Kikuyu roll on Buffalo

I chuckled at that phrase as we drove by it on our way to lunch yesterday (or rather, as we were getting lost on the way to lunch). The philosophe didn’t understand what was funny about a sign advertising two kinds of grass until I pointed out that Kikuyu isn’t only grass. Indeed, the Kikuyu apparently make up 22% of Kenya’s population, and they have understandably been hard hit by recent events.

I’m glad I’m not in Kenya, but I’m not sure I’m glad to be in Cape Town right now either. Today continues that horribly muggy heat that reached something of a hellish peak yesterday when we finally found Nitida, hungry and looking forward to a nice cold glass of bubbly. Recently done up, the venue is quite lovely in a European chic kind of way (think wood and glass), but unfortunately the balcony overhanging a damn did little in the way of down-cooling. There was no breeze, no fan, and many overactive sweat glands. Then a disappointingly short wine list (only estate wines), with the shiraz bubbly bubbling over at R50 a glass. I don’t think so.

Given the choice of either a two- or three-course meal (one isn’t an option), we had to make several decisions in this sweaty state. I chose something I normally would have avoided (I’m not big on soup), but because the description had one important word: chilled lettuce soup (with blahblahblah). It was alright, but a bit more of lettuce gloop than soup. The philosophe’s fish cake was the winner, with nice chunks of the good stuff.

One of the mains was a “duo of tuna: nicoise”, which sounds salad-y and fresh, so we asked our waitron if he could explain a bit more about the duo bit. First he said, well, it’s a duo, so there are three pieces of fish. Thankfully he corrected himself instantly, and then confessed he didn’t exactly know what the duo referred to. He would find out. Some time later he returned to take our orders and I reminded him we were still waiting on the duo news. Right, he said, it’s like the one is kind of … boiled, and the other is like … fried.

Boiled and fried tuna. Yum!

Of course it turned out to be more like poached and seared, and it wasn’t a bad nicoise at all, but it does make a laughing stock of an establishment clearly trying very hard to be poncy when their front staff can’t keep up the charade.

Anyway, that was Cassia, been and done. But the heat was still on, so we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in the two coolest places we could think of, drinking, variously, margaritas and gewurtztraminer. That helped to ease the pain, and also sent us promptly to sleep well before sunset.

Which meant waking up at an ungodly hour, but we made it godly by heading into town and finding a 24 hour breakfast spot where we dined on greasy bacon and cheese sandwiches while the diehards around us smoked their final cigarettes and started stumbling home in the rain. It was like we were the only people standing in the world (probably not far off), and very possibly one of the most romantic meals I’ve yet had.

St. Valentine, eat your heart out.