Laurent and Cyrillia Deslandes have moved Bizerca uptown to Heritage Square, where their premises include the wind-protected courtyard at the square’s heart, and the masterstroke is that, while settling into the new space and giving it their own understated style, they also added something akin to placing a striking centrepriece on a dinner table to provide a talking point: an entire wall of the restaurant interior has been turned into a vertical herb garden.
History repeats itself. La Colombe had a brilliant chef who grew an international reputation for the Constantia restaurant and earned it a slew of awards. Then he left and started his own, more modest, eatery. La Colombe found a brilliant replacement, who clawed back its international reputation and earned it a slew of awards. But now he too has left and opened his own, more modest, restaurant.
The verkrampte mindset of the perpetrators of apartheid sucked all of the potential for fun out of life and it would have been crass to have partied openly in the face of what was going on. But we could live in hope and try to imagine that world beyond our grasp, where the fall of a leaf on the cobbles at your feet could silence the distant bomb. Things have come so far from those dark-heart days. St George’s Mall is lined with cafés and restaurants from Wale to Riebeeck. The square has finally started to resemble the kind of square you find in a city such as Amsterdam or the Old Town Square in Prague, another city with a bleak past.