Healthy living: Harvest Cafe in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap has a cosy and comfortable ambiance. Picture: SUPPLIED
Healthy living: Harvest Cafe in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap has a cosy and comfortable ambiance. Picture: SUPPLIED

The leafy interior and quiet ambiance of Harvest Cafe belies the chaos below: the teeming throngs of tourists on Wale Street intent on snapping their fill of the candy-coloured iconic homes in Bo-Kaap, while cars zig-zag down the cobbled roads.

What awaits people who climb the stairs into the tastefully decorated space just above the Bo-Op collective is an oasis. It’s also a prime spot for enjoying panoramic views of Table Mountain.

The brainchild of Lloyd Becker and Sean Moncrieff, co-founders of the artisan ice cream brand The Nice Company, Harvest was born of a desire for parlour space.

"We kind of stumbled upon the place in the hope of opening up an ice cream parlor," says Moncrieff. "Lloyd knew the landlord of the building, who then took us up to show us the roof and we came across this hidden gem on the first floor.

"At first glance we thought an ice cream parlour could work, but then came to our senses and realised that the space was way too big.

"It was only a few months later when I had the idea of starting a cafe — something we both always wanted. We phoned and found out that the space was still available. From then on it all just snowballed."

The menu is a far cry from the decadent indulgences of their ice-creams: freshly pressed juices in shades of green and tumeric lattes (a to-scale latte artwork of Cape Town on the foam) populate the drinks list.

The TripAdvisor reviews of Harvest Cafe mention the coffee first for good reason. It is undoubtedly good, presented in custom-designed ceramic mugs for sale in the small retail section where the ice-cream, frozen yoghurt and sorbets are also on sale. The rest of the menu is healthy but not devoid of heart: a mix of options suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters.

"I have a background in personal training so I’ve always been conscious of what goes into my body. The menu is based around good, healthy, wholesome foods for vegans, vegetarians, banters — you name it," says Moncrieff.

"That’s where the name Harvest comes from; it’s a celebration of food."

Vegetarian chef Arabella Parkinson designed the diverse menu and with James Jeftha (previously the breakfast chef at Villa 47) heading up the kitchen dishes like eggs benedict served on zucchini fritters and topped with sautéed mushrooms and cranberries, quinoa bowls and pumpkin fritters topped with Greek yoghurt and granola quickly found a place in the hearts and mouths of Cape Town’s foodies.

At lunch time, the salads — grilled aubergine and honey, charred tomato, blueberries and haloumi, or green with tenderstem broccoli and snap peas — are first on the list, with chicken wraps and a sneaky beef burger appearing in descending (health) order.

"We aim to eventually grow our own produce on the restaurant’s expansive roof," says Moncrieff. "But for now, the space is dedicated to hosting yoga, Pilates, events and other exercise classes."

The interior is almost as good as the views. Described as "clean, cosy and comfortable", the neutral colours, rounded booths, tinted glass screens and shale walls are inspired by the textures and palettes in Bo-Kaap. The curved walls, fitted with a variety of green plants, complete the calming aesthetic.

Harvest Cafe is on the corner of Wale and Rose streets, Bo-Kaap.