On Friday afternoon Haarlem & Hope was officially opened in the Company’s Garden, now operated by the Madame Zingara Group, having won the tender from the City of Cape Town. The restaurant opens to the public tomorrow.
Owner Richard Griffin is an excellent showmaster, which we have seen in his quirky restaurants such as the Bombay Bicycle Club, and his Madame Zingara shows are a must-see in acrobatics, entertainment, and food served with precision for hundreds (perhaps Eat Out can contract him to handle the catering for the Eat Out Restaurant Awards in 2015)!
The name comes from the Dutch ship Nieuwe Haarlem, which was shipwrecked at the Cape in 1647. Crew members stayed at the Cape for a year before being picked up by another passing Dutch ship, and in that time the crew planted vegetables, which they bartered for fresh meat from the Khoi living here already. Jan van Riebeek arrived five years later, expanding the vegetable gardening to create the Company’s Garden.
The first thing one notices on arrival is the weaver bird nest-like hanging baskets at the right of the entrance, made by designer Porky Hefer, who also created similar ones at Babylonstoren. This will be a big hit for big and small children! Tables are set up, with seating for 40 inside and 80 outside.
Richard and his team had kindly reserved a table for me, which I initially shared with Dagmar Schumacher, and thereafter with Malcolm and Jean Griffin, Richard’s parents, real characters and very entertaining to chat to. There were hundreds of guests attending the launch, the men receiving a cowboy-style hat and the ladies a Japanese fan. The Madame Zingara staff brought tasters of dishes to our table, including pork sausages, ostrich bobotie, delicious calamari, prawns, feta pesto, pea soup, and lots more.
The menu is extensive, beginning with Breakfast, which is served until midday. It ranges in cost from R29 for eggs and soldiers, to R72 for a Van der Stel, consisting of beef sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, eggs, hash brown, and toast. Toasted cheeses range from R35 – R48. Sandwiches called ‘Huguenot Collection’ include smoorsnoek and onion jam (R55), and smoked salmon, avocado, sprouts, and chive crème fraîche (R73). A collection of salads starts at R60, and includes a Greek salad, Salmon trout, beef tagliata, and Cobb salad. Starters range from R40 – R62, including Cape country soup, bobotie roti, a West Coast mussel pot, and Cajun grilled calamari. Light meals include fish and chips, Dhaltjie burger as well as chicken and beef burgers, and Fisherman’s and Ploughman’s Platters, ranging in price from R60 – R75. A Gardeners’ Lunch Table offers daily dishes served with bread and vegetables and greens picked from the Company’s Garden, at R85. Main courses start at R80, for penne with rocket, and peak at R185 for a Cape country sampler, an ideal tourist dish consisting of ‘tastes of the Cape‘, with tamatie bredie, smoorsnoek, bobotie, yellow rice, orange sweet potato, and peach pickle. Desserts cost between R30 – R40, and include scones, pastries, koeksisters, Malva pudding, and apple berry crumble. A children’s menu is offered too.
The winelist caters for different budgets, but sadly does not provide vintage information. It starts off with a heavy-wight The Big Five, consisting of a wine each from Groot Constantia, Nederburg, Rust en Vrede, Meerlust, and Simonsig (R175 – R450). Six of eight white wines are offered by the glass, ranging from R34/R130 to R55/R185. Eight red wines are offered, of which three are by the glass, ranging from R38/R140 – R48/R180. Five MCCs are offered, starting at R38/R145 (Robertson Brut), with Villiera Monro Brut the most pricey at R345.
The Cape Town Partnership is also involved in the Company Garden Revitalisation Project, and its MD Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana shared that the City Walk had recently been launched, which starts in the Company’s Garden. She said that Haarlem & Hope is a family-orientated restaurant, and offers ‘food which you can afford’. Tim Harris spoke on behalf of the City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. He thanked the Dutch East India Company for choosing Cape Town as its halfway stop between Holland and the East, the choice having been based on the fertile land, the strategic position, the good fishing, and the ‘indigenous people were less hostile here‘! He said that Cape Town is the launchpad into Africa. He congratulated the Madame Zingara Group for having captured the essence of our city in transforming the former Tea Room into Haarlem & Hope.
The Tea Room interior transformation was done by Liesel Crafford of KONSEP Studios, eco-consciousness being the focus. Nature was flattered and mimicked outside the building, Interplant having done the landscaping, while a team of architects (360 Architecture, GBC Builders and CNDV Africa) did the design of the structural changes, which was influenced by the heritage status of the building. Suppliers of interior design elements were Weylandts, James Mudge, Skinny La Minx (wallpaper), and Love Milo (ceramics). The outdoor space is for all to enjoy, and does not force anyone to use the restaurant.
When the announcement was made that the Madame Zingara Group had won the restaurant tender, they sent us background information. The Group motivated its tender on its ‘love affair with the Mother City‘, loving its culture and heritage. Griffin said at the time: ‘We are humbled and extremely excited by the opportunity to transform this restaurant into a place where all walks of life can continue to enjoy this iconic space. We take the sense of community, heritage and cultural pride very seriously and will continue to take great care to involve the people of Cape Town in celebrating this public jewel. On this journey we have been very privileged to not only work on this exciting tender, but to gain an incredible amount of insight into the this beautiful city that we call home’. The plan is to ‘educate them (visitors) about the cultural and heritage value of the Company’s Gardens’. It is intended to become a centre of relaxation, away from the busy buzz of the city centre close by. Events are planned which will celebrate ‘life in the heart of the Mother City‘.
The menu shows that it is weighted to tourists, but locals will enjoy rediscovering the Company’s Garden, the lovely trees and lawns, the beautiful view onto Table Mountain, the safe space for their children to run around in, and the new Haarlem & Hope restaurant.
Haarlem & Hope, Company’s Garden, Cape Town. Tel (021) 423-2919 www.haarlemandhope.co.za, Twitter: @Madame_Zingara Monday – Sunday 7h30 – 18h00.