I have been looking forward to writing a blog about Bree Street for some time now. So I was really excited to head down there on a beautiful Cape Town afternoon to soak up some of the energy of this vibrant street and to find out, is this really Cape Town’s trendiest?
Since 2013, this well-known street has been under construction with old buildings being refreshed and renovated and then rising from the rubble like phoenixes. In fact, since the days that I started my very first job in this part of town, fresh out of university, this street has transformed itself into one of the Mother City’s trendiest, loved by hipsters and the creatives that make up this dynamic city.
With new eateries and designer shops popping up on every street corner, this street is as cool as Kloof Street, with a touch more attitude and glamour. But don’t just take my word for it, here are ten reasons why you must visit Bree Street when next in Cape Town:
1. Jason (no 185)
Why start at Jason? Well, because we all love a good cup of perfectly roasted coffee in the morning, and Jason’s Bakery is just the place to get it. Every morning you’ll find a small crowd gathering outside the hatch, eagerly waiting for their morning fix and one of their to-die-for pastries. I simply love everything about it – from the fresh smell of croissants wafting through the air mixed with the infectious smell of coffee beans to the interesting folk, you will meet here. Try one of their gourmet sandwiches, like The Greek, filled with hummus and slow-roasted lamb. A Cape Town institution with the best coffee in town!
2. Kirsten Goss (no 229)
Located at the top end of Bree Street, in her trademark dark grey building lies a true treasure trove. Kirsten Goss launched her flagship store in 2002 in London’s Kensington Church Street, and since then has opened a store in her home town of Durban and recently in Johannesburg. Her internationally acclaimed jewellery is like Kirsten herself; instantly recognizable, bold, beautiful and utterly enchanting. She has a brilliant way with colour, which she uses liberally, that can be traced back to her South African roots. KG counts international celebrities such as Rosamund Pike and Sarah Jessica Parker amongst her fans, and even designed some pieces for Prince William and Kate’s wedding. Need I say more?
3. Missibaba (no 229)
Right next door and sharing the same store space with KG is Missibaba, a funky local luxury accessories brand. Established in 2005 by leather devotee Chloe Townsend and her creative partner Lizel Strydom, this shop features trendy bags and accessories with funky geometric patterns and designs for the hip and glamorous. Each item is meticulously hand-crafted in locally and internationally sourced leather, and each is a work of art. They only create a limited number of each design and colour, so you are assured that you will be one of only a few wearing your bag.
4. Sababa Kitchen & Deli (no 231)
A few shops down towards Buitensingel Street you’ll find a lunchtime treat. Think big harvest table generously filled to the brim with a selection of beautifully prepared Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style dishes. Sababa’s food is prepared daily by owners Tal Smith and her sister Nirit together with their team of passionate chefs and shows a real love for healthy, tasty and uncomplicated food. The perfect location for a quick light lunch, their delicious curries and salads (not to mention their balsamic glazed beef fillet and deboned roast leg of lamb), will have your taste buds jumping for joy!
5. Orphanage Cocktail Emporium (no 227)
Just a few buildings back from Sababa, on the corner of Orphan Street, lies one of the Mother City’s trendiest cocktail bars. This is a favourite haunt of Cape Town’s hip and happening and gets pretty full on a Friday and Saturday night. The name itself plays homage to an orphanage that once existed in the church around the corner. One of my personal favourites, this friendly little cocktail bar (that turns into a club at night) has an intimate and glamorous feel with its eye-catching chandelier installation above you as you walk in. They serve artisan cocktails with Victorian names such as ‘More Tea Vicar’ and ‘Jammy Dodger’. For a fabulous cocktail, funky beats and playful food (I love the toasted bun with crayfish, Asian slaw and truffle fries!) the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is hard to beat.
6. La Parada (no 107)
Located in an old Art Deco building much further down on Bree, La Parada recently opened its doors as the sister restaurant to its much-loved Kalk Bay counterpart. Already one of the new hotspots on Bree, you will be hard-pressed to find a table at sundown. Serving up authentic Spanish tapas from the Seville region, this trendy restaurant perfectly blends two Spanish passions – food and socializing. Sit at long communal tables perfect for sharing tapas favourites like paprika calamari, croquettes and Serrano ham whilst sipping a craft beer or a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. I love their retro copper lighting, parquet floors and mismatched wooden chairs.
7. Birds Boutique Café (no 127)
If it’s an offbeat casual eatery that you are after, then Birds Boutique Café has your name written all over it. This is another charming café, with honest and wholesome food packed with flavor, and their coffees are not too shabby either. Sit at one of their wooden communal tables whilst listening to the soothing soundtrack of birdsong and feast on their incredible selection of homemade quiches, salads and legendary chicken pies.
8. Latitude 33 (no 165)
Latitude 33 has laidback surfer charm that is quintessentially Capetonian and cool. Sit on a bar stool at the window and gaze across Bree Street to watch the trendies pull in. The restaurant which is located downstairs serves up honest and punchy bistro-style food such as the braised lamb pizza with orange zest and mint or the handmade burger with blue cheese, pickles and a generous helping of chili jam. Born out of a love for Bali and the surf lifestyle, Latitude is a collaboration of food, fashion and art and also serves up a great coffee. Take a cruise upstairs and browse through their small art gallery and clothing store which feature Australian brands that are entirely unique to Latitude.
9. Beautiful Life Building At Youngblood (no 70-72)
The Beautiful Life Building is a fairly new interactive space, located right at the bottom of Bree Street. It’s a big airy building with high ceilings and exposed brickwork that has cool written all over it. This is where the Youngblood Arts & Culture development initiatives take place which were born out of a desire to create a nurturing art space for talented South African creatives to grow. This building regularly hosts workshops, creative collections and art installations. One of its initiatives is Beautiful Food, the in-house bistro restaurant which serves breakfast, light lunch and mouthwatering daily specials, all from locally sourced and organic ingredients. The profits are pumped straight back into Youngblood to support further arts and culture initiatives. Definitely a hip and happening space to watch!
10. Publik Wine Bar (Just off Bree on 81 Church Street)
Our last entry to this fascinating street isn’t actually on Bree Street, but just around the corner on Church Street, and yet I think it’s far too cool to exclude. Publik Wine Bar is the brain-child of food-lovers Andy Fenner of Fenner Meat Merchants and David Cope and is your neighbourhood butcher and wine merchant all rolled into one. What could be cooler than to sample a craft beer or unusual wine after a long day at work whilst nibbling on a selection of cheeses, cured olives and delicious charcuterie? And afterwards pick up a prime cut of fillet for your loved one at home? Unbeatable in the trendy stakes as far as I’m concerned.
So take my advice next time you’re in the Mother City. Take a walk up bustling Bree St, and you will see why it easily wins hands down the as Cape Town’s trendiest street. You will be pleasantly surprised at what it has to offer.