Name any human that doesn’t adore food variety?
Yeah, name one! I’ll wait…
You couldn’t think of anybody because we’re all indecisive bottomless pits which thrive on excess and tasty goodness.
Lebanese food not only has a stellar reputation for being some of thee most scrumptious and freshest food in the world, but they’re also famed for their great variety.
Today’s foodie escapade takes us to a Middle Eastern cafe in Sea Point, Cape Town, where the spirit of Lebanese food is enthusiastically shared with all and sundry.
Say hello to: RAFAEL Lebanese Cafe.
Founders Angelic Bou Rjeily and Mikhael, of Byblos Trading Co., decided to open up the magic secreted within Beirut kitchens, to Cape Town’s lifestyle-obsessed masses, and they have been received quite well so far.
If it’s not the Mischu coffee tantalizing you from the thought of walking right past the cafe, its got to be the range of Lebanese flavor sensations – like the ones within Ironman’s favorite Shawarma – which will knock you straight into their seats for a light meal, or a snack on delicacy.
I really wanted to go in on the Baba Ganoush and Falafel, but after deliberating with the help of RAFAEL Cafe’s serving staff, we settled on Chicken Shawarma to start.
The Shawarma was a mellow mouthful of balanced textures and tastes. I abhor pickles with a passion, but the shawarma would be less than memorable without their tart kick. The garlic sauce, tomato, pickles, cucumber, tahini and mixed leaves, married themselves well, and resulted in a filling conclusion.
The Falafel Salad from RAFAEL’s Cafe, is an absolutely chill lunchtime meal – not quite dexterous in flavor, but effective in leaving a diner energized.Last time I had a salad that refreshing, I was in New York – a shocking continental shift, considering the cafe’s thematic is rooted in Africa…but rarely can anybody anywhere, fuck up an uncomplicated salad.
It’s comprised of: baby leaves, rocket, cherry tomato, cucumber, carrot, beetroot, pickles, and topped off with the house olive oil & lemon tahini dressing.
The Man’ouche Kafta Mozzarella I had for dinner later on, had a strong blend of ground beef, mozzarella, labneh, dry thyme, spices, onion and cucumber sticks.
It’s hard to find a properly made one in our cosmopolitan city, so we’re kind of blessed to have such a well-made one on offer here. RAFAELs’s version packs a hell of a punch, that will leave you food drunk. No joke!
The Beef Kafta Pita was 79 bucks, and not the most note-worthy dish…but it did fill me up with a hint of flavor(in the beef, hummus, pickles & tahini mix) and contentment.
Order any of the drinks here, and be hit with a dessert situation all on its own. I love sweet things, and the nibbles that accompany the coffee, are perfection! The Lebanese cafe makes Baklava which is weighty, thick; a bit crunchy & flaky, and sweet as hell – they are fantastic finishes to a meal.
Alternatively, you could buy yourself some delicacies, and even Turkish Delight (my favorite).
A genuine eatery that takes diners to Lebanon – whether it’s the food, coffee, textured cool-toned interior design…or maybe its something to do with the warm vibe the staff emphasizes throughout your dining experience.
The cafe has many charms, some of which include the catalog of goods – like gourmet syrups, Yerba Mate, Turkish Apple Tea, baking ingredients etc. – you can buy straight at the counter.
Music is low-key the lifeblood of this cafe. For how light and airy this corner cafe is, the playlist (which I deserve access to) is heavy with intensity and life. You’re being taken on an action sequence through bustling & colorful Lebanese market place.
For its convenience, goodness and unique individualism, RAFAEL Cafe get’s an 7/10
What about the health nuts & vegetarians?
You’re sorted. Just make sure to let your server know if you need any additional substitutions, or have any allergies.
RAFAEL Lebanese Cafe is healthy in its ingredient choices (soy milk and almond milk even feature on the menu), and Lebanese food here, is made in a way that doesn’t afford excessive oil usage, so Yay!
Please do consult their menu for a true idea of how accommodating they are for vegetarians.
What of the drinks & booze?
Why drink booze when you can receive life with RAFAEL’s lemonade. OH – MY GOD!
It was so good, I literally persuaded the next set of customers coming in, to by a glass – and they were not disappointed at all!
There is a world of drink options at this Lebanese cafe. Choose from a hot and cold drinks menu; try some extra additions to a drink you know, or to stick to simple water, and soft drinks.
Owner Mikhael recommends the Turkish Coffee – and what a good recommendation it is.
The technique for making & containing this coffee is so unique, and the resulting goodness is well worth the effort.
Even those who aren’t fans of coffee, will appreciate the aroma and presentation.
RAFAEL Cafe get’s an all-round 8/10.
RAFAEL Lebanese Cafe
Monday – Closed
Sundays – 11:00 – 21:00