Lunch #24: Drones, a jag and winter whales at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa

It’s winter in Cape Town, which, much of the time, is made abundantly clear by things like rain, wind, clouds and dark, damp dreariness. But, sometimes, in a fit of utter absentmindedness, the weather becomes bewitched by the beauty of the city and gives us a day of perfect summer in the middle of winter.

Last Sunday was such a day. I was determined to make the most of it, so I volunteered to accompany The Supersize Stig on a drone shoot of the new supercharged F-type Jeeeaaaaag. (My impressive car knowledge comes from watching 20 seasons of Top Gear.)

We were up at Silvermine Dam by 7.30am, and this is the spectacle that greeted us:

Sunrise over Constantia

The sun, forgetting to hide behind clouds, rises over Cape Town.

No, actually I mean this:

Man ready to fly a drone

This is what a proper drone pilot looks like. It would be quite funny, if the whole flying a drone thing weren’t so impressive.

There were two drone pilots and two amazing wasp-like Freedom drones (made right here in SA) to follow the car around. After attracting an admiring crowd on Ou Kaapse Weg, we found a more secluded spot down by the Crayfish Factory and I got to drive the Jeeaaag at 20km/h up and down a hill a couple of times – which neither the Jeeaaag nor I thought was a very accurate depiction of our capabilities.

F-type Jaguar in Cape Town

The cat meeting other cats at the Crayfish Factory.

This was all extremely hungry work, so it was just as well Supersize Stig and I had something special and substantial to look forward to for lunch. Dear readers, this blog has brought me fame and glory. Or at least an extremely nice lunch where the waiter knew my name.

Yesterday, I was invited to Sunday lunch at no less than the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa – as an actual blogger. Now, I know this is breaking a couple of the supposed rules of this blog. I admit that The 12 Apostles is a fair distance from Long Street. But I’ve already broken that rule loads of times. Also, the buffet lunch, while fantastic value for money, is a tad over my original R40 limit, but I’ve broken that rule in the past too.

So, here is what to do when you have Sunday lunch at one of the world’s leading hotels, in the world’s most beautiful city on the most surprisingly sunny Sunday of the year:

  • First, park your Jeeaaag. This is easy, because the 12 Apostles actually has parking. Unlike pretty much any other eatery anywhere near the sea  on a mid-winter summer’s day in Cape Town.
  • Take your seat by the window, with a patch of golden sunshine and a perfect view of the sparkling sea, flat as a mirror facing the cloudless sky. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Relax.
Azure Restaurant, 12 Apostles

Yes! I’ve found it – probably the only quiet, spacious spot in Cape Town for a sunny seaside lunch.

  • Have Supersize Stig order a bottle of Anura Sauvignon Blanc. He can drive the Jeeaaag home.
  • Ask Stig to bring you something to eat. Being a stunt driver has made you too exhausted to stand up again. ‘Something’ turns out to be seared tuna and pear and walnut salad with soft boiled eggs and crunchy green beans. Clever Stig!
Want meat? You got it!

Want meat? You got it!

  • Now that your strength has been restored, go back to the buffet for seconds and thirds, smiling at the lady on the keyboard who sounds just like Eva Cassidy (she’s actually Jenie Oliver).
  • Hear a bell? That’s the whale bell, conveniently rung when they make an appearance so you don’t have to strain your eyes looking for them. Watch other people point at whales. You can see them from your table anyway. No need to stand up.
If you're feeling just a tad energetic, take a camera along, because you will see whales getting up to all sorts of antics out there.

If you’re feeling a tad energetic, take a proper camera along, because you will see whales getting up to all sorts of antics out there.

  • Finish the wine as you heroically forego seconds of dessert in favour of cheese and biscuits.

I didn’t have firsts or seconds of the red velvet cake and I rather regret it.

  • Climb back into the car feeling blissfully content with life, the universe, wine and whales, only to be blasted out of your seat by the howl of an angry engine accelerating in first gear.
  • Mentally apologise to the diners on the deck for shattering the perfect serenity of their Sunday afternoon.
  • Vow to use a quieter car next time, when you take the Girl in the Pearls for Pink Tea By The Sea.

Azure Restaurant, with its generous Sunday buffet, is the perfect venue for a relaxed Sunday lunch. Dishes include a splendid array of imaginative salads and amuse-bouches, fresh fish, roast lamb and sirloin and a mass of mouthwatering desserts. Lunch is served every Sunday between 12h30 and 15h30 and costs R285 per person (half price for children under 12).

During August, the 12 Apostles is serving a special pink version of their Tea by the Sea at the Leopard Bar. Ladies get a glass of pink MCC on arrival, followed by freshly baked scones, a selection of dainty finger sandwiches, and a range of pink themed sweet delights, all served with the finest fragrant teas and coffees for R160 per person.

To make a booking, contact restaurant reservations on 021 437 9029 or

Azure Restaurant

A properly professional photo of Azure, not shot by me or my iPhone.