Lunch #20: Cape Town’s best Mutton Salome at Mountain View Café

Today I played bountiful hostess to a most esteemed fellow writer, The Man Who Catches Many Planes.

The Man Who Catches Many Planes is the only person I have ever met who manages to make a proper living as a freelance travel writer. He even has a wife and child who don’t have to support him by standing at busy intersections. TMWCMP has agreed to tell a roomful of Avid Students how he does this as part of the travel writing course I’m giving (again) at UCT. His only condition was that I take him on a Long Street Lunch.

I had, in fact, agreed to take him on a lunch last year, the first time he spoke to Avid Students for me. But TMWCMP was too busy catching flights to exotic destinations to meet me for noodles at Bamboo. So today when he arrived (probably fresh off an Airbus), I gave him two options for lunch: Bamboo, or this lovely new spot I’ve been eyeing with interest for the last few weeks…

As well as this beautiful mural, Kilimanjaro Restaurant offers African food, beer and pool, and is underneath Long Street’s most complained-about landmark: Senator Park

Since TMWCMP had noticed a large number of what he tactfully referred to as ‘mice’ on his last visit to Bamboo, and Kilimanjaro Restaurant was almost as dark inside as it was empty when we peered through the bead curtain, we chose the wildcard lunch-location instead. This involves strolling down Long Street looking for somewhere interesting and obviously cheap. And this is what we saw…

In case you were in any doubt, it is called Mountain View Take-Aways. (But I still got it wrong.)

Now, any good travel writer knows that a busy lunch spot is a good lunch spot, and TMWCMP is a very good travel writer indeed, so he dragged us both inside. We were fortunate enough to arrive during a brief lull in business, because as we were to discover, Mountain View Take-Aways is possibly the most popular lunch spot in Long Street.

We ordered food: a mutton salome for me, a chicken and cheese burger for TMWCMP. To drink, I had a cheeky can of Coke Zero while he selected a Stoney. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a Mountain Dew at Mountain View, but TMWCMP says it hasn’t been available in Cape Town for at least 20 years. I insisted on paying the bill of R76. (Nobody can say that I don’t reward favours generously.)

For starters, TMWCMP treated us each to a R3 samoosa. Hot, crunchy and delicious as they were, I was unprepared for the magnificence of my mutton salome when it arrived.

As usual, I’ve managed to make my food look like a Halloween prank, but take my word for it, this salome was well worth breaking the No Carb All Fat diet for. It was flaky, crispy and bulging with tasty mutton and potatoes. (Note eminent travel writer’s hand clutching burger bun in background.)

I now understood exactly why Mountain View was packed. Where else could you get such a perfect meal for R35 in a matter of minutes?

I could only love Mountain View even more when I saw what they’ve put in place of a tip jar. The lady behind the jars is lovely and friendly, but apparently my portraits are as good as my food photography.

On the other hand, the view from our table wasn’t quite as advertised:

I know all about poetic license, but this is taking it a bit far.

As we walked back sharing a warm, juicy, R3 cinamon doughnut – me to my desk and TMWCMP probably to the airport – I pointed out, in a profound sort of way, that the Mountain View Take Away is exactly the type of place that makes Cape Town so surprising and fun, even for such seasoned travellers as TMWCMP and me.

P.S. You can follow TMWCMP on Twitter @onanotherplane. I do.

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