Haarlem & Hope is not as overtly flashy and quirky as Madame Zingara’s other restaurants. The renovation of the restaurant in Company Gardens has resulted in a comfortable elegance that is inviting to both families having a leisurely Sunday breakfast or business people grabbing a quick lunch.
Gone are the functional chairs and sticky plastic chequered table cloths which had been around since the 1980’s. Now the feel is clean and natural and modern, with an emphasis on texture and dappled shade and relaxation. The decor is a made up of stone and light woods, eye-catching sculptures of squirrels and other creatures, and the occasional splash of lime. The space is designed in harmony with its surroundings and natural light pours through the big windows. As before, the majority of the tables are under the shade of the lush trees, now with the addition of a couple of human-sized birds nests by local designer Porky Hefer – an especially beautiful element which can house bumptious children or up to three hipsters with two glasses of wine.
Haarlem & Hope derives its name from the first ship to wash up on the Cape’s rocky shores, The Nieuwe Haarlem back in 1647. The 60 odd survivors stayed there for a year before being rescued by Jan van Riebeeck who recognised the potential of the area. He returned a few years later to set up a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company.
The launch last Friday of this newest addition to the Zingara stables was a big affair with delicious bite-sized treats such as ostrich bobotie with all the trimmings, pear soup, steak and prawns. Any possible stress of the week evaporated on arrival as guests were given panama hats and bright Funky Hand Fans.
Head of Investment in the major’s office, Tim Harris, better known as a former DA MP and for being rather easier on the eye than the average politician, was a guest speaker. “We love you Tim!” a lady brazenly quipped from the back. In his speech he gave a short history of The Nieuwe Haarlem and thanked the Madam Zingara crew for making it so easy to market the City of Cape Town.
Prices are slightly steep but mostly in line with Cape Town restaurants. Expect to pay between R 35 (a cheese and toasted sandwich) and R 185 (the Cape country sampler) for a main meal. A cup of coffee, or rather “the perfect cup”, will set you back R 22.
The kids menu has a fun selection of food such as pasta with red sauce, cheesy toastie and big boy burger ranging between R 35 and R 40.
From its eclectic name, flavourful food and efficient staff down to its excellent location, Haarlem & Hope seems to be ticking all the boxes. Formerly a haunt of tourists, the new restaurant in Company Gardens is certainly set to become a favourite for locals too.
Haarlem & Hope is located in Company’s Gardens on Queen Victoria Street. Since this review it has rebranded as, simply, The Company’s Garden Restaurant.
Opening hours: Breakfast and Lunch
Tel: 021 423 2919