South African restaurants serve up local food with flair

From biltong burgers to milk tart filled pancakes, these are the South African restaurants with menus that boast items rich with local flavours and flair. 

Western Cape

Banana Bread Bunny Chow from Honest Chocolate Café

Price: R56

Call: 076 765 8306

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Picture: Instagram 

An indulgent chocolate escape in the heart of the Cape Town City. Honest Chocolate is located between the bustling streets of Loop and Bree. The cosy café has a relaxed atmosphere and all their chocolate is made by hand using old school methods in a small production kitchen in Woodstock. They roast, winnow and grind the beans they receive from Tanzania themselves, and hand temper the chocolate on a granite slab.

Combining the bunny chow, a famous South African street food, with dessert, the traditionally half or quarter loaf of bread which is hollowed out and brimming with curry is replaced by sweet treats.

One of their specialities, the banana bread bunny chow, features a banana bread mini loaf filled with chocolate spread, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an assortment of spiced nuts on the side. 

Rooibos Creme brulee from Char’d Hermanus

Call: 028 312 1986

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Char’d Grill & Wine Bar, a bespoke establishment in the Village Square on the famous Hermanus waterfront. With elements of industrial and steampunk design that incorporates vintage features with anachronistic modern technology, the interior creates a sassy and sophisticated fantasy world.

Supporting local as much as possible is high on the priority list of Char’d owner Petri Hendriksz, who is known for his adventurous and innovative ideas. 

A rich and creamy custard infused with pure rooibos and topped with shards of caramelised sugar and crushed honeycomb is a real treat. The local tea, which is much lower in tannins than black or green tea has a gentle and naturally sweet flavour that cuts through the creaminess of this dessert. 

Pampoenkoekies from Char’d Hermanus

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Another one of their noteworthy dessert items is their Pampoenkoekies. The golden-brown fritters are a traditional Afrikaans dish that is served either at breakfast, as a dessert or a side dish depending on how it is made. They are the perfect combination of savoury and sweet making for a real treat. At Char’d Hermanus they are served warm with cinnamon sugar, caramel sauce, and popcorn and a scoop of ice cream.

Their menu changes occasionally with new items cropping up every other month. Therefore, the prices are presently unavailable. 

Koeksister & Custard Cup from Velvet Cake Co

Price: R315 (batch 9) – R700 (batch of 20)

Call: 021 914 0482

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Koeksisters are traditionally plaited pieces of dough that have been deep-fried and infused in syrup or honey. 

Velvet Cake Co believes there’s nothing like the sweet, syrupy taste of koeksisters to warm our saffer hearts. Their limited edition Koeksister & Custard Cups are a winning combination of moist vanilla cake and silky homemade custard, topped with koeksister bites.


Milk tart pancake from Harrie’s Pancakes 

Call: 012 234 23613

Price: R55

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Milk tart is ubiquitous in South Africa. The dessert was first made by Dutch settlers in the Cape in the early 1600s. The origins of milk tart are credited to a detailed recipe listed in Thomas van der Noot’s book, “Een Notabel Boexcken van Cokeryen” (A Notable Book of Cookery) and it is believed that milk tart was developed from the same recipe.

Evolving this local favourite that’s always on display at every tea party, home industry shop and bake sale, Harrie’s Pancakes serves the decadent milk tart custard expertly prepared over a bowl of boiling water until creamy and delicious, stuffed inside a fluffy pancake. Dusted with a light sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, it’s best enjoyed immediately – only because waiting is impossible.

Bobotie Pancake from Harrie’s Pancakes

Price: R79

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However, if you’re in the mood for a meal you can really dig into, try something more savoury like their bobotie with chutney vinaigrette. The first recipe for bobotie appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609. Afterwards, it was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community. Meaty, nutty and filled with local flavours, it’s simply delicious when rolled into a pancake.


Burfee macaron from Sugarlicious

Price: R18

Call: 083 611 8050

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Delicate, tender and sweet, macarons are delectable as it is, but Sugarlicious, a dessert bar on bustling Florida Road, takes things to a whole new level. They boast a wide range of ice creams wrapped in French macaron shells and a signature range that’s been dipped in premium couverture chocolate. 

Burfee has grown in popularity in South Africa. It’s omnipresent at every Indian celebration. From weddings to Diwali and Eid this sweet, indulgent sweetmeat rightfully deserves its place on the list. With hints of rose water coming through in the ice cream and slivers of colourful almonds topping the macaron, it’s the perfect treat. 

Koeksister, milktart, Bombay crush and Jalebi and Sev are a few of the other flavours with South African flair. 

Jalapeno and biltong burger from Butcher Block

Price: R95

Call: 031 303 2662

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No game drive, charcuterie board or game night is complete without biltong. The unique variety of dried, cured meat originated in Southern Africa when European settlers arrived in the early 17th century. Since modern freezers and refrigerators were not yet invented, they improved the curing process of various kinds of meat by using vinegar, saltpetre and spices ranging from coriander to cloves. 

Harnessing our love for the savoury snack, Butcher Block has a jalapeno and biltong burger on their menu. The dish includes a juicy 200g pure beef patty served with a creamy sauce and shavings of biltong that comes with a complimentary side – baked or mashed potato, veggies, chips, savoury rice, pap and chakalaka or a side salad.


Beef Dombolo

Price: R149

Call: 031 332 0606

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Dombolo, is “dough that is cooked by steam” in the Xhosa and Zulu cultures. However, the dish is enjoyed nation-wide with the Afrikaans population referring to the dish as dough “bolletjies” that are most often cooked with meat and stew.

Moyo keeps their Beef Dombolo dish traditional, with the succulent morsels of meat braised in rich beef stock with mushrooms, onions, carrots and tomato, served with tender pieces of traditional dumplings to mop up every last bit.

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