There’s no doubting it, with it’s beautiful mountain side location and stunning white sandy beaches, Camps Bay is by far one of the best places to be in summer. But ask your average local and they’ll probably tell you it’s not somewhere they go very often, especially not to socialise. Probably because they’re afraid they’ll pay through the neck for the privilege of enjoying a cocktail and a bite to eat on the Camps Bay strip. But the truth is, Camps Bay’s eateries aren’t all pretentious vibes and over-priced drinks, look beyond the reveling tourists, their wallets bulging with Rands they exchanged for a sneeze, and you’ll find some wonderful value-for-money spots ready to welcome locals with a smile. With incredible happy hour deals and weekly specials, The 41, is a shining beacon of hope for locals looking to soak up some of those seaside holiday vibes Camps Bay provides. Offering great value and an oh-so-stylish vibe, this eatery is most definitely my new-favourite spot on the strip!
While at first glance The 41 might appear to just your average pretentious Camps Bay restaurant, the contemporary Mediterranean-themed eatery is a haven where locals can eat, drink, and be merry on the good old South African Rand. The chic restaurant and bar overlooks Camps Bay beach and offers a real holiday resort vibe with picturesque, palm tree flanked views of the ocean. It’s the perfect hangout for anyone looking to escape the business of the inner city. Whether you’re watching the sunset from the eatery’s terrace, enjoying a meal inside over lunch time, or want to party up a storm when the sun goes down, The 41, is the ideal place to convince yourself you’re on holiday in your home town.
I’m all about that low-key lifestyle, especially when it’s chilly out, so I opted to visit the restaurant for lunch on a Friday afternoon. Luckily for me, the weather played along and my date and I were able to enjoy a meal on the sun soaked terrace overlooking the beach. Not one to waste great weather, I immediately ordered a cocktail from the eatery’s comprehensive cocktail menu, and settled in to enjoy the breezy, laid back vibe only Camps Bay’s strip can provide.
When it comes to cocktails, The 41 does it right and the spot is much loved by those in the know for its long lost of signature cocktails designed by the on-site mixologist. The eatery prides itself on making the delicious cocktails affordable for everyone to enjoy and it’s no surprise that the Happy Hour special, which offers half price cocktails every day between 15:00 and 17:00, has become super popular. Being a G&T fan, the bar’s specialty B&Ts (Beefeater gin & tonic) cocktails were a real winner for me. For a bitter sweet delight try the Orange & Basil B&T or, for something fresh on a hot summer’s day, the Cucumber and Mint B&T will go down a real treat (usually R60 a cocktail, or R30 during happy hour!).
If cocktails aren’t your thing, the fresh, seasonal menu makes it well worth a visit too. I love restaurants where the menu is constantly changing and The 41 places a big focus on ensuring the menu changes both seasonal and every fortnight (within each seasonal framework) This not only gives regular customers a taste of something new every time they visit, but also ensures the ingredients used to create the dishes served are fresh and of the best quality. Right now, with Cape Town’s weather being all sorts of confused, the eatery is transition from the winter to spring menu so you’ll find some great winter treats on there with a few new spring inspired delights mixed in. Of course, some of the more popular dishes are always a constant on the menu, such as the Kataifi Prawn starter (R95), the signature Grilled Ostrich Steak dish (served with Chakalaka salsa, Phutu pap and Atchar yoghurt – R220), and The 41 Burger (served with a homemade cheese-stuffed beef patty!).
We started our meal with Kudu Carpaccio (R85), a must try if you love game meat. Served with crispy strips of toasted brioche, the strong gamey flavours of the Kudu were beautifully balanced by the sweet, nutty flavours of Grana Padano cheese, peppery Arugula, and sweet, tangy soy balsamic mustard. The 41 is well known for its seafood delights so, for mains, I tried the Piri Piri Lime Butter Prawns served with fragrant rice and wok-fried vegetables (R195) while my date indulged in the Beef Fillet served with handcut fries (R210, 200g). The prawns were grilled to perfection and smothered in a spicy creamy, sauce that begged to be mopped up by the rice perched alongside the generous mound of fresh prawns. My date only had good things to say about his steak, which was also served with the most delicious pepper sauce.
Budget conscious diners will also be thrilled to hear that the restaurant offers regular specials for those looking for a great deal. For example, when we visited, the menu featured a Pasta Week special with a choice of 5 pasta dishes at just R60 each. There was also a set menu special at R180 for a 2-course meal with a glass of wine or R220 for a 3-course meal with a glass of wine. Just like the menu, the special offers are constantly changing and are clearly displayed on the menu for diners to see.
When it comes to fantastic cocktails, delicious grub, value for money, and a great vibe, you’ll be hard pressed to find a spot that rivals The 41 on the Camps Bay strip. Lately I’ve become quite cynical about just how over-priced eating out and socialising in Camps Bay can be but The 41 has given me a renewed love of the beautiful beach-side stretch. That’s why, if you’re looking for me this summer you’ll find me, cocktail in hand, soaking up the sun at The 41.
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After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.