Last week, to belatedly celebrate Anne’s birthday on 1 January, we had lunch at the Gardener’s Cottage, on the same grounds as the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands.

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I specially went early because it’s been so long since I was last there, and I was not disappointed. The grounds, the studios, the workshops, the nursery, the restaurant – everything was beautifully maintained, the staff were professional, the atmosphere was calming and also blissfully cool thanks to all the tree cover. The place is no hidden Cape Town secret, but there’s something about it when you’re there that makes it feel like you stumbled into another world.

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montebello 3

The shops and studios are run by the people who are involved in making the products, and the range and quality was superb. It was like the best of Cape Town rolled into one.

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The hand-embroidered and beaded cushions took my breath away. I would have bought them all if I could have afforded to because it would have been impossible to choose.

By the time I got to the eating side of things, I was too excited to take pics of the food plus I wanted to concentrate on talking to Anne. I’m trying to get myself in the habit of switching my phone off when I’m with someone, constant beeps and flashing icons are too distracting. I figure there’s nothing that can’t wait til later (barring an emergency, in which case I would presumably receive a phone call) – but it’s a hard habit to break. I’m getting there, slowly. I’m grateful for the upsides, but for someone as easily diverted as I am, this is one of the downsides of the world of instant communication in which we live…

Food. Right. I had the “hand-crafted” bagel with salmon and cream cheese – I was a bit concerned about its size when it arrived, because I have a healthy appetite and this chap looked to be on the small side, but I’d forgotten how filling and substantial a truly good bagel can be – and one of the best cappuccinos ever. I can’t remember what Anne had but whatever it was, she said it was very good :)

Since Montebello is about eight minutes from my home and I drive past it at least three times a week on my way somewhere else, it is ridiculous not to stop by more often. You guys come visit Cape Town, I’ll take you there for lunch!

25 thoughts on “Montebello

  1. Moke

    Looks a very special place to visit. I bet your friend really appreciated that you turned off your phone it is great to have a phone free conversation. Mxxx

  2. tgonzales

    It looks like Montebello is a beautiful place. I love all all the bright colors. And the lunch sounds amazing. As soon as I can get there I want to go there with you. :) Love and Hugs, Tamara

  3. insearchofitall

    I’m not likely to drop by anytime soon but it does look like a fun way to spend the day. Thanks for taking those of us out of the area along. I never turn my phone completely off but put it on vibrate so I can easily ignore it until a better time. I can look and see if it’s someone I need to talk to but most can just sit for quite awhile. I’m wishing you rain. :)

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Thanks for your rain wishes but it’s not likely to happen :( Day Zero has been brought forward to 12 April, so we have to make the best of an awful situation. Businesses are already struggling, and the community-based organisations I know are hoping to be categorised as “critical care” facilities (like hospitals) so they can avoid water restrictions and carry on their vital work. I talked to a woman last week who had brought her two little girls for a hot meal at the Service Dining Rooms – while she isn’t homeless, she is extremely poor and cannot afford food. She and the girls have to walk to town from Sea Point (about an hour) in the blazing heat so they can receive a meal. If the NGOs have to cut back, or pay penalties, these people will suffer directly.

      1. insearchofitall

        Those are the people that are always impacted by cuts. Here too. Makes me want to hurt someone that has the power to help. Grrr. Sorry, I get emotional about it. April is a long way away! ;(

  4. Linne

    Lovely place for lunch or even just a browse. I think I could spend hours there myself. I love handmade things and it would be such fun just going through the shops. And the gardens.

    I find it so hard to believe that you are on the edge of a major challenge like that. I do hope you get some rain, but nice slow steady rain, not huge downfalls, then mudslides and all that. California has been hit so hard in that way.

    Your story of the mother and daughter touched me so much. We live in a world full of everything we need; I don’t understand why we are so slow to share fairly. And to me, the world we have created requires that NGOs and other helping organizations are necessary, so they certainly should not be subjected to cutbacks that hurt the most vulnerable.

    Still, I have been learning much lately about how ‘energy flows where attention goes’ and I am doing my best to see the solutions in action, with changes of heart happening around the world. Yeah, I’m a dreamer . . . :-)

    Love and Light to you, Jill.

  5. sutzmanchego

    Wow the colours of the flowers and all the crafts in the shops are gorgeous! It’s definitely making me crave some sun – it’s so cold in Liverpool right now! Looking at your photos I could almost remember what it feels like to have the sun on my face! I totally agree re the phone thing; I always try and have my mobile put away when I’m having food with a friend. I think people forget we managed perfectly fine before mobiles came along! Looks like you had a great day anyway! Xx

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I DREAM of cold weather….although when I think about it really hard, I hated getting up to go to school/work when I lived in Blackpool! Wouldn’t it be perfect if the UK and South Africa could share their climates and alternate :)


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