Whenever I find myself in Cape Town I try and hit one of the hot new eateries or bars that seem to pop up weekly, you gotta be quick though as they seem to close almost as quickly. At the top of my list was Cape Town’s iconic new landmark The Silo Hotel and its “Granary Cafe”, an old grain silo that has been converted into the Royal Portfolios newest 5 star hotel. Over 90 years ago this building was the tallest in Sub-Saharan Africa and today with a facelift courtesy of Heatherwick Studio Architects in London it proves that you don’t need to be the tallest to stand out! This place is crazy impressive.
I had arranged to meet one of my favourite local fashionistas for lunch (no one likes to eat alone right?) in order to pick his brain on the upcoming winter trends. I was a little late – fashionably so – but found Sergio at the Willaston Bar sipping an Iceplant Negroni (a house speciality it seems). “I judge a bar on its ability to make a Negroni” Sergio says, “it’s incredible how something so simple can be done so wrong sometimes”. Hmmm, that rings true for a lot of things in life I guess, even fashion. The Negroni, infused with fig and cinnamon was excellent though, so we ordered another.
The Willaston Bar is surrounded by the pillowed windows that make the Silo Hotel so Iconic, offering incredible views across the city, this place is just perfect for that business lunch. When our table was ready we left our plush turquoise booth and took our drinks to The Granary Cafe for lunch. Men will be men and we went ahead and ordered the steak frites and pork belly with a side of sweet potato fries before getting into some serious fashion talk. Cape Town had just got its first taste of winter so Sergio was layering a tobacco coloured trench coat over a burgundy polo neck, bang on trend. Sergio said he picked up a tobacco trench coat last year to replace his classic black one and its remained a staple in his winter closet for 2017. With tobacco being such a great neutral colour, it pairs well with almost anything, it lets you add a brighter colour to stand out or layer with other neutrals for a refined monochromatic look, it also transcends from formal to casual super easy by just wearing it with a pair of jeans and a chunky knit. “Winter is my favourite fashion season” he says, he goes on to explain that because our winters can go from hot and sunny in the day to cold and chilly at night it’s the perfect opportunity to layer up and have multiple looks in one outfit. I couldn’t agree more.
The conversation continued and before we knew it our plates were empty – always a good sign of a good meal I think. My steak was perfectly cooked and Sergio claimed his pork belly was some of the best he’s had in a while. The winner though may have been those chunky sweet potato fries, because, well, fries!
We decided to take our dessert back at the Willaston Bar in the form of an Old Fashioned, Sergio’s favourite winter cocktail. “A good old fashioned is like a good pair of shoes” he says taking his first sip “when made properly that one ingredient can be enhanced to a level where it becomes something brand new”. As we kept on enjoying our drinks Sergio explained himself, thankfully. The Old Fashioned is pretty much a one ingredient cocktail, bourbon on bourbon enhanced with bitters and sugar and stirred over ice, when made properly the drink becomes perfectly balanced and full of soul. According to Sergio a good pair of shoes should be made inside and out with one ingredient, leather, and when made properly, they will last you a lifetime. “If that doesn’t fill your soul, nothing will” he exclaims taking is last sip. I’m not sure if he’s speaking about the drink or his 2 toned oxfords, but either way I know he’s right.
We took one last look at the beautiful views around us, paid our bill and set a date for our next lunch. I leave wondering what new restaurant we’ll visit next and what new advice Sergio might have in store.