Feast your eyes while you fill your stomach at Cape Town's new gallery cafes
First Thursdays have the perfect recipe for an inspiring evening with both art and food served in generous quantities, but why make it only a once-a-month thing?
These two new gallery cafes encourage you to enjoy art with your morning caffeine fix and feast your eyes over lunch.
Ground Art Caffe
Ground Art Caffe, a De Waterkant gem, has an Italian cafe inspiration with a focus on great coffee (the cafe’s own top-quality African Arabica blend from an artisan roaster) accompanied by panini, antipasto platters, pastries and decadent treats including the appealing pomegranate, pistachio and yoghurt cake. Freshly squeezed juices and superfood smoothies add a health kick to your day.
The micro exhibitions displayed on the front wall have already been incredibly successful. “We originally decided to focus on young emerging South African artists,” says co-owner Lisa Cormack-Thomson, “assisting with framing to present their beautiful work the way it deserves.”
Fine art graduates Danielle Jade Paul and Pamela Bentley have had two sell-out exhibitions, Amy Ayanda’s abstract mixed-media paintings sold well and gathered many commissions.
“We are evolving and have decided to also exhibit work by not-so-young South African artists and some internationals,” adds Lisa. The current show is by illustrator Caroline Tomlinson titled Lunar.
The 99 Loop gallery, on the corner of Church Street and the heart of the First Thursdays route, showcases a wide selection of emerging and established artists and recently added a restaurant to its offering. Solo’s peaceful courtyard and exposed brick interior are the perfect place to chill in between viewing the exhibitions in the various gallery spaces.
With art on the cafe walls also for sale and a fresh, unpretentious menu from chef Chad Blows (formerly of The Marine in Hermanus and the Greenhouse under chef Peter Tempelhoff) it’s an oasis of calm in the busy CBD.
Open for breakfast and lunch (and, of course, dinner on First Thursdays) the eggs Benedict has already gained a loyal following. Light home-made gnocchi with mushrooms comes highly recommended as do the free-range rib-eye steaks, and chocolate pecan brownies and cookies to go with excellent coffee. At the moment, 99 Loop is exhibiting three solo shows by women artists: Clare Menck, Karen Cronje and Jeanne Hoffman.
This article was originally published in one of the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za, like YourNeighbourhoodZA on Facebook and follow YourHoodZA on Twitter.