Tucked into a trendy block of Bree Street, central Cape Town’s hippest address, Culture Club Cheese is a restaurant that serves up exactly what its clever name states: cheese. Proprietor and cheese-master Luke Williams has created a diverse and enticing menu of sandwiches, salads, and appetizers that take classics and add a twist — usually of the cheesey variety. As a bonus, nearly everything is free-range, grass-fed, organic, and/or gluten-free, and the cheese is often unpasteurized.
Specialities include the cheese plate (best shared amongst friends), an ever-changing selection of cheese and pickles (to which you can add cured meats if you require a bit more protein), the toasted cheesy sourdough, the raclette (pungent melted Alpine cheese, baby potatoes, brandy apples, pickles and cured meat), the Welsh rarebit, and the croque monsieur/madame.
As it was lunchtime when I arrived, I reluctantly had to bypass the fantastic breakfast menu and instead chose something from the toasted sandwich selection, which was impressive. As a BLT lover I decided on the “Bacon,” a tower of unpasteurized Myst Hill cheddar, free range bacon, avocado and tomato on sourdough bread. It was so delicious and substantial that I did not get hungry again til very late in the evening.
You must try the specialty beverages, which include fermented kombucha tea in a variety of flavors, as well as fermented milk (including kefir) smoothies and the live-culture “gut shots.” I must admit the kombucha is an acquired taste (it has quite a vinegar-y tang to it), but I managed to acquire it, if only for the afternoon.
Indoors you’ll find a huge selection of cheeses for sale by the chunk, 80% of which are South African, some made onsite, like the full-fat Labneh, which appears in many dishes on the menu. Proprietor will happily explain the history and origins of each varietal, and make food/wine pairing suggestions.
Seating is both indoors or outdoors on the cute raised patio, which allows diners to see and be seen, an important consideration in this painfully hip neighborhood.