At least once a year, Andrea Oschetti finds himself soaking in the view from Table Mountain, driving along Chapman’s Peak and marvelling at Cape Town’s natural beauty and unbeatable easy-going vibes. Cape Town is his gateway to the safaris of South Africa and, as he puts it, “a city that improves with every visit” — the telltale sign of a worthy travel destination.
Oschetti is chief travel designer and CEO of Blueflower, a Hong Kong travel company that offers life-enriching journeys curated by a collective of seasoned travellers. His themed private kitchen dinners at the Blueflower Travel Salon garner high anticipation every month, where guests can enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by Oschetti himself while listening to TED-style talks, taking part in workshops, and sharing practical travel knowledge from photography tips to learning about different cultures.
While Blueflower is technically registered as a travel agency, Oschetti thinks the label doesn’t quite fit. Blueflower offers bespoke trips tailored to the individual client, with the aim of creating intimate experiences that allow the traveller to explore a destination in a deeper and more fulfilling way. In other words, trips that “aren’t just about the bucket list or about following what the guide says,” Oschetti explains.
With this in mind, Oschetti is a natural go-to expert for consulting on travel tips to Cape Town. Oschetti has experienced the city in its constant evolution and reinvention: a place where brave chefs try out their hand at innovative cuisine; where the street art matches prestigious gallery collections; and still, a city that manages to keep its essence intact. According to Oschetti, that’s because the city’s people are among the most open, enthusiastic and laid-back personalities one could wish to find. It’s thanks to them that Cape Town always keeps something new in store: anything goes!
Back in Hong Kong for a few days, we asked Oschetti to share venues and experiences he usually reserves for Blueflower travellers, to give us an authentic taste of the city. His picks range from fine dining to graffiti walks, and are the ultimate guide for how to dive deep below the surface level of Cape Town.
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“With innovative and daring cocktails that capture the flavours, colours and essence of Cape Town, Kurt Schlechter, award-winning bartender and owner of ‘cocktail kitchen Cause & Effect. Here, he puts to good use the regional herbs that hang from the ceiling and the paraphernalia seems like something out of an alchemist’s lab instead of that of the master mixologist. Cause & Effect is inspired by Cape Town from the décor to the menu and is open for lunch and dinner, offering seasonal drinks, tapas and an à la carte menu. “These are sensorial cocktails: they each come with something completely new – something that’s completely Cape Town,” says Schlechter.”
Cause & Effect, 2A Park Road, MLT House, Gardens, Cape Town , 8001, South Africa, +27 21 422 0266
“For lunch, head to Hemelhuijs, a small oasis in the heart of Cape Town. Sit back and watch the city go by while indulging in freshly made, jewel-coloured juices, paradisal cocktails or custom blended coffee. It is South Africa’s creative food scene du jour, a vibrant restaurant tableau defined by seasonal ingredients forging unexpected unions and presented with a flourish.”
Hemelhuijs, 71 Waterkant St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa, +27 21 418 2042
“Luxury Africa has created a gallery space where visitors can come and find unique African luxury goods, jewellery and works of art. It is where wildlife photography, Legacy Collection jewellery created out of the fencing from Robben Island, and driftwood sculptures by Tony Fredriksson are on display.”
Luxury Africa Atelier, 27 Orange Road, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa, +27 21 180 4010
“Woodstock in the 1980’s was rife with injustice, crime, drugs and the disgraces of the waning years of Apartheid. Residents found in street art and graffiti a vehicle to make their voices heard and their strife towards a freer world known. Out of suffering and frustration came sublimation: and that’s what you can see today painted on Woodstock’s walls. Juma Mkwela was a former resident and he knows the graffiti ― and the stories behind it ― pretty much like an expert curator knows her prize collection. Tag along with Juma on a tour as you discover how the neighbourhood has completely turned the tables and is now one of the best artsy hubs in Cape Town and quite certainly the one with the most soul.”
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“Drawing inspiration from Cape Town’s cultural diversity, Chef Andre Hill attempts to create some rather interesting contrasts at Upper Bloem, a restaurant he co-owns with the legendary chef Henry Vigar. You’ll get to enjoy a world-class experience in a variety of small dishes, with select seasonal ingredients creating a distinctive feel of terroir.
There are lunch and dinner menus, with the latter a full 3-course dinner including nine tapas. There are vegetarian, gluten and dairy free options, just notify them at the moment of reservation. Though lunch serves a smaller menu, it’s designed to share and pass around the table — a quintessentially Cape Town thing to do!”
Upper Bloem, Shop 1, Winston Place, 65 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town, 8051, South Africa, +27 21 433 1442
“As the sun begins to set, you better honour a precious African tradition: the sundowner. Sipping a drink and enjoying a perfect sunset is a the perfect initiation to the city. The trick is that you need to get the view right. At Chinchilla’s that won’t be a problem. The rooftop Café & Bar is the hottest venue at the sophisticated Camps Bay strip. The food, drinks, music and art are carefully selected to create a vibe at once luscious and chill. DJ Tess, the resident sound-mixologist, creates easy-going grooves that have a touch of house in them and go perfectly with the drinkable mixes.
After the sun sets and the mood is well established, move downstairs to Bilboa, a Mediterranean-style restaurant where you’ll find the freshest seafood.”
Chinchilla, Shop 120, 2/F, The Promenade Building, Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa, +27 21 286 5075
“Chef and owner Arne Janse has created a remarkable space for culinary experimentation — in his own words, “a casual fine dining experience,” located at Kloof Street, the epicentre of Cape Town’s food scene. Using ethically sourced, local and seasonal ingredients and cultivating long-lasting relationships with his producers, Chef Arne wants his guests to feel comfortable and open to experiencing new flavours and textures.
The dishes at Janse & Co. are creative and experimental, incorporating innovative techniques into a tasting menu that is one of Cape Town’s top dining experiences. Menus start from two courses for lunch and three for dinner.”
Janse & Co., 75 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa, +27 21 422 0384
“Located at the V&A Waterfront, the Silo Hotel was built in the old silo complex. Staying true to the grain silo’s history, this hotel incorporates modern elements and industrial roots, and the glass panels guarantee some of the finest views in town. The Silo is ideally located to explore the Waterfront and within walking distance of Bree Street, a favourite foodie hub in Cape Town.
But what makes The Silo truly special is that it rests above the Zeitz MOCAA. The Zeitz houses works from established and up-and-coming African artists. The fine-art experience certainly translates to the rest of the hotel, where attention to detail and exacting standards make The Silo the hottest place to stay while in Cape Town.”
The Silo Cape Town, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa, +27 21 670 0500
“Though not technically in Cape Town proper, Babylonstoren is the essential Winelands experience. A Cape Dutch farm dating from the late 17th century, this unique hotel pays homage to the land, the produce, the flavours, and the old farm structures. The farmhouse suites bring a sense of homeliness without sacrificing elegance. The main restaurant, Babel, is housed in the old cowshed and stocked exclusively from the Babylonstoren gardens: ample labyrinths of greenery and bounty, tended by caring hands.
The wine tasting room will certainly be a highlight for those with a demanding palate, and the cellar reflects the best of the region. There are regular workshops where guests can learn the techniques used in the garden and experience the pervading wholesomeness of the place. It makes the food even tastier and nicely rounds up South Africa’s ultimate farm-to-table experience.”
Babylonstoren, Klapmuts Simondium Road, Simondium, 7670, South Africa, +27 21 863 3852