My old home town – Riebeek Kasteel! A mere hour’s drive from Cape Town will bring you to this vibrant, happening village. I haven’t written about it for a while but after spending a few days there recently with friends, thought it deserved a post of its own!
We went to celebrate a birthday and what better place to do that than at the fabulous Mama Cucina’s. It’s owned by good friends of ours, who have been wholly instrumental in making this one of the most successful restaurants in the village. The food is inspired by Italy and there is always something enticing to try on their daily specials blackboard, not forgetting their fabulous wood fired pizzas.
The lunch went “large” to say the least. It’s never a quick in and out when visiting as people come and go, share a glass of wine and, as somebody leaves, someone else arrives – it’s the way of Riebeek. And it’s a wonderful way to be!
Our second home – De Stal, Riebeek West
We finally made it back to our self-catering cottage in Riebeek West as the sun was setting. The quirky, pet friendly De Stal is one of the most relaxed places you will ever visit with your dog and Duke always has a wonderful time with the 5 others in residence.
This cottage belongs to a very close friend – who is a fine host – so it’s our home away from home and Duke always sulks when it’s time to leave his “cousins”. This cottage has everything you need to be very comfortable and if you don’t want to socialise with the animals there are gates which can be closed!
Old haunts revisited in Riebeek Kasteel
The following morning did not find us as bright as we could have been, but the celebration of the day before was certainly worth it! We ventured gingerly back to Riebeek Kasteel for a spot of retail therapy and strong coffee. Beans about Coffee, situated at the top of the square is the locals’ haunt and always great for breakfast.
Feeling suitably fortified we headed off to Aitsa (27 on Main) – a veritable Alladin’s cave of goodies. Here you will find room after room of beautiful things to buy from organic produce, to shopping baskets to toys and plenty in between! It’s difficult to just look around without feeling the compulsion to spend!
It was followed up by a stroll to Short Street via the gorgeously aromatic Still Pure. I stock up on their sublime soaps every time I come here as I’m frightened of running out one day! They also stock essential oils, fabulous foot creams and tons of lovely smelly stuff that will do your body no end of good!
Crisp (at present to be found in Short Street) is one of the best vegetable stores that I know of around the Western Cape and it’s always such a pleasure to shop here. Apart from delicious fruit and veg, there are spices, olives, cheeses and local meat to enhance the experience. At the end of this month it will be re-named “the biggest little market” and moving to larger premises at the top of the square, opposite Beans about Coffee. I have seen the new space in the making and it’s going to be gorgeous with a brick styled interior, small courtyard and herb garden – opening there at the beginning of April.
Next up is another of our regular stops – the Wine Kollective. Stockists of excellent Swartland wines, at cellar prices, and expertly staffed by people who actually know what they’re talking about. There is always something new to be recommended, tasted and brought home.
A bit of a cultural diversion into the lovely RK Contemporary art gallery next door and a delightful half hour looking at (and trying on) the glorious clothes in Ancient Spirit rendered us more than ready for a “hair of the dog” at the grande dame of Riebeek – The Royal Hotel.
The Royal in Riebeek
The hotel’s stoep has to be one of the best people watching spots in the village. Settled in comfy chairs and with large g&ts to hand, the day improved in leaps and bounds. Friends came and went, as is the norm, and as usual it morphed into a loud and happy gathering. I’m sure we intimidated some foreign tourists, also enjoying this space, when talk turned to baboons and pellet guns which out of context sounded very frightening indeed. You can just imagine the whatsapps going back to family in the
Later that evening we ate at a fairly new restaurant, which everyone had raved about, La Parilla and they were quite right to do so. We sat outside with beautiful views over the vineyards and enjoyed some very fine food indeed. Not to mention good wine and company. This is a great spot and I’m told that the food is always delicious and the chef constantly tries to put a subtle twist on the norm.
And so home to Prince Albert…
All good things come to an end but it is only au revoir not goodbye. Riebeek holds great memories for me and never disappoints when we return, which we do fairly often I’m glad to say.
Hopefully you will be inspired to plan a visit to this vibrant village too!
Header image courtesy of Rooms in Riebeek