish and chips restaurants that you wonder that the Cape has any fish left swimming in its waters, or supplies of potatoes.
Seeing the filled rolls in the Food Lovers Market is a reminder how they are becoming universal. The Dutch have always loved’em – they call them ‘dressed rolls’. Others call their flat-sliced-bread sandwiches by local names, say the jam butties that the Beatles loved. Interestingly, in English slang, a jam butty also stands for police cars, a name given when the cars they changed in the 1970s from blue and white to white with broad fluorescent orange stripes along the side. Time, I think, to get back to luxury hotels…