A few weekends ago I gave my husband a “pink ticket” to head out to the winelands to enjoy a day (and night) of wine
tasting drinking with one of his best mates.
This friend has been going through some ups and downs recently and I felt it was important for them to get some “guy time” in. Whether you’re a mom or dad, you’ll know that this type of “day off” doesn’t happen often once you’re married with kids, so they set off with the biggest grins on their faces and I was left to face 24 hours on my ace…
Except a few days prior to this I had been invited to enjoy a meal at Ginja, a sophisticated eatery located on the water’s edge and overlooking Table Mountain in the V&A Waterfront. My heart sank. Firstly my husband was going to be otherwise occupied so we couldn’t go together and secondly, even if I opted to take someone else along, my backup babysitter (aka their Dad!) was, once again, busy!
So I faced the sad fact that I would most likely have to cancel this exciting outing…
Until I had an epiphany. What if I “farmed” my kids out to friends or family to sleep over for the night!? Fortunately my son was invited to spend the night at one of his friends and my mom stepped in as a spot for my daughter… until my sister phoned and offered she could extend her cousin play date into a cousin sleepover. Winning at life, right!?
I was thrilled. Now all I needed was a date.
My high school bestie was top of the list… once upon a time spent years of our lives catching up on the daily details of life. Now we’re lucky if we get to spend a few hours together every few months. We are both in vastly different parenting stages. Me = pre-teens, Her = pre-toddler. My weekends are full of sports matches and birthday parties while hers are spent chasing her 1 year old around the kid-friendly spots of Cape Town and making sure she sticks to the bedtime routine if she’s got any hope of a good night’s sleep!
We’d been trying to connect since mid-December…. and it was now February!! The last time she went out past dusk was when I invited her to join me for a spa night. She REALLY was in need of a break and a couple of glasses of bubbles and a delicious meal in beautiful surroundings was just the ticket!
As both my kids were at their respective nights out I was given the luxury of getting ready for a night out in total silence. For the first time in over 10 years I had the house to myself and I was able to get read for a night out in peace. It was heaven. I applied my makeup, chose my outfit, spritz my perfume – all at my own pace. Usually all of these tasks involve me running in and out of the room chasing kids to “finish their supper” or “brush their teeth” or “put on their pj’s” etc etc.
I couldn’t quite believe it when we set off for the Waterfront while it was still light outside!!! We were like… two moms let out for the first time in forever!! No need for a metaphor there! We were the MOST excited two people at the Waterfront that beautiful balmy summer’s evening!!
The restaurant didn’t disappoint! It’s location is world class with one of the best views in Cape Town… A panorama of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill!
The tables outside were, quite rightly, packed with patrons enjoying a sundowner so we opted to sit inside, but with a table next to the window so we could still enjoy the atmosphere outside…
Inside we were greeted by the beautiful, sophisticated space. The restaurant is spacious with plenty of seating. There is a coffee bar and a “real” bar serving the most delicious cocktails (as we were to find out later in the evening!!)
The decor is modern and warm…. I loved the unique copper light fittings, black bevelled metro tiles and fiddle leaf fig trees. (spoken like a recent renovator 😉 )
After enjoying a welcome glass of bubbles we set about deciding what to order from their All Day Dining menu
I opted for the deep fried Patagonian Calamari (although it can be cajun grilled) with a side order of zesty barley from the extensive Side Dishes menu. My pescatarian bestie ordered the Seared Yellowfin Tuna and she chose the deep fried cauliflower side. We also decided to “go huge” and try the sweet potato fries side dish too! We ended up with too much food 😉
All of our food choices proved to be delicious. We tried a sample of each other’s choices to get a good idea of what worked best and my personal favourites were the zesty barley, the deep fried cauli and the calamari.
And then it was time for dessert… you didn’t think we would skip that, did you?! There’s ALWAYS space for dessert esp if it involves chocolate. Initially we both wanted to order the same item on the menu… because it was the CHOCOLATE CREAM, HONEY WAFER, PISTACHIO ICE CREAM & CHOC BROWNIE. I mean how do you say no to that?? But our waiter convinced us to try two different options and so went for the Chocolate Brownie Sandwich from the kids menu. It was massive. Far too big for me to finish let alone someone half my size! Unfortunately it was also rather hard having come out the freezer I assume as it contained ice cream. I must admit to having a bit of order envy when I tasted my friend’s dessert. This was the one I should have gone for! Decadence to the extreme with an assortment of flavours and textures. Serious YUM.
We rounded out our Mom’s Night Out with a potent cocktail each… which I’m ashamed to say neither of us could finish as we’ve both become rather light weight when it comes to serious drinks. Our 18-year-old selves would be embarrassed… and totally would have downed the drinks with no thought of the repurcussions the next morning… Now we have 5am wakings to deal with. Well, one of us does! I went home to an empty house for the very first time in 10 years. And it was seriously odd! After all the dreaming of what bliss a full night’s sleep and a lie-in would be… I missed the bodies in the beds next to me and down the passage and found it really bizarre.
Funny how what’s “normal” can change so much in just a few years. Our new normal is vastly different from that of our late teens… and, like I discovered when I got a taste of the other, I’m actually ok with that!
Ginja Restaurant (part of the Newmark Hotel Group)
Waterfront Pierhead, Noble Square at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Tel: +27 21 419 6677
Email: [email protected]
Images: Kathryn Rossiter