Restaurant Of The Week: Tamboers Winkel, Cape Town

Tamboers Winkel was my go-to coffee shop during the week I spent in Cape Town earlier this year. I wouldn’t ordinarily frequent this type of place because it’s at the top of a hill (off Kloof Street) and I’m out of shape, and the crowd tends toward the young and hipster-ish, neither of which describes me. However, it was cute, nearby, had free Wi-Fi, the food and drink was tasty, and the staff were friendly.

Tamboers WinkelIt’s just a tiny little five-table space that’s easy to miss, as it’s a few storefronts up De Lorentz street, off the main Kloof drag. If you’re walking along Kloof and don’t bother to peer down the side streets, you won’t necessarily see it. But its size and out-of-the-wayness means it never gets too crowded. The decor is a mix of grandma’s kitchen and a Restoration Hardware catalog, with old clipboards that hold the menus, tin cups for cutlery, and antique knick-knacks stacked on pine shelves. Definitely trendy, but not trying too hard.

In the AM they’ve got great coffees and pastries, which can be enjoyed indoors or at one of the miniscule sidewalk seats, if the weather is nice. There’s a communal table large enough to accommodate several laptops simultaneously and meant to be shared by the “coffice” workers like myself, so that’s where I usually planted myself. Can’t say that the boxy wooden chairs were too comfortable for long-term sitting, but they were OK for an hour or two.

If you want an actual meal, the menu offers South African classics with novel twists, like chicken pie salad, bobotie wraps, and gnocchi with sage and lemon. There’s an excellent wine and craft beer list, and most Wednesday evenings there’s a wine tasting event showcasing a local wine maker. Thursdays are “beer and burger” nights, which are popular with students.

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