Good news story! Muizenberg has risen from its ashes to become one of Cape Town’s top beach and chill spots | Photo: Tonya Hester
MUIZENBERG’S MAGICAL MAKEOVER
Remember Muizenberg as a rubbish-splattered drugland with just its warm, child-friendly waves to recommend it? Think again, dear friend. Some fairies have cleared the broken glass, revamped the gracious old beachfront buildings, painted, repaired and restored the jungle gym and even prettified the giant turning circle. Muizenberg has emerged from the ashes as a classy combination of old world ambience and modern functionality. With the painful main road makeover done and dusted, Muizies is more accessible than ever and offers an eclectic mix of attractions that should satisfy most palates.
Ocean-wise, surfers, swimmers and stand-up-paddle boarders seem to co-exist pretty harmoniously at what is probably Cape Town’s nicest swimming beach. But if you’re shark-phobic, there’s lots to do on dry land. Thrill seekers can try the land sailing (go-karting with a sail), while normal people can simply walk the endless beach or follow the ocean path to the St James tidal pool.
At the Lakeside end, Muizenberg’s up-and-coming villagey area has some gorgeous revamped cottages to hanker after, and its mini high street, Palmer Road, is getting interesting. The V&A Waterfront it’s not: we’re talking tiny. But it’s full of character and quite a few hippies, and worth a visit after a swim. What’s here? Amongst other interesting attractions lurk a satirical t-shirt shop, and an artsy gift and picture framing outfit. Stroll and chill, dudes.
Here’s our selection of Muizenberg highlights…
Welcome to Tiger’s Milk, a desirable recent addition to Muizenberg’s culinary and social scene. Part of the Harbour House Group, yet a different animal. More hip, less pricey, with a spectacular location offering the vast, sweeping ocean and the chance to sit for hours watching the beach action.
The restaurant’s a huge raw-brick space with mismatched furniture, decanters dangling from the ceiling and long communal tables. Food is prettily served on a wooden board and includes superior salads (try the fab avo and feta one), impressively cooked linefish, burgers, ribs, pizzas and substantial portions of spicy peri-peri chicken. And finally, there are the steaks on which Tiger’s Milk prides itself, offered in five cuts and two sizes. Booking essential if you want to see the sea without binoculars.
PLUSES: great decor and views. Decent, satisfying food with some interesting innovations. Good value.
MINUSES: service can be a little laid-back (and for some, a little trop hipster?)
Tiger’s Milk, Muizenberg: good food and a view to die for, doll
It’s winter, it’s raining and if the kids don’t kill each other, you’ll probably finish them off yourself? It’s all going to be all right. Take them off to Planet Kids, a large indoor building where you can watch them letting off steam on things like the ‘intergalactic ball wall’, foofie slide and jumping castles.
If you arrange it in advance, you can even leave the little darlings there while you pop out for a little bit of sanity. Glam, it’s not: the street and building are definitely tired – but do the kids give a hoot? There’s a great ethos here, with special needs children welcomed, and they cater and care for kids with disabilities hooray! Planet Kids specialises in children’s parties, well worth considering if your parental creative juices are running dry…
Let your little darling play up a storm at Planet Kids while you enjoy some child-free time. Children’s parties also on offer
The Blue Bird Garage Market calls itself a ‘one-stop Friday evening venue dedicated to the procurement of gourmet dishes, ingredients, fresh food, artisan products and bespoke goods’. Which sums it up quite well.
It’s a mini version of the Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourgoods Market, but a touch more seaside (super-relaxed clientele and surfboards hanging from the rafters). Employing that tried and tested combo of good food in a spacious warehouse setting, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Agonise over a range of delightful offerings from Yoffi Falafel’s Turkish treats to juices and smoothies by Nature’s Nectar and steaks by Bunga Bunga, then settle down with your choice(s), and maybe a glass of vino, at a central trestle table.
While you’re deciding what to tantalise your tastebuds with, browse the non-food stalls for funky clothes and clobber, secondhand books and all-natural body products. Parental plus: a supervised, fenced-off creative children’s area (R20, own risk).
The Blue Bird Garage Market: fab food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere
One hundred percent sumptuous, Casa Labia is a little over the top but all is forgiven since it’s Italian, darling. Built in 1930 by Italian Count Labia and his South African wife Ida (who later founded The Labia art cinema), all its furniture, chandeliers, mirrors, ceiling panels and wall fabrics were imported from Venice.
When the count died, it went through a few ups and downs but was eventually restored to its former glory. Now a cultural centre, it regularly hosts arty happenings such as talks on the pre-Raphaelites or live recitals of Dvorak dance tunes washed down with champagne and canapés.
Casa Labia also boasts a light and airy art gallery, nice gift shop and posh café/restaurant where you can luxuriate in the Italian glories of prosciutto and pecorino – or go local with a scone, jam and cream.