An intimate seaside eatery, The Hart in Melkbosstrand in the Western Cape offers a welcome escape from franchised fare with its friendly atmosphere and wholesome approach to food.
The small town of Melkbosstrand is known for surfing, sunshine and simple pleasures, and is fast becoming a favourite weekend destination for those seeking to savour good food. At the forefront of the recent string of restaurants to embrace this concept is The Hart Breadhouse & Eatery. Situated one block up from the ocean, the beachfront bistro caters to locals and visitors alike, with its signature brand of home-style-cooking-meets-fine-dining ensuring repeat business.
Under the same ownership as its neighbour I Love Melkies, The Hart prides itself on excellent service, a convivial atmosphere and food with personality. The venue makes an ideal breakfast stop, lazy lunchtime spot or dinner destination, far away from the bustle of the city yet close enough for convenience.
Its warm and inviting interiors are playful without being pretentious – a simple screed floor, hardwood furniture and traditional riempie chairs have been paired with palm-print wallpaper, retro light fittings and a custom-built bar. As The Hart features an extensive wine and cocktail menu, it is prolifically stocked with libations – just don’t expect to find any ludicrous ones – here, classics are celebrated and an afternoon Aperol Spritz, artisanal G&T or Pimm’s Cup are languidly enjoyed with a view of the ocean.
As for the food, the menu is easy-going and caters to every taste – we opted for the bacon, fig and blue cheese burger, slow-roasted lamb shoulder with flatbreads, a fillet steak salad and rolled pork shoulder with pea puree – pairing our choices with a crisp Chardonnay Pinot Noir and a Syrah named Purple Lemins of Swartland origin that is available exclusively from The Hart.
The Hart is popular for its burgers and serves up a homemade beef patty cooked to a perfect medium rare and topped with a generous melting of blue cheese, bacon and preserved figs. Sandwiched within a brioche bun spread with house-made aioli and served with hand-cut chips and crispy onion rings, each mouthful brings out the careful consideration put into the dish. It was no different with the rest of the meal – the exquisitely plated rolled pork shoulder was a particular treat with its decadent addition of crackling, roasted apple slice, Parmesan crisp and deliciously sticky blueberry and red wine jus. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is five-star fare – which, in our opinion, it could be.
The eatery is filled with sunshine, and offers free Wi-Fi and an excellent chai latte, making The Hart a wonderful spot in which to spend an afternoon. For more information or to make a booking, visit thehart.co.za.