Tag Archives: restaurants

Classiest treats in Grahamstown

Haricot’s deli and bistro is definitely one of the classiest little cafés in town. Situated very near campus, right across the road from The Rat & Parrot, a local drinking hangout that makes truly fabulous pizza, Haricot’s provides the quaintest little treats and meals. However, for “sophistication” such as this, you really do pay rather heftily in some cases. I went there for a “first date” last year, and (apart from the school children who were out with their families) it was a really romantic venue to take someone for that kind of thing (where it really is a treat) It’s not all expensive, though, so a student can really make it work out for them.

Their cookies are delicious: chocolate and white chocolate chip. They go really well with the hot chocolate

Their cookies are delicious: chocolate and white chocolate chip. They go really well with the hot chocolate

Haricot’s makes the best hot chocolate in town, as far as I’ve had (and I have had quite a few). It’s really cosy in there, and I’ve decided that that’s where I like to get work done, if I feel like working in a coffee shop (which I do, of course). It is also a competitively priced hot chocolate.

I could really sit there all day working, so long as I had a steady stream of that fluffy, creamy goodness

I could really sit there all day working, so long as I had a steady stream of that fluffy, creamy goodness

I went there for breakfast with a friend of mine over the weekend. I had French toast, she had a croissant with jam and cheese. While her croissant was a fair bit smaller than my meal, it was about a third of the price.

More hot chocolate as we try decide from the numerous great options

More hot chocolate as we try decide from the numerous great options

Croissant with jam and cheese - note: it is smaller than it looks in the photo, but big enough

Croissant with jam and cheese – note: it is smaller than it looks in the photo, but big enough

They are also makers of wonderful different breads, which explains the unusual choice of bread in this French toast meal. It was also the first time I had maple syrup: I can't say I'm a fan as it tasted too much like plant (like tree bark or something)

They are also makers of wonderful different breads, which explains the unusual choice of bread in this French toast meal. It was also the first time I had maple syrup: I can’t say I’m a fan as it tasted too much like plant (like tree bark or something)

They do cake, of course. The cakes are pretty, sometimes they are extravagant, but all the time they are  really pricey. Granted, they are large slices, so maybe it works out well if you go there and share a slice with a friend. But when you’re paying the same price for one piece of cake as you are for a full take-away burger with large chips and a drink, you have to question your sweet tooth. I tend to stick to their cupcakes, which are more reasonably priced, and which are also really delicious.

Cutest and fluffiest little chocolate cupcakes

Cutest and fluffiest little chocolate cupcakes

The cupcake they have a solid reputation for, of course, is the red velvet cupcake, and it really is amazing. Make sure you get it fresh, otherwise the buttercream frosting (it tasted like buttercream more than cream cheese frosting, but I could possibly be wrong) will go a bit too hard, and their fresh frosting is light and fluffy and delicious, so don’t miss out.

This cupcake cheered me up after a very bleak morning today. Thank you, Red Velvet Cupcake, I love your fluffy sweetness

This cupcake cheered me up after a very bleak morning today. Thank you, Red Velvet Cupcake, I love your fluffy sweetness

Advertisements

The best pizza in the country… Apparently

Public holidays are great, especially when you get given money to buy whatever food you want. Granted, it was a limited amount, but still, it’s money that you didn’t have before, and if you were smart, you spread it out nicely over a few meals. Unlike me, who spent it all in one excursion. This is not a bad thing though. It’s not every day you get an opportunity to visit a place you’ve never been before, AND get to try what has been dubbed as the best pizza in the country. So all in all it was a pretty successful midweek public holiday.

When people hear that I’m studying in Grahamstown or the Eastern Cape, they immediately ask if I’ve been to the big pineapple. I still haven’t been to see it, but at least now I can say I’ve been to the dorp that it is situated in, Bathurst. This is kind of a big deal because it is only a 30 minute drive away, it’s unfortunate that I hadn’t been sooner.

Wood fired pizza ovens make the best kinds of pizza

Wood fired pizza ovens make the best kinds of pizza

Pic-Kwik’s menu proclaims “Best pizza in South Africa”, and, as a pizza-lover, this really had me excited. The people I went there with had been there two weeks earlier, and they kept raving about it, although this could have been to make me jealous as well. We sat down for our lunch in the dying-summer sun, in a garden adorned with hair curlers, computer keyboards, and all sorts of other incredibly random items. It certainly had character.

What can you spot in the tree?

What can you spot in the tree?

At times like this, you need to ensure that you don’t waste time deliberating: pick the first thing that you see that appeals to you on the menu. I chose a Milo milkshake, and it was definitely a great choice. I had misgivings at first after I had placed my order and proceeded to peruse the rest of the beverage menu, but I was not disappointed when my milkshake came. You can’t go wrong with that malt-y goodness. It kinda makes me miss Milo Krushers from KFC, but then I realised the milkshake was better. So that says something, if you’ve ever tried one of those Krushers.

Possibly the best drink on the menu

Possibly the best drink on the menu

We had a meander around the second-hand/antique goods store. They had the most wonderful assortment of bizarre things in there, some of which kind of freaked me out (clowns!) and some which truly fascinated me and my friends (“I think it’s a coffee grinder…” “Actually I think it’s a butter churner…” We never got conclusive evidence for what it actually was). Then there were the classic items: old coins, and old type writer, a mix match of mugs, and what could likely be first editions of some of the greatest classic books.

The clown... it's staring at you...

The clown… it’s staring at you…

I don't even understand...

I don’t even understand…

"I have no idea what this is..."

“I have no idea what this is…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much junk!

So much junk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They even had old records (LPs?)

They even had old records (LPs?)

Old school

Old school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the pizza finally came, there was a flurry (at least for me) to swop pieces with my company. That crispy thin base, that melted cheese, those assortments of toppings: all things that make me happy for the existence of pizza. I had a Southwell, named after a place that we drove past on the way to Bathurst. Bacon and chicken is what had me going for it, they’re not paired up often enough at conventional pizza places, and I do think I will do it again next time I get to “make-my-own”.

My Southwell - Bacon and chicken pizza

My Southwell – Bacon and chicken pizza

It was good, don’t get me wrong. Unfortunately, I think they could have done more with it. The bacon was clearly bacon, and it tasted pretty much like bacon, but it didn’t have that happiness-in-a-pan bacon flavour, the one that makes your whole house smell like bacon. The chicken had a similar problem: there was nothing special to it, it pretty much tasted just like cooked chicken, which is a good thing, but it’s also how it should be, so nothing beyond expectations of a cooked meal. Those two ingredients were thus merely average. As a pizza though, it was great: deliciously melted cheese, a trickily thin base that was successfully crispified, but not burnt, and not chewy. Overall, a well-made pizza, with cooked toppings.

Possibly the second best pizza of the day

Possibly the second best pizza of the day

The Salami bomb pizza, with some additional garlic and peppadews

The Salami bomb pizza, with some additional garlic and peppadews

IMG_4479

Mmmm, cooked pineapple

Spinach pizza

Spinach pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other pizzas were quite nice as well. The Salami Bomb was subtly meaty, the spinach and feta pizza somehow ended up a bit soggy in one patch, but, so long as you really enjoy the taste of spinach, it was a good pizza, one that knew just how to emphasise spinach flavour. The other to pizzas don’t stand out in my memory apart from: cooked pineapple (I’m not a fan…) on the one, and peppadews on the other, which complemented the meat on that pizza quite well.

Definitely worth the trip though, if you enjoy pizza. It certainly deserves to be near the top of the pizza crop in South Africa, but not quite in first position.

Dessert was an educational experience: Dutch Speculaas – a traditional spicy tart-cake thing with almonds. This was my first time hearing about it, and I was told that it involved chocolate, so I was almost disappointed by the cinnamon-y gingerness I found. It turned out to be great, however. I need to learn how to make this and publish the recipe so that you can enjoy this little piece of yumminess from my country.

Not quite a chocolate tart like I had been led to believe, but a deliciously spicy traditional (apparently) pudding

Not quite a chocolate tart like I had been led to believe, but a deliciously spicy traditional (apparently) pudding

It was a public holiday well-spent, and definitely worth the visit for anyone passing nearby. It needs to build a reputation like that of the Pig and Whistle across the way (which I have also yet to visit…), so that everyone will learn to appreciate great pizza, and share my love for great food.

The berry best – Wakaberry

One of the things I get most excited about when I go home for the holidays is this treat. If I do nothing else, if I don’t leave the house at all, I will make sure that I get to this place, at least once!

My family waited impatiently for me to take this photo before snatching them up for a good gobble

My family waited impatiently for me to take this photo before snatching them up for a good gobble

Wakaberry is really growing all over South Africa (except in my province…). I don’t know how this Fro-yo “fad” came about, but I am so glad that it did. This stuff is so delicious! I just wish I could stay in Johannesburg so I could have it every single day! Ok, maybe not that often, but still, on a highly regular basis! Maybe I’ll be so lucky that they open one of these havens of tastebud heaven in Grahamstown. Yeah, right, like that would ever happen! I’m sure they need water to maintain their facility, so this town and its municipality would not be conducive to a successful business.

My uncle's face shows it: it's so good you kind of feel naughty eating it. There is no limit to how much deliciousness you can have, it's hard to think that's even allowed!

My uncle’s face shows it: it’s so good you kind of feel naughty eating it. There is no limit to how much deliciousness you can have, it’s hard to think that’s even allowed!

My little bro never used to like Wakaberry because he thought all the flavours tasted the same. I have educated him well since then, as you can see

My little bro never used to like Wakaberry because he thought all the flavours tasted the same. I have educated him well since then, as you can see

This could be one of the luckiest girls ever: Julia, my cousin, lives right near Wakaberry. I would never eat another meal anywhere else again!

This could be one of the luckiest girls ever: Julia, my cousin, lives right near Wakaberry. I would never eat another meal anywhere else again!

I am in my absolute element every time I go there: the choice of toppings that they have there! By the way, they make the best brownies ever! My only regret is that each time I go there, I make the most of the visit, and I exploit everything by taking a bit of everything, regardless of what would make a good combination. One day I’ll be able to just have vanilla and fudge brownie flavour yoghurt with some brownie bits and some chocolate chips. Rather than the mess that I do tend to make…

My personal pot of deliciousness. You can clearly see the smooth vanilla fudge pieces, the moist brownie bits, and the berry swirl in there, amongst the rest of the beautiful mess

My personal pot of deliciousness. You can clearly see the smooth vanilla fudge pieces, the moist brownie bits, and the berry swirl in there, amongst the rest of the beautiful mess

Frozen yoghurt reminds me of Starbucks coffee and Sushi. It’s a lifestyle that I look forward to, one day when I’m big and living in London, or Hong Kong, or New York, or some other glamorous and metropolitan city. Or maybe it’s just hipster, and that’s fun too…

He hates having his photo taken, but I think we did a solid job of cleaning up those pots of yogz

He hates having his photo taken, but I think we did a solid job of cleaning up those pots of yogz