Batavia Cafe header
The newly opened Batavia Cafe in the Bo Kaap district is a haven for good food & beautiful accessories

Bo Kaap is known for being one of Cape Town’s hottest tourist spots due to its beautiful surroundings along with the Cape Malay culture, so DECO Decor Intern, Tharwah Ishmail, took a trip to the newly opened Batavia Café to meet the owner and discover the details.

Batavia Café, which opened in April 2015, is a chic lifestyle café located in Bo Kaap on the corner of Church and Rose Street. The property recently fell into the hands of the Rasdien family who managed the design and construction of the interior along with the boutique café-fashion-store concept. The name Batavia has several historical origins, dating back to Batavian lands of the Roman Empire (now part of the Netherlands) and also the former official name of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia.

Being a former interior design student from BHC School of Design, owner Zayaan Rasdien has shown how passion and design go well together by starting a brand which is flourishing by the day. Like any passionate designer, she used her creative mind to innovate in a competitive industry by establishing this stylish café, serving both delicious food and a carefully curated selection of fashion and accessories.

Batavia Cafe - food

Batavia Cafe fashion & accessories

When stepping foot inside you immediately get a ‘home away from home’ feeling and the owners have worked hard to create a comfortable environment for visitors. Elegance is incorporated in the café’s interior style, with a considered combination of modern and vintage furniture achieving a classic look for everyone to enjoy.

The homely touch is felt not only in its décor and layout but also a friendly service. The open kitchen gives a very welcoming feel, giving customers full sight of the beautifully crafteded gourmet meals. Outside, the modest back yard patio boasts comfortable garden furniture, pot plants and a rustic feel. Unique furniture pieces, like the garden bench suspended from builders’ cement blocks, were constructed by the owner’s brother along with the café.

Batavia Cafe - patio

Batavia Café is proudly South African as the majority of the accessories and clothing lines for sale are SA-made – a collection that includes ceramics, clothing, décor, graphics, photography and jewellery. Everything is made by hand and the café prides itself on being a cultural and artistic space. A variety of brands are on offer; including contemporary lines like Issa Leo‘s menswear and womenswear by Lazuli.

Batavia Cafe - African jewellery

For jewel magpies, hand-crafted jewellery by designers such as Oh Dear Megan, Amari and Munstuk hang next to beautiful ceramics from Sugar and Vice and BO.NE nature made. On the walls, work from artists such as Gruparte, Inna Grobbelaar, Anette Visser and Malcom Dare look down upon diners from whitewashed walls.

Batavia Cafe seating

Batavia Café offers a fully Halaal-friendly menu. The food is reasonably priced and made from scratch – even the buns, which are crafted by their talented baristas, are home-made. This is an eatery that takes pride in the art of food, providing a variety of coffees and salads, sandwiches and desserts. Due to the outstanding service, Saturday mornings are packed, buzzing with laughter, plates and retro music – it’s also one of the reasons why their breakfasts are so popular, especially their new DIY breakfast and everyday lunch special.

Batavia Cafe Bar

In a city with so much beauty, art and culture, Batavia Café has succeeded in incorporating it throughout their café space. Despite being open for just a few months, its beautiful design items, scrumptious meals and welcoming service proves why it is such a success. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pop around for breakfast or lunch – just be prepared to part with a few extra rand on their inspired selection of pretty things.

Batavia Cafe outside
Batavia Cafe’s owner, Zayaan Rasdien, outside her Bo Kaap boutique.

Images by Tharwah Ishmail, courtesy of Batavia Cafe.

Follow Batavia on Instagram @batavia_cafe, on Facebook and on Twitter @bataviacafe.


Tharwah Ishmail - ELLE DecorationOur Decor Intern Tharwah Ishmail is a BHC School of Design student, studying Interior Design. A keen blogger, foodie, fashionista and Marvel/DC Comics lover, Tharwah loves being inspired by all aspects of art and design, including music and poetry. Tharwah’s typical week sees her on campus at BHC, attending events and spending time with friends and family. Follow her adventures on Instagram @miss_quirky_t.