During the summer holidays I tried my very best to get down to the sea as often as possible – not always easy in mid-summer in Cape Town when the wind, the traffic and the crowds conspire against you. But fortunately I found myself visiting the beach and swimming in the sea much more often than in previous years… the trick? Go early!
Yip you have to get there before 8 (earlier if possible), then you’ll have the pick of the parking spots and the waves to yourself for a while.
When I did head down to the beach it was always to the False Bay coast. I LOVE this side of Cape Town as it feels far more authentic and real. I love the character of the buildings, the friendly people that you meet swimming in the tidal pools, the village atmosphere…
More than once we visited Fish Hoek, Dalebrook and Muizenberg
After my mom and I spent one such morning enjoying the surf at Muizenberg, we headed home for a quick change and then back to Casa Labia for lunch…
Casa Labia is literally one of my favourite places in Cape Town.
Since I first discovered it a few years ago I’ve tried to pop in often. The main reason for this is that it transports me to another country without having to step on a plane!
Originally built in 1929 as the Italian ambassador’s summer residence, Casa Labia, reflects the spirit of 18th century Venice as it was designed to be in keeping with the former owners, Count and Countess Natale Labia, family home – the Palazzo Labia located on the Grand Canal in the Italian town.
I love stepping through the doors and imaging the grand parties and opulent living that this beautiful building was privy to in years gone by!
This is an extraordinary space – each room reveals another aspect of gracious Italian living – incredible art, crystal chandeliers, gold candelabras. Not to mention the endless sea views across False bay.
My favourite spot to sit at Casa Labia is at the end of the terrace overlooking the sea below. An instant holiday feeling descends as you imagine yourself holidaying on the Italian coast in an incredible villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Recently Cucina Labia at Casa Labia has come under the management of Andrea and Oscar Foulkes and their team from Dish Food 7 Social and I was invited to enjoy a sampling of their new menu.
I invited my mom to join me for lunch so that we could take full advantage of her last few days of holiday and spend some time together without the kids interupting us at every turn! Plus she really deserves to be served instead of doing all the serving herself!
It proved to be a wonderful idea and a great way to make some memories together.
A piping hot day, we opted for the terrace so we could enjoy the view, smug in the knowledge that we’d already enjoyed our swim in the sea for the day at the very beach we could see was full to capacity!
Our meal started with a very generous bread board that was far too tempting to resist, along with a glass of the house white and rose wine….
We were here to enjoy a leisurely lunch so we started with starters – the Tuscan Salad with rocket, capers, olives, brinjals, dried peach and almost dressing served with crispy squid was our favourite while the Antipasto selection of charcuterie & artisanal cheeses is worth sharing as a light lunch for 2.
For mains I was tempted by the Fish of the day (Kingklip) served with Malay seafood crust, snoek, speck and apricot with sweet potato.
I conceded and let my mom order the fish dish while I opted for the Leg of lam kataifi “wellington” with almost, white anchovy, leek puree, fennel and bay leaf cream. We both agreed my choice was ultimately the winner. This was a dish bursting with flavour and every mouthful was delicious.
As the afternoon unfolded the temperature kept rising so when it came to ordering dessert there was only 1 option – it had to be cold!
Fortunately we found 2 good options on the menu that would cool us down from within – I ordered the Litchi lime sorbet with sponge, turkish delight, coconut & cardamom. It was a unique mix of textures and flavours that was a real treat….
But this time my mom’s order was the winner. She chose the Affogato: Amarula chocolate & vanilla ice cream sphere with espresso & hazelnut biscotti – all served in the most original way!
Before leaving we spent a few more minutes meandering through the beautiful building, admiring the Labia family’s personal art collection and memorabilia, and, of course, that view!
Cucina Labia is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday 10h00 to 16h00, Saturday to Sunday 09h00 to 16h00 and Friday evenings 18h00 to 22h00. It’s an ideal venue for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or a cup of very good coffee. Breakfast is only served on the weekends.
Every Saturday and Sunday between 13h00 and 16h00 talented pianist Jean-Paul Grimaldi-Lasserre plays a diverse repertoire of classical music to popular modern works.
Tel: 021 788 6062
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Images: Kathryn Rossiter