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Chart Farm: Food and roses, wine if you like

There is no foot traffic, you can’t see it from the road, and even if you know it’s there, finding the entrance can be tricky. For these reason’s, Chart Farm is one of the lesser known Cape Town treasures.

You’ve got to take the Trovato Link turnoff just as you’re coming down Wynberg Hill, turn right at the T-junction into Klaasen’s Road, go back under the highway and keep a sharp eye out for a small brown sign. Then you bump your way along what was once a gravel road, and it’s all roses. Literally. The 12ha farm owned by the same family for almost 90 years is apparently the only place in Cape Town where you can pick your own roses. Take a bucket and secateurs and pick as many as you like – at R7 a flower. It also has a magnificent magnolia tree which is in flower at the moment, although you can’t pick those. There’s no charge to view the magnolia, nor to walk amongst the roses and take in the view across the Constantia valley and Tokai, and then you can go sate your appetite at the coffee shop.

Friends about to embark on a rose snipping expedition

The first time we went there was with the in-law when we were simply driving around exploring. It was mid-winter and rainy and they had a blazing fire going and the cake was delicious. Our recent return (sans in-law but with four-year-old in tow) revealed a larger indoor dining area to the side leading to an outdoor area with the gorgeous view.

The old plastic-topped tables had no covering and looked a bit tatty but we reckoned the view made up for it, so sitting beneath an umbrella as sunshine played tag with scudding clouds, we ordered coffee and… nope, no eggs benedict, we’d missed the noon breakfast cut off by 10 minutes.

So, a gypsy ham and cheese croissant for the laaitie, with a BLT ciabatta and a salmon salad for the adults.

The food arrived all together just as the last sips of coffee were being had, with the croissant looking like the favoured choice. The cheese was emmentaler, which is sublime with a good gypsy ham, together with tomato and rocket inside the warm buttery pastry.

The BLT was bigger than expected, with generous portions of perfectly crisped bacon and avocado. The salad, however, was over complicated with peas and sweetcorn and thin slices of carrot and shredded red cabbage. Tasty, but just too much stuff. We hope the watermelon and feta salad doesn’t suffer the same over enthusiasm, because we’re ordering that one when we come again on a hot summer day.

Given the portions, we passed on the cake, although the baked vanilla cheesecake was tempting. If you want lighter meals, they have toasted sandwiches, although they’re not much cheaper than what’s on the lunch menu, and light meals such as a simple toasted ciabatta with humus and olive tapenade. This, together with the couscous and walnut salad, is one of several vegan options, although you could probably ask the kitchen to hold the cheese on some of the vegetarian options.

Chart farm is a refreshing antidote to the hip designer coffee shops and eateries of the inner city. It’s got that somewhat make-do authentic farm feel about it, offering quality fresh food. Take some time and smell the roses.

The bill came to R384 sans tip, we paid for ourselves.