{Review} Nooka Café

One of my favorite veggie restaurants in the Mother City has to be Nooka Café. This vegetarian & vegan coffee shop is situated in Roeland Street, Cape Town and serves a variety of hearty Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. It’s my absolute go-to place for a falafel fix since I can’t get my hands on Falafel Fundi’s fluffiness.

Nooka opened its doors in November last year, by good friends Eliav Vanunu and Or Sivan. The idea was simple – to complement the existing veg/vegan restaurants in Cape Town but bring their own twist into the mix with atmosphere, flavor, and design. Eliav told me that both him and Or believe in following a healthy, meat-free lifestyle (yay!) and so they wanted to share their views and love for Israeli cuisine in this fast-growing market. All their dishes, health drinks, and juices are freshly made/squeezed and they try to support local suppliers as far as possible. They are also part of our phenomenal Green Monday movement and promote eating plant-based foods at least one day a week.

Nooka Cafe Cape Town

As mentioned, the menu offers a combination of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean flavors, which is the essence of Israeli cuisine. The most traditionally Israeli dishes are the Nooka Shakshuka and Sabich on a Plate – omit the egg and you have yourself a fine vegan meal. I’ve been to Nooka Café more than a couple of times and tried many of their marvelous dishes, but my old-time favorite is starting off with The Nook (a tahini, banana, dates & soy milk drink @ R33) and then ordering a few smaller items to share around the table. For two pax, I suggest ordering the following:

  • 2x Nooka Lentil Falafels (@ R30 per portion) because you’ll want more than two balls each!
  • 1x Hummus plate (@ R50 per portion) but ask for an extra pita bread.
  • 1x Nooka Home Fries (@ R30 per portion) – trust me, they are not the fries you have in mind.
  • 1x Salad of your choice… I like the Pan Salad without feta (@ R70) or, of course, the Vegan Salad (@ R65)

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Nooka Café is open from 7am to 6pm Monday – Saturday, but hope to keep their doors open for late night snacking during the silly summer season. They offer free Wi-Fi which makes it a great spot for a quick business lunch (hence the reason Galia and I were there again yesterday), but parking is just always a bit of a b*itch. The exciting news is that they are looking to expand! As soon as they secure a top spot in Sea Point, they’ll open up branch number two.

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Pop into Nooka Café and delight your taste buds the next time you find yourself in the Gardens area. You can also follow Nooka on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Vegan love,
Leo xx

{Review} Top Vegan Burger Joints in Cape Town

As an Afrikaans traditionalist I love a salacious hamburger; a gourmet patty oozing with barbeque sauce, crowned with creative toppings and complimented with signature sides. Cape Town has no shortage of prime burger joints but up till recently the vegans amongst us struggled to find anything other than soya cardboard on a burnt bun. Fortunately veganism is slowly but surely creeping its way onto menus and I have scattered through the hipster corners of the Mother City to find burgers with salivating status.  Today I jubilantly bring you my current top vegan burger eat-outs in town.

IYO Burgers 

Vegan burger CT_IYO 1

IYO Burgers (Inside and You’re Out Burgers) is an urban, ego chic burger bar based in Bree Street. This intimate little bar was born from a food truck concept that captivated the taste buds of guests visiting the City Bowl Market. It officially opened its doors next to the popular La Parada merely two months ago and already Capetonians are queuing for a table at this new it-spot. Every burger on the menu can be ordered traditionally with a bun or the healthy, bunless way in bowl of crispy greens, a selection of sides are included. The vegan Health Nut (R76) was my obvious choice, ordered bunless with a side of spicy kale crisps. It consists of a curried lentil, aubergine, flax seed and sweet potato patty, filled with cashew nuts and topped with baby spinach, hummus, loads of avocado, sprouts, wild rocket and their homemade, creamy vegan-cashew mayo. I easily demolished my bowl guilt-free.

Hudsons 

Vegan burger CT_Hudsons 1

Hudsons is probably one of the most renowned Cape Town restaurants acknowledged for their bangin’ burgers.  They perfected the balance of producing an old-world, American diner feel in a contemporary setting.  It is a trendy favourite for locals, tourists, meat-lovers and vegetarians. They have two veggie burger options on their vast menu that can be adjusted to suit our vegan needs, not to mention their sweet potato fries are what starchy dreams are made off. Both burgers have a chickpea and lentil base but The Meridian (R45) is topped with mustard mayo, tomato relish, red onions & jalapeños, while The Stack (69) features caramelized onion marmalade, herbed goats cheese & avo (vegan can remove the goats cheese). Equally they go down pretty well with a craft beer.

Royale Eatery 

Vegan burger CT_Royale Eatery 1

When you roll out of Royale Eatery in Long Street, expect to be expecting a royal burger baby. For Sebastian’s first love of burgers and beer, I treated him to Royale Eatery on his 27th birthday. Royale is a restaurant with burgers that make your soul tingle and your dreams come true. Their menu consists of pages and pages and a few more pages of mouth-watering burgers. Over 50 in total of which 18 are vegetarian/vegan! I have never been so indecisive when choosing a meal, probably as us vegans usually have a mere option or three to ponder over. After much thought I settled for the Georgia Brown: A vegan, wheat-free patty made from black-eyed beans and finely cut seasonal vegetables; topped with fresh Italian parsley and homemade sundried tomato pesto (R77). Indulged in its sweet appeal, I managed to clear my plate and leave the restaurant with an overly gratified birthday boy. The Royale Eatery is definitely the best place to line your stomach with a group of friends before hitting out to paint the town pink. A thoughtful suggestion, book in advance and wear something that can stretch over your bulging burger belly.

Craft Burger Bar 

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Ordering vegan meals could become quite an intricate task. I always feel sorry for the flabbergasted waiter trying to write down my order with three items to swop, two ingredients to adapt and additional bites on the side.  Therefore, build your own menus have become my magic tool to ordering wholesome vegan meals that doesn’t require an instruction manual. Our recent delectable find is Craft Burger Bar, situated right at the end of Regent Road in Sea Point. This intimate restaurant seats about 30 people inside and out. The menu consists of ten burgers that can be easily adapted into vegan delights. But the fun begins on the back of the menu…  building your own burger in 8 easy steps. The standard burger (R49) includes a patty (beef, chicken or veggie), a bun (or not) and four toppings. For the premium toppings, cheese, sauce and sides you pay an additional fee per item. I indulged in a veggie patty, half bun, lettuce, chilli, sautéed onions and a grilled pineapple, topped with guacamole and spicy chakalaka. An interesting yet heavenly combination, just watch out for the chilli! The thick, homemade patty is packed with real veggies, not the frozen type you buy in a box or get served at a fast food retailer as I anticipated.  Sebastian had the Wellington with chopped garlic, fresh chillies and fried onion rings, which I might order the vegan way next time around. Our helpings were substantial and settled every craving for the day in one meal. I am looking forward to our return and already masterminding my next creative stack.

Do you have a favourite vegan burger joint in Cape Town?

Let me know, I’d love to go 🙂

{Review} Vegan-friendly Valentine’s Dinner at Siagon

Saigon is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Cape Town. Sebastian actually took me there for our Valentine’s Day dinner after searching for a pleasant vegan-friendly menu for over three hours. He deserves a pat on the back for finding this … Continue reading

{Review} Mugg & Bean

I have always been a big fan of the legendary Mugg & Bean. I am completely addicted to their Mocca Java and House Blend coffees and love the fact that I can get up and serve myself whenever I want to. Their food has always been pretty darn good as well – a big menu offering you massive portions of delicious meals. What made me even more impressed though is that they also have VEGAN options on the menu and that they are quite accommodative in swopping food items to suit my vegan needs. They also offer soya milk as a replacement for normal milk at no extra cost (although I love my coffee black and bitter).

Since I have turned vegan, I have gone to the Canal Walk branch twice. First up was breakfast: They didn’t have a vegan breakfast on the menu, but they were completely happy with me ordering the M&B OTG breakfast and swopping the egg and bacon for grilled brown mushrooms and fried banana. Nom nom nom!

- M&B OTG breakfast with a bit of a twist

– M&B OTG breakfast with a bit of a twist

The second time around, my mom and I went for lunch during the middle of a very busy shopping-Sunday. My mom & dad actually told me about a Thai pot pie dish on the Mugg & Bean menu that said VEGAN next to it and thus I was quite intrigued to find out what it was. It was delicious – that is what it was! It is called the Thai Squash Pie (R65.90) which can be found under the comfort food section of the menu. It is made from oven-roasted butternut, sweet potato and mushrooms which is simmered in a Thai curry coconut milk sauce and topped with a crispy coriander breadcrumb topping. Strangely, I had pocket-potatoes instead of sweet potato in my dish, but it didn’t bother me much. (I would perhaps have a little bit less of the breadcrumb topping though as I am not the biggest breadcrumb fan). You experience a blast of sweet, spicy, crispy and creamy all in one bite. And to top it off you get a big portion of a basic green salad on the side. I strongly recommend this dish to all vegan friends out there – I literally liked the last drop of sauce out the bowl using my fingers. Very classy of me I know!

- M&B Vegan Thai Squash Pie

– M&B Vegan Thai Squash Pie

While paging through the menu I also spotted a vegan Moroccan Butternut, chickpea and carrot soup (R37.90)which I will go back for in winter.  Warning, they offer a lot of vegetarian dishes which are all marked with a V – these are not vegan. Both vegan dished are marked VEGAN on the menu.

For more information, you can have a look at the Mugg & Bean menu online here and follow them on Facebook here. I really appreciate restaurant willing to help out a vegan in need. Thank you Mugg & Bean and keep up the good work, I will definitely be back soon!