We found The Ottoman Coffee House by chance, but what a lovely chance. Someone shared an Instagram photo; we searched for the place and found ourselves one surprisingly chilly summer morning standing outside the Bella Ev Guesthouse. Three magical rings of the bell brought the delightful Kerime to the door and we were ushered into the cocoon of Arabian dreams that is what Kerime calls The Ottoman Coffee House.
Kerime’s lineage stretches back eleven hundred years documented, and she traces her heritage through the Ottoman Empire to the ancestral rulers of regions of modern-day Turkey. One certainly feels pulled back in time when sitting in Kerime’s courtyard, surrounded by Persian carpets, tassels hanging from the trees, mosaics and paintings of famous Ottoman women on the wall.
Despite being outside, one is surrounded by a feeling of sumptuousness and luxury. Comfortable chairs in yellow silk at low tables invite intimate conversations, a maroon hammock beckons you to float lazily, tables are ready laid and waiting for some delectable eats and drinks to be served.
Kerime wants to re-create the Harem; no, not in the naughty way of myths and legends, but in the nurturing way of the sisterhood – of women helping and supporting each other, whether it is in business or in relaxation. Men are allowed in The Ottoman Coffee House, of course, and they are treated as sultans, served their coffee and cake first. But Kerime laughs and winks and says – ‘we know who is really in charge.’
There are two types of coffee: Praline Coffee, which is like liquid praline and can be drunk all day; or real Turkish coffee, which will certainly make you sit up and pay attention. Coffee is served in beautiful hand-painted coffee cups, on an Ottoman tray, with a silver or gold almond, imported direct from Istanbul. There are also various other eastern delights on offer – Turkish Delight, Borek, Russian cake or Ukrainian cake (available to be bought and taken home in be-ribonned boxes).
Zuma (I kid you not) and Daisy are also on attendance to make sure that all runs smoothly, but Kerime is the star of the show. She is the ultimate hostess and she loves to sit and tell stories in her silky voice – Arabian stories, Greek mythology or stories from her past – you will be mesmerized in this Muizenberg courtyard and feel you are somewhere else and in some time else altogether...
Opening times: Thurs - Sun: 9am - 4pm.
8 Camp Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Tel: (021) 788 1293