A South African dish dating back to the 17th century

Hello again fellow foodies and travelers!

As South Africa is soon to be the country with the longest lockdown globally, there is very little to say at this point. Our economy is in big trouble but as we have proven again and again that we have the ability to adapt and survive.

It has been quite hard to keep up with all the news, blogs and webinars. You can’t possibly know when is the right time to apply all the advice given. For a small food tour company here in the heart of Cape Town, it has been very hard but we are more motivated than ever to start running our tours again soon. We are really looking forward to reopening our doors and showing guests the great food and drink scene of Cape Town.

If you are in Cape Town keep an eye open for a few new products that will be made available soon.
We, amongst many of our friends and relatives, are ready to hit the bars and social life as soon as we can. With that said we are looking to host experiences focused on our locals as well as international travelers.

Our experiences will remain focused on small groups with no more than 10 people per experience. We will also be focused on hygiene along the way and within all stops our tours visit. So if you are looking to get out and about in a safe environment as soon as bars and restaurants open, well then look us up.

Cause Effect Bar

Cocktail and malva pudding tasting at Cause Effect.

On a more current note, we recently partnered with one of our Cape Town Essentials Tour’s restaurants, Café Charles. I have a very special place in my heart for them, I love their location, their team and what they stand for as a restaurant. With all the restaurants being closed for sit down customers and only able to do takeaways I have seen them do everything in their power to ensure they pull through the pandemic.

One challenge restaurants are facing during this time is the decision to sell on food delivery services. These platforms help smaller restaurants by marketing them to a bigger audience but that comes at a price. Most food delivery services take between 20% – 30% of the listed price. Add that up with the service fees, they make a small fortune however restaurants end up making less or they simply have no choice but to increase their prices to make anything out of it.

We decided to take our camera into the Café Charles kitchen to see what chef Shaun Dampies was up to. Shaun has been making mouth-watering food for the past 20 years, and trust me he makes a kick-ass Bobotie. Bobotie, a very traditional dish dating back to the early 1600s, has been included in our tours from day one. We decided to follow Shaun around and watch him as he makes this famous dish step by step.

Check out the video we made below.

Shaun along with the restaurant owners Mark and Justine are extremely passionate about the quality of their food. They know exactly what goes into each dish and that shows as soon as you taste anything leaving the kitchen. Digging into their Bobotie it took me back to my grandma’s kitchen full of freshly baked goods, jams and bobotie ready to go in the oven. You get a warm homely feeling from the team and the food takes you right back.

The beef Bobotie is made with beef shin meat, the flavour and texture of the meat brings the dish together for me. These days you don’t know what is in minced meat anymore so I applaud them for their reluctancy to not give in when it comes to quality.

Café Charles gets its Cape Malayan spices and a few other products from Atlas Trading, a very famous spice shop in Cape Town known to all locals. They have everything from fresh cinnamon, rose water, saffron, curry spice and so much more. be sure You to pop in as if you find yourself in the Bo-Kaap area.

Back to the Bobotie making, it was so much fun! Shaun covered all the tips and tricks to help me get the best flavour into my dish. He also spoke about his family and how proud he is to be working with the team at Café Charles. Even though it is hard times, you still see the passion and love for what he does everyday.

Bobotie and Coffee

Bobotie is served!

The Bobotie was terrific, just like my grandmother’s. It has some amazing flavour coming out in every bite. Who would think that the dish is so simple to make? Truly a dish for everyone.

Thank you, Shaun, Mark and Justine for the wonderful morning with you. Thank you for sharing your passion and Bobotie secrets with us. We wish the team of Cafe Charles all the best in this time.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that tours would be able to start again soon so we can introduce great restaurants to all the curious travelers out there. Keep well everyone, enjoy the video and please remember to support local.