Culinary Quest: Brunch Cafe by Ideas Cartel

The fulfilment – almost a sense of accomplishment – coming from a well-made meal is irrefutable.

A good meal is the negotiator of connection.

It is a peacekeeper, and can be one hell of an entertainer.

The mastery of a decent, or better yet decadent dish, can inspire, comfort, seduce, and elevate.

Upon my visit to Cape Town’s Brunch.CT in the innercity hub of “foodie” fun, I happened upon meal fulfillment found rarely amid the city’s more one-dimensional all-day cafes serving a tuneless menu of predictable: avo-topped toast slices and adequate pancakes, sometimes stale pastries, and often burnt-beaned coffees topped with allergy-defying milks from the teats of natures produce.

I had a pretty good meal at this refreshed Loop Street spot, and I’m almost certain I’ll return.

It was brunch, and it went something like this…

Firstly, I’d just like to say that I am so glad Cape Town is not one of those cities that looks upon brunch with scorn. There are still many places where it is viewed as a trendy fad for the basic, and for the suckers of the world. Capetonians do have a tendency to roll with food and lifestyle crazes as well as maintain traditional dining notions – it’s a strange phenomenon.

However, where brunch (and linner) is concerned, there seems to be a unanimous fealty to wholly enjoying it.

Brunch is a particularly unique dining experience – boundless with possibilities that lie somewhere between breakfast and lunch. For a diner, it is an event to have – whether at home or eating out.

No one “just does” brunch – plans are made, the purpose is clear, and results are usually alcohol-tinted goings-on where both bellies are full, and laughs are plenty.

Brunch at Ideas Cartel‘s latest offering Brunch.CT is still relatively unknown to the great majority, but may just be why you should visit soon.

Hoards will descend upon the mezzanine-topped cozy alcove with an outdoor patio framed in greenery, and at home on the ground floor of the modern hotel constantly teeming with the energy of traveling digital nomads, people seeking a curated good time and exceptional cityscape views, athleisure-swathed fitness savants, and so much more.

Cartel House Hotel makes up one of several Ideas Cartel properties that the membership club offers up for co-working and co-living

but with a developing lifestyle culture and branding identity that’s slowly gaining interest, membership numbers, experiences, and exclusivity.

I wouldn’t say the brunch at Brunch.CT, is a hedonistic breakfast, dripping with unrestrained abundance. Brunch.CT is smart though, in offering more than just the A-typical Full English for its normal breakfasts and its brunch time – especially in a city where friends, associated, families, and solo diners seek out tastes from around the world.

A full English breakfast at Brunch Cafe

Their menu includes yummy delights inspired and named from places (and popularized meals) from Europe to Africa and the world over; the chef well-versed in more than just eggs and breadstuffs.

My weekend staycation involved trying quite a few things from the cafe, from the Classic Croque Madame – a sourdough sandwich of creamy Bechamel-covered ham and cheese and egg – to the Strawberries and Chocolate Flapjacks.

My most memorable meal was the Full English Breakfast Dutch Baby

Entirely different to the normal full English breakfast I’d had the day before here, this Dutch Baby was frankly unequivocally fantastic! The Beef Chipolata sausages somehow taste like camping and small-town wholesomeness, while the dutch baby created the perfect bed of warmth, slight sweetness, and filling for the bacon, eggs, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms piled on, in a generous portion.

Pictured from Left to right: The Full English Breakfast Dutch Baby, the Collagen Glow Bowl, filter coffee, and fries.

The attraction to the panned Dutch Baby meal, is almost tangible – the colors jump out to you, and every curve and crowding of ingredients is designed to seduce your taste buds.

I am entranced from the very first look, and satisfied at the first bite.

At one point or another in the day, someone will always order the likes of flapjacks, and you will look on in awe at the golden stack liberally dripping and piled with chocolate or cream, or bananas. They may be made perfect on the day you visit, or be a second more overcooked than needed like I experienced – but each buttermilk pancake bite will coat your mouth in a good impression, whether from the tart fresh strawberries (or decadent chocolate) included in this dish’s design.

I have yet to delve into the cakes of the day, and the Cartel wine selection on display, but I sure did stay true to the irreverent spirit of brunch and have cocktails with my meal. One can choose from a Mimosa, Sangria, Bloody Mary or Martini.

By my recommendation, try the R95 Martini, and request it with a sweet twist, if you don’t mind bastardizing booze for an excellent sip.

There are healthy options to dine on at Brunch.CT to be sure, but that is perhaps a meal for a second visit and another health-conscious person. If you insist on really getting guidance on the kinds of things you can order from the less calorie’d and carb’d side of life, I’m told the Gym Buddy, Hummus on toast and Breakfast Quesadilla are decent tries.

With collagen being all the rage, give the Collagen Glow Bowl a try; It’s laden with coconut milk, cashew butter, banana and strawberry collagen – all made into a smoothie bowl. There is a bowl of oats with almond flakes and berries for the traditionalists seeking a staple, and even a Vegetarian Dutch Baby designed with Hummus, eggs and slices Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar within it.

Alternatively, just walk away from what seems almost paradoxically punishing compared to the richness of the menu majority, and enjoy this brunch visit as a treat day! (Walking to the car afterward, will count as a workout, I’m almost sure!)

The Collagen Glow Bowl

I had a nap in my hotel room after brunch, but would have happily sat poolside at the Clubhouse for the day, if not for the slight chill in the air from the Southern Hemisphere’s seasonal changes. Napping is another way to end brunch – muzzily satiated and ready to digest in leisure. I highly recommend it following a visit to Ideas Cartel‘s Brunch.CT.

You won’t languish here the whole day by the way – besides the seating inviting you to dine more than slouch around, Cartel House Hotel has a rooftop you can check out for all-day chilling – but you will want to pop in for a well-made bite to properly line your tummy before the rest of your brunch day continues.

Come as you are, because all the Ideas Cartel properties will really take their paying customers as they are – sneakers and sweats included.

Brunch Cafe by Ideas Cartel

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