Breakfast pans by the beach
“Dude food made real.” Never mind the “dude food…” what about the panoramic views and the cool vibe and the awesomely rustic warehouse-meets-my-granny’s-display-cabinet décor? This gem of a restaurant is jammed squarely into the bustling Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner. Drag yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning and grab the best seats in the house, reserved for the early birds, the Instagrammers and the foodies (luckily, I’m an awesome combo of all the above!). Socialise over steaming cups of coffee whilst overlooking our beautiful bay and the lazy shenanigans of the surfers. Tiger's Milk serves their breakfasts in a pan and the staff are totally rad, man!
Three course meal…
08.30 am on a normal Saturday morning and Surfer's Corner is a hive of activity. Parking is a rare commodity and the streets are full of surfers carrying longboards, couples walking dogs and children running for the jungle gym. Even if you're not a morning person, you can't help but get swept up in the happy vibes that saturate this busy square of Muizenberg Beach. On this particular Saturday, it was sunny with clear skies, and unlike the lazy huddles of sun-seekers and surfers with nothing else to do on a weekend morning, we came in search of something very specific: Tiger's Milk.
Names fascinate me in general, so you could imagine my excitement to get stuck into the meaning of the name, Tiger's Milk. I thought maybe there would be a bit more background on their unique choice of name on their website, but I’m none the wiser. Google gave me all sorts of slang/urban interpretations of tiger's milk, but none of them really stood out as obvious. Do any of you know what the reference might be, if there is one?
We found Tiger's Milk in a double storey square building, wedged between the surf shop and an apartment block. The signage had a vintage movie theatre "light up lettering" feel to it and was very modest in its announcement of the restaurant. We were a bit early (as per my anxious nature - I despise being late!) so we had a little walk and took some photos. As soon as I saw the waiters had opened those vast expanses of windows on the top floor and beckoned us with big smiles to come in, I made a beeline for the entrance. Nothing comes between me and my Saturday morning bacon and eggs. Except maybe a croissant every now and again... but that's a story for another day.
When you step into the beautiful and vast reception area, you leave the hubbub of Surfer's Corner behind. Once you have made your acquaintance with the gold bull's head on the wall above the menu, your nose leads you up a very art deco graphic design inspired flight of stairs. The feature wall has been adorned with old magazine adverts and already I'm liking this place more and more... and that's just the entrance hall!
At the top, you're greeted with quite an eyeful. Tiger's Milk opens up into a large, open-plan multi-functional venue, which caters for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, parties and everything in between. Seeing that we were literally the first people in, we had a choice of seats. Of course we ran for the sea-facing counter-top tables right at the front. Open the windows, feel the breeze on your face! Smell the sea and taste the sun. We were in our element.
As we were settling in, people started to trickle in, filling the restaurant from the front backwards, as if by some unspoken rule. Of course everyone wants a view with brekkie. Our very jovial waitress carried a large chalkboard to our table and excitedly explained all the breakfast options. I went for the double breakfast pan and Karl opted for the Ranchero's pan. One decaf and one cappuccino.
I took the time to have a walk around whilst waiting for our pans to be fired up. Everything, from the massive bar counter to the locally crafted wooden furniture and glass bottle lamps, have been carefully arranged and considered for maximum impact. It hints at elegantly organised chaos, reminiscent of your granny's familiar home and her multiple bookshelves packed with bric-à-brac. I was in love. This place is grand, and so totally my style!
Although it's full of quirky things, the overall feel is elegant and modern. Light and airy, thanks to the massive converted-warehouse set up. There are a few pièces de résistance, like the massive wood-and-mirror ceiling, the come-dine-with-me wooden family seater table for groups, the stone pizza oven and of course the canoes hanging from the roof. The kitchen is in full view of the restaurant, and I've always maintained that you have to be confident in your staff and food to open your kitchen to your diners. Love it. I get the feeling that Tiger's Milk turns into a massive party town once the sun sets, judging by the extensive bar area and array of drinks, not to mention their own craft beer (and a whole variety of other local flavours) on tap. I can imagine the dining room being converted into an epic dance floor by night. You've gotta see it to believe it.
By the time I returned to my table, patrons were happily taking pictures, reading newspapers, sipping orange juices and pondering over the chalkboard menu. Karl and I just sat like dogs with our noses out the window.
Our breakfast pans arrived, along with our second coffees, and all was well with the world. So fresh, so colourful. And at R58 a pan, very affordable for a decently sized breakfast made with quality ingredients. The presentation was beautiful. Karl's Ranchero's pan took the prize, though. A lovely, warm Mexican interpretation of breakfast, with lashings of cheese, bacon, tomato sauce, beans and a bit of spice, all to be lapped up with toasted slices of sourdough bread. Although the chalkboard menu seems small, it caters for all tastes, from the budget conscious to the pickiest of kiddies. The waitress was also more than happy to swap out the mushrooms for extra bacon in my breakfast pan. We stayed for quite a while still after we licked our pans clean and finished our coffees, just for the pure enjoyment of the scenery and vibe.
By the time we reluctantly got up to leave, Tiger's Milk was really heating up with hungry diners starting to queue at the top of the stairs. I definitely want to return for lunch, as the lunch options look super yummy. Maybe, just maybe, I can one day also pop out and experience Tiger's Milk after dark...
All in all, two massive thumbs up for a chain restaurant. I don't really do chains (not counting my obsession with M&B!) and generally try and seek out the more indie eateries, but this is really an experience. It was a Saturday morning for the books.
Meet Amilinda Wilkinson
Amilinda Wilkinson is a small town girl with big dreams. She is a nature geek, total foodie, devoted wife and mother to furry children. When she's not at the office, she explores, writes about, photographs and indulges in this fragile adventure we call life.
Read more from Amilinda on her blog The Little Hedonist.