Just next to the St George’s Cathedral is the Slave Lodge. The foundations of the building date back to 1679, originally it was where the slaves were lodged by the Dutch East India Company during 130 years.
In the mid 18th century about a 1000 inmates lodged there. In the beginning of the 19th century the slaves were sold off and the building was converted into government offices. It has been nearly everything from Supreme Court to Post Office. In 1968 it became the SA Cultural History Museum, and in 1998 it regained its old name of Slave Lodge. You can read about the whole story here. The Slave Lodge’s own site is a mine of information on the actual life of the slave, it is a very interesting read.
I have mixed feelings about the visit tough. The building itself is beautifully restored and what it stands for is extremely interesting. They have temporary expositions where they address human rights issues and raise awareness. There was an exposition about a couple and their fight against Apartheid, unfortunately I simply cannot remember their names. It also covers the history of the Cape, slavery in South Africa and so on – where, how and under which conditions the slaves came to the country and then lived. Now to the part I didn’t really like: well it’s more because it was a bit out of context. On the first floor, there are permanent Greek, Egyptians and other expositions and I just feel it takes away from the actual purpose of the building itself – but hey that might just be me.
At that point my tummy was quite empty and it was time to sit down and enjoy a nice lunch. I stopped at Fork, a tapas bar on Long Street for my well deserved rest.
There is a small terrace on the first floor which was perfect to sit on and enjoy a nice glass of white wine and a little bit of tasty food. There are only 4 tables outside; when I was there in February, the sun hid behind the building at 1pm, otherwise most of the tables are in the (hot) sun. Like most of the restaurants in Cape Town, the prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food served.
I had 2 dishes (and desert… I like desert!!) The first was a fig and feta salad – in my opinion there was too much dressing, but I usually take my dressing on the side – just forgot to ask for it: I always feel that restaurants in general, tend to drown their salads in dressing. Then I had veg curry – Cape style. It was very nice, not too spicy, on the sweeter side. It comes with papadums, I wish there would have been more of those. To go with this I had a glass of Organic, 282 Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin Ridge: sweet and fruity, with a mineral twist – perfect for a light lunch.
And desert. I have to confess. I have a very sweet tooth. Sometimes when we go out for dinner I only have desert. I cannot eat a whole meal and then allow myself to also indulge in chocolate or pudding – so I choose just desert. Here, I had expresso cream puffs: the puffs were light and so was the cream, not too sweet also. I easily ate all of them without feeling it was too much. However, I feel they could have tasted a bit more of expresso. I like coffee, but I also agree that it shouldn’t be overpowering, here I thought there was missing a bit of depth. Still, it was an enjoyable treat!
This restaurant is central, a nice little place to have a little rest before the afternoon walk. The service was personal and efficient.
Next post about my week end, will be about my walk in Bo-Kaap.