Cafe Paradiso of Kloof Street, Cape Town, is about as old as we are. And we’re going to say it again, loud and proud. Elle Decoration celebrated its 25th birthday, last week.

So Paradiso stood us to a birthday lunch on Friday. Auspiciously, this happened to be the inaugural day of their new menu. We were ridiculously happy guinea pigs. We can highly recommend the fillet, the line fish, the gnocchi, the chicken, the antipasti, the cakes, the buffet salads. Anything we left out?

We admire places that keep changing, without losing the stuff that makes them wonderful in the first place. We feel quite sentimental about the postman’s bicycle at the front door, the mottly old walls, the creaky Spalding tennis racquets poking their heads out of in the herb garden, the piles of wood out at the back and the pond with its faux turtle and lotus flowers. Oh, and the wood fires inside, in case the cold gets to you in July.

I don’t think any of us had the salt and pepper squid with spicy minty mayo. But that’s as good a reason to go back as any.

What’s on the new menu now:


Our managing editor, Maryke Olivier, negotiates the best fillet south of Table Mountain. We like doing the Texan thing.

And then there was birthday cake. Lots of it.

Posted by Inge van der Merwe