The Hub Café
This little gem on the Scarborough foreshore couldn’t have had a more appropriate name if it tried. The Hub Café is exactly that; a hive of activity, all centred around local produce and delicious plates of food. Throw in some panoramic sea views, a patio full of oversized couches and low coffee tables, a lovely, high ceilinged dining area and heaps of friends and conversations, and you find yourself right in the middle of the happy bustle that is The Hub Café!
Setting the scene
Growing up, Scarborough was the place with the big waves and snow-white, sandy beaches. You pass through a cluster of tiny little houses, tucked into tiny little roads named after indigenous antelope and flowers. The landmark, other than the actual camel rock, was the Camel Rock Restaurant across the road, but that was really it. Nowhere specific; and nowhere to linger a bit, either. Unless you were a surfer or a resident, or a resident surfer…
It turned out to be a windy, rainy kind of Cape Town winters-day, but it was clear skies when we set out earlier the morning for a lazy Sunday drive around Cape Point. We packed a picnic to eat at Buffelsbaai, but the weather quickly turned unpleasant and we were forced to put our picnic on hold. By the time we left the park, we were absolutely ravenous. We decided to continue along the Peninsula route and hopefully find somewhere close-by to stop and have a sandwich to tide us over until dinner, seeing that the picnic idea has been blown out the window by the gale force wind!
My mom was quietly convinced that we would find somewhere to eat in Scarborough, but I very quickly told her that it might just be wishful thinking. As The Little Hedonist, I know everything about food and where to find it (or so I thought, at least!). As we came into the quaint little village (that’s not so little anymore!), my mom pointed to the big grey building on the right.
The building was as grey as the brewing storm. The parking lot was filled with cars, but not a soul in sight. It seemed a bit eery at first, so I reluctantly indicated and parked the car close to where I thought I could see an entrance to the building. I wasn’t even convinced that it was open.
We made a run for the door, and once we lifted our heads and wiped the rain from our eyes, it was as if we stepped into a European fresh food market in the middle of summer! Bustling with activity, I could hear people chattering and laughing; I could see shelves of local preserves and pickles, crates of fresh veggies and deli counters filled to the brim with all sorts of decadent treats. People were shopping and eating and conversing; seemingly blissfully unaware of the dreadful weather outside.
Whilst we stood in awe, taking in our surroundings, a friendly man must’ve heard our stomachs rumbling and he quickly ushered us up the stairs to The Hub Café. I didn’t expect to find much at the top of the stairs, but again, for the second time that day, I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw in front of me.
A large, wooden-paneled, high-ceilinged café with a rustic bar and wrap-around patio. Clusters of people huddled at tables, eating and drinking and generally avoiding the miserable weather outside. Even the patio was full of people, each nestled in a fleecy blanket with cups of steaming coffee between their hands. A friendly little fire crackled in the corner, and beautifully restored brass lights cast a warm blanket of light over the merry patrons.
I was not expecting the menu I was presented with. I was thinking toasted sandwich vibes, but instead the menu enticed with very fine-dining-ish options, including a range of chef’s specials for the day. I was very excited at the selection of menu items, which all seemed very well thought through and carefully selected to cater for all tastes.
Between the four of us, we ordered a summer celebration platter (with added parma-ham), a veggie burger, a beef burger and an “Outer Kom” pizza. As we waited for our food, I noticed a steady trickle of people coming and going, staying just long enough for a cup of coffee or for a full, leisurely lunch.
Although very minimalistic in decor and design, the chosen pieces of furniture fit beautifully in the large, open space. Shiny, polished surfboards lined the outer wall, without it looking like the inside of a sport-fanatic’s garage. On the furthest wall, a modern bookshelf containing a selection of carefully arranged items that as a whole, presents in that fashionable “organised chaos” look. The vintage brass lights, coupled with a few uber-modern brass light fittings, adds a certain ambiance to the airy space, reminiscent of both what has been and what is yet to come.
I absolutely loved the wood panelling everywhere, which called for a striking contrast with the pure white of the exposed roof rafters. I had my reservations about the metal chairs, but they were very comfortable in their simplicity. The whole café had a bit of a vintage-industrial feel to it, but wasn’t cold and uninviting at all (which is always the risk with this approach); in fact, quite the opposite. It was warm and inviting, and presented as a sophisticated hangout for the lovers of good food. I was totes in the right place!
Our food arrived and I couldn’t retrieve my camera with enough haste. By now we all know I have a thing about pretty food, and that was exactly what we received. Four beautiful, fresh, bright boards of rustic haute cuisine, served with confidence and pride.
My summer celebration platter was very appropriately named; a festive selection of homemade dips (pumpkin hummus and basil pesto), olives, rocket, cherry tomatoes, and generous slices of parma ham, served with corn chips and freshly baked ciabatta bread. The beef burger was a monster; 200gr of free-range, grass-fed, 100% pure beef burger, served with a special BBQ sauce, crispy onion rings, sweet potato fries and a side salad. The veggie burger was just as substantial, made from a mix of fragrantly spiced chickpeas, butter beans and roasted veggies, topped with hummus and pesto. But then, the pizza. The pizza! The be-all and end-all of my whole existence. The “Outer Kom” was everything I love in a pizza; a thin, crispy base, flavourful slices of salami, sweet cherry tomatoes and just the right ratio of cheese to toppings. Topped with handfuls of fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of basil pesto to cut through the creamy mozarella. What a feast!
We hungrily ate our food, all warm and snug and cozy inside, whilst it continued to drizzle outside. Even more people came in to seek refuge from the icy weather, and I absolutely loved the quiet bustle.
I had a chat with our waitress afterwards, and now I understand all the moving parts. Downstairs is the delicious deli and whole foods shop, called Foragers. This was the little wonderland we visited when we first entered the building. Foragers also supply the restaurant upstairs with the delicious ingredients for their menu, like the basil pesto and pumpkin hummus. They also cater for breakfasts and lunches. And these all form the foundations of the larger initiative, called “The Village Hub”, which refers to the whole building of little shops that now take up residence in Scarborough.
I’m very glad we stumbled across this hub on such a grey and dreary day. For a few hours, our souls were warmed, our steps lightened, our stomachs filled and our afternoon brightened. What a welcome reprieve against the onslaughts of life. Not your conventional Sunday lunch, but to be honest, I’d rather go sit on that patio in summer with a tapas board and a beer than having a roast. Definitely one I’d take friends to for a catch up, or family for a treat. A very welcome and needed addition to Scarborough indeed!
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.