Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Late lunch at the Cake Club

Recently I was at home at noon when this friend of mine who's coming along to South Africa called.


He asked: "What are you doing at home?" Yes, it was a workday and almost 1 PM, and he was supposed to ring me on my mobile. But I'd BBM-ed him to call me at home instead.

I'd dropped by to get a few things and then I was headed out to have lunch at the Cake Club, a casual restaurant in that new development just off Bonifacio High Street.

Well, we started talking about South Africa, of course, and going through our itinerary day by day; and before I knew it, we'd been on the phone for quite a while.

He was making our itinerary and sort of interviewing me to find a happy compromise on food and sightseeing. I'm glad he took the time to ask me, though, as I did no such thing when I was choosing the hotels.

He'd left the general route and the hotels to me, and I'd basically booked every place I've been wanting to stay in in South Africa without asking his opinion, and then sent the list to him as a fait accompli.

Fortunately he seems to be okay with what I've chosen. But my choices aren't so difficult to like, actually, as they're some of the best and most amazing places in South Africa.


But back to his interview.

"How are you for jetlag?" He asked me. He basically wanted to know if I was planning to crash and sleep or head for the spa after the ten- or twelve-hour flight from Hong Kong, or whether I would happily allow myself to be dragged around Johannesburg to see a couple of attractions he'd listed down for us.

He's hired a car, a driver and a guide from the hotel and on our first day in Johannesburg, he's planning to see just under a million things between our arrival and dinner time.

Everyone we've talked to has said it's impossible to see all the things he wants to see in the time we've allotted for Joburg, but I think that's just made him even more determined to make sure we see those things.

*    *    *


From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue onwards
and online via the Travelife Blog 

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But we're basically on the same boat, even if not on the same mad pace. Of course I want to see stuff. I'm Travelife, after all.

So I said: "I'm permanently on jetlag, so time differences and long flights don't really matter."


Then came his next question. "Are you up for walking when we get there?" Of course I am. I can walk all day through the entire Paris during sale season, without even stopping for meals. I thought this was the kind of walking he meant.

But he continued: "As in up Table Mountain?" He meant Table Mountain in Cape Town, that mountain that looms majestically over the city, and that looks like it has a table cloth on it on a cloudy day.

Walking up Table Mountain? I said to him: "Isn't there a cable car? Or can't you just hire a car and driver to get us there?"

The private helicopter charter I'd been hinting to him about to take us straight to the safari game reserve from the lawn of our hotel in Johannesburg would have come in handy here as well.

So we talked about stuff like these and finalized the restaurants we're eating in in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Franschhoek and Constantia, as we're taking the food part quite seriously. Fortunately, there are no arguments about his choice of restaurants.


He knows his food and I liked everything he chose and he pretty much agreed on my slightly different choices. I did get to pick one or two restaurants out of the bunch, as well, and they were very different from his choices. He likes cutting edge stuff while I like traditional restaurants with long track records.

I think we've planned it so that we have at least one very big meal everyday, if not two. I don't think we've left out a single restaurant in South Africa that we should be eating in.

*    *    *


From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue onwards
and online via the Travelife Blog 

*    *    *

Actually, so far, so good. We've had very good teamwork for this trip, and certainly a lot of joking around; and we haven't had a single disagreement about where to go or what to see -- or even what time to start -- even if we've been planning this trip since May.

The only point of contention so far is the expected weight of my luggage. But that's another story...


Anyway, this is why I was late for my lunch appointment at Cake Club.

When I got there, everyone was already on cake -- and lots of it. I'd made up my mind to go on some kind of diet, but when I saw the menu, I knew I simply had to order the works for lunch.


I started with two salads. Yes, two salads. The first was a green salad with slices of warm goat cheese-and-onion tart that was just lovely. The onion tart gave a nice sweetness to the greens dressed with balsamic vinegar.

Then I decided to try the GM Salad, because this was apparently named after Diamond Hotel GM Vanessa Suatengco, who loves this salad. It's a mixture of greens in a parmesan cheese cup, that's served with slices of tomatoes and goat cheese.


For the main course, I was intrigued by a dish called Sato-san's Mentaiko Spaghetti. I was to swear off carbs today as I'd been doing major eating over the past few days; but suddenly I felt like Mentaiko Spaghetti when I saw it on the menu today.

Mentaiko spaghetti, by the way, is from Japan, and it's an original pasta dish made with egg roe. Very fattening and full of cholesterol, but very delicious as well. The Cake Club version is creamier than what's usually done in Japan, but it was great just the same, and full of a nice spiciness.

With all that food today, I was determined not to have dessert. But then I saw a couple of small cheese cakes that looked like they couldn't harm anyone, and I just had to have these.

Scroll down to read about some fantastic ice cream...


I also saw a cabinet full of ice cream.

"Cake Club makes its own ice cream?" I asked one of the restaurant staff. She nodded, and showed me all the exotic flavors.

I'm not one for missed opportunities, so of course I decided to order an ice cream.

There was one particular flavor calling my name, and it was the Moist Chocolate Cake. Wow. This one's a winner. It was really moist chocolate cake in an ice cream. And it was just as good as any luxury foreign ice cream brand I can think of.

Go live a TRAVELIFE and get some of that ice cream today at the Cake Club. It's really that good.


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