Plant Café, Cape Town

Every time I travel I make it my goal to find as many new vegan restaurants as I possibly can. And every time I return to the same city, there’s always more. As this was my first trip to South Africa, I didn’t know what to expect. From what I’d heard, some people here thought chicken was a vegetable and that butter didn’t come from a cow. Veganism was a foreign language and people who didn’t eat ice-cream were aliens… and biltong was the norm. Biltong.

Potentially one of the most horrendous foods I’ve ever laid my eyes on, biltong is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e over here. Picture beef jerky on steroids. And it being thicker, dirtier and more commonplace… and half the time covered in flies. With biltong apparently it can be a bit of a lucky dip. You may get ostrich. Or it could be beef. Maybe it’s shark. Or springbok. Ya’ never know! It sits on bars and benches in bowls as nuts or cashews would back home. Absolutely putrid, but apparently popular. W….T…..F.

Sids (my partner) and I had really struggled in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. For example, in PE I asked for a salad sandwich with no butter, and plants ONLY as the filling. It was brought out to me with cheese, bacon and butter. WTF a-gain! I proceeded to have five different meals from five different restaurants after that which all had to be sent back. They just didn’t get it. Hotel life isn’t as glamorous as people make it out to be and finding restaurants or food that cater to a vegan diet (or know what it is) can be quite hard to find in countries like South Africa.

Moving forward, the countries reputation rested in the more European-ish Cape Town (aka Cape Christ-give-me-some-quality-food). There were almost tears of joy and puddles of saliva when we pulled into the first vegan pit stop on my drool-stained visit list – Plant Café.

The entirely vegan menu at Plant Cafe is out of this world. The overall setting of the place was Melbourne-ish and had a very welcoming and humble feel to it. Tick. I had the breakfast wrap with a tofu scramble, caramelised onions, quinoa, home-smoked tempeh bacon and sealed with homemade vegan cream cheese. Heaven-on-earth. I washed it down with a spicy mango and lime smoothie consisting of chilli (yes, chilli – no typo there), ice, mango, nutmeg, lime, hempseed and flaxseed. Liquid gold! It was SO nice to be eating proper food again.

Another absolute belter on the menu was the Mint-Chocolate Chip smoothie made with rice milk, mint, spinach, banana, protein, ice and raw cacao chips. Extra thick and extra delicious.

Plant Café made me take my first step back over the fence and helped me bury the horrifying visionary of biltong still lingering in my brain. A vegan delight open for breakfast and lunch (with amazing raw desserts as well) during the week and a place any vegan in CT should pay a visit too. Lovely, attentive staff, a clean, earthy environment and amazing, fresh and healthy food – what more could you want!DSC00974

Plant Café

Urban Hub – 142 Buitengracht St,

Cape Town
SOUTH AFRICA

www.plantcafe.co.za

9 Comments

  • Abbey says:

    Hi Anna,
    Wonderful article. I am not South African myself or planning a trip, but I will definitely keep this great place in mind if I ever do travel to Cape Town.

  • Abbey says:

    Re my previous comment, I accidentally submitted it. The website address was just a test of random letters to see if the box did anything different if I put it a proper web address, I do not have a website (perhaps should I put a social media address?)
    Sorry to bother you, I actually had more to say, as follows:
    I want to thank you for this wonderful blog and your Instagram posts. Your wonderful recipes and meal options, as well as your travel experiences, have been very useful. The latter has been especially helpful as I embark on my new project (8096 words and counting!) – a novel featuring three main characters who are plant-based semi-superheroes!
    P.S. I absolutely adore the font used for this blog. It’s gorgeous! xx

  • Jen says:

    Hello Anna,

    Aw…you missed quite a few vegan/vegan friendly spots in Cape Town! Bolo-Bolo Vegan Cafe, The Tibetan Tea House, Alive Cafe ( vegetarian but many vegan options ), Slow Life ( mostly vegan with some vegetarian options ), Stoked ( vegetarian with many vegan options), Maharajah’s ( no-egg vegetarian and vegan ) and Govindas. Lots more here: http://www.vegansa.co.za in their dining out section. Next time! 🙂

    • admin says:

      Hi Jen,

      Damn it, there is always going to be a few! Unfortunately we were rather restricted for time when we were there and my partner didn’t have much flexibility. We did go to a wonderful burger bar though, the name escapes me, that did wonderful vegan burger options – fantastic!

      I will definitely have to get to the other places next time i’m in town. I love Cape Town – it has so much to offer.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post and commenting on other vegan places for next time!

      Anna x

  • Nikki Botha says:

    You’re wayyyyy too cool for school! 🙂

  • Lynette says:

    Hi Anna, beautifully said. As a South African, having turned to veganism while living abroad, the biltong on my return was also, and still is, such a hard one!

    I hope when you visit again you will visit the much loved (by me and so many others) VegTable just outside Knysna on the Garden Route. (I’ve blogged several times about Brett’s incredible vegan delights.)

    I’m also visiting Jozi soon and hope to visit Conscious 108, as well as Leaft Greens Cafe. Check them out if you next visit Jozi.

    As far as Plant Cafe goes, yes here’s to a wonderful, wonderful piece of culinary paradise for us vegans, the veg- curious and anyone else who is lucky enough to enjoy their healthful, compassionate options.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • admin says:

      Hi Lynette,

      Thanks very much for reading and your lovely response.

      You’re right, Biltong is very hard. I don’t understand that one!

      Thanks for sharing the other vegan places. I will definitely have to check them out when I return to SA.

      Thanks for reading! x

      Anna x

  • Grant Nash says:

    GREAT PIECE on the incredible PLANT Anna 🙂
    Sad you missed all the great VEGAN places in JHB though. We have three great vegan places and two great veggie places.
    Next time you in town check out http://vegansa.com/dining-out-area.php
    Thanks for spreading the VEGAN LOVE. Hopefully next time you come to town you will have a better food experience and the Proteas will have better luck against your boys LOL.

    • admin says:

      Hi Grant,

      ha! We got out very lucky against the Proteas I think. A very good contest.

      Thanks for your response. I absolutely loved Plant! We really struggled finding good places in Port Elizabeth in particular. In saying that thought, I went to a market in J’burg and they has quite a number of stalls with vegan options. I was pleasantly surprised. I also went to Nobu a few times in Cape Town. Whilst it’s not a vegan restaurant, they do vegan really well and the waitresses were all pretty knowledgable about what was in the dishes. I recommend it too!

      If you’re ever in Aus, i’ll be happy to share some on my favourite vegan restaurants for you. I’ve got a list as long as my torso and as you said, always happy to spread the vegan love!

      Thanks for reading,

      Anna x

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