LoTravel is something everyone should experience. Whether it’s to another country or just another province, leaving your comfort zone to explore new places is something everyone should strive to do at least once in their lives.
Sometimes, time does not allow for as much travel and we need to find gems in our own spaces. Exciting venues that make you believe, even if it’s only for an evening, that you have been transported to a new world.
I discovered one such place the other night when I was invited to the opening of the new 126ckc at the Hilton in town.
Right in the middle of the city, in the colourful neighbourhood of Bo Kaap, sits the Hilton hotel. I have been here before a few times over the years but walking in now was like walking into a new world. The whole lobby has been changed, moved around and converted into a space I could see myself enjoying a hot or cold drink with friends.
That night we were greeted with 2 options for drinks. Freshly squeezed juices, with an option for sweet and fruity or green and healthy. Not knowing exactly what kind of decadence awaited me for the night I opted for the green and healthy option. I love a good green juice and this one was in my top favourites. Just sweet enough for the greens not to be overpowering and just the right amount of ginger for the freshness without the burn.
While we enjoyed our juices and snacked on veggie chips our attention was caught by the welcoming song of the Cape Minstrel Choir with their bright voices and the familiar “Welcome to Cape Town” tune they filled the room with happiness and anticipation for what other fun we could expect.
Marc the GM of Hilton Cape Town then welcomed us all into the beautifully appointed new restaurant. 126ckc has a space for every occasion. Whether it be a quick coffee and a cake, a celebration with friends or a romantic night for 2.
The kitchen is open and the staff work like synchronised swimmers both inside the kitchen and out. A small shop sits next to the kitchen where you can take home part of your experience in the form of tea, crockery or delicious baked goods.
The space is also where breakfast for the hotel is served, as they transform the front seating area into a delicious morning buffet, the little shop inside offering up pastries and tea for your morning.
Seated at our long table, Marc showed us the innovative menu. Innovative both in presentation and in eating style. When you are seated you are handed an easy to use tablet where you can browse the many different items on the menu. The menu, unlike most, is not split into “starters, mains and dessert” but rather experiences. Cleansing; Unique; Pure; Texture; Twist; Creating memories and On the Side. You choose in which order you would like to enjoy your food.
Our dinner was to be extra special, ours was a food and tea pairing. Yes, I said tea. I was dubious at first but it was I had nothing to worry about as I was in excellent had. The young, innovative team in the kitchen knew exactly what they were doing and each and every dish was enhanced by the tea it was served with. 126ckc is halal and so the tea pairing replaces the wine pairing most fine dining establishments offer…oh did I say “fine” dining, I meant “Fun” dining.
Technically difficult, artistically plated and a song on a tongue, that is how I would describe the items that were placed in front of us. On unique, locally handcrafted crockery that added to the mastery of the kitchen wizards.
I left that night full of delight. All my senses satisfied. Even my sense of nostalgia when I discovered that one of my favourite dishes from the past has made it onto the new menu so I will be back, maybe for a special occasion, maybe just for a treat.