Food glorious food. So glorious. Such food. Very wow.
If there were a place to epitomise the glories of food, that will have to be a small bistro found on Waterkant Street in the bustling inner circles of the Cape Town city bowl. Breakfast turns to lunch, lunch turns to champagne. Scratch that, champagne turns in to breakfast and so on.
“Hemelhuijs” translated directly from Dutch as “Heaven House” is everything its high-profile name promises, and more. Foodies and fatties alike will understand the reference, that feeling of absolute heaven when your tongue touches the first drips and slithers of the most satisfying, salivating bite of food you have ever tasted in your existence of a mortal, invoking images of angels singing, gold raining down on you whilst babies fly around you citing poetry.
Call me out a heathen if you will, but a look at the Google god will show you it to be true. Four stars from Eat Out, four and a half stars from TripAdvisor, three and a half stars from Zomato and the list of accolades of Hemelhuijs still keep on growing.
Although the kitchen closes at 4PM on weekdays and 3PM on Saturdays, the menu is small, yet expansive enough for any taste that adores high-quality meals. Breakfast has a small selection, but the varieties on golden oldies make it a winner for a date with the girls, to a brunch with your partner. The artichoke heart eggs Benedict is to die for, and the preserved ginger and brie french toast will leave you rolling in your bed yearning for more for days to come. Now let’s just take a minute of severe critique. I judge a restaurant by their toast, call it picky, call it snobby. But if you serve
me a slice of Albany that was left in the freezer for months until this particular day, I am not going to be happy to pay R65. I need to point out Hemelhuijs doesn’t touch Albany, not even to poke or prod it with a stick from far away. They serve homemade bread, sliced in thick pieces, free, yet spongy enough to soak up all juices. To me that toast invoked images of childhood, love and butter. What more can you ask from a restaurant?
Lunch, or early dinner if you will, serves you a plate of slightly more delicate and elegant flavours. Changing the menu with the seasons, this menu will serve you the freshest, most delicious produce Cape Town has to offer, think seared tuna tempura rolls with sweet soy, fresh ginger and coriander.
Apart from an expansive wine list, you’ll also find craft juices, freshly squeezed of course. Imagine pink watermelon and ruby grapefruit juice sliding down your throat and invigorating your tasting nerves, leaving you go “AH” after every sip as if you are in a Coca Cola advert. Yes, it is that good.
Hemelhuijs is a beautiful space using, glass, wood and intrinsic metal designs to create a homely, yet arty vibe. The food has no comparison, albeit a bit pricey. The fact of the matter is, you walk out feeling treated, and they make hell sure you get treated with some of the most professional waiters and staff walking around. Take a trip down to Hemelhuijs, if you miss your mom, you’ll feel like the lost son returning home, if you are just hungry, well, get ready for some serious food porn. Stretchy pants recommended ;).