OH the memories! Arnold’s has been around since 1998, pretty much the same time I embarked on a particularly hedonistic phase of existence which required all-day breakfasts, and breakfasts with an ice cold beer.
Although the owners are new-ish (four years), the vibe is the same (and the smoking section is still in the same place). You can still get your sausage and eggs any time; there is a super-early bird special from 6.30am (two eggs, two strips of bacon, two ostrich/pork chippolatas, fried tomato, toast and preserves for the princely sum of R35). For those who believe, like I do, that breakfast can be at any hour you decide to emerge from the comfort of your bed, there are so many options, from bowls to Banting.
From the road, Arnold’s looks exactly the same as it always has – casual bench seating and a view of the City Bowl buzz with Table Mountain in the background. Inside, it sports a fresh new look, courtesy of a fire in one of the flats upstairs during lockdown which resulted in water damage and therefore renovations. There are always silver linings if you look hard enough.
The lunch and dinner menus have plenty to offer, still with a focus on venison dishes. Plus there are so many super specials you’d be mad not to take advantage. For example, happy four hours from 2-6pm, cocktails for R49 (how even? But who are we to argue), a cheese and guacamole burger with a Jack Black beer for R75 from 10am, mimosas all day for R30 (right?!), half-price pizzas, and steak, egg, chips and salad for R99.
The Arnold’s salad with crispy bacon, sliced avocado, feta, cherry tomato and mixed peppers, drizzled with homemade dressing over mixed greens is just the kind of salad I’d go for. I mean, bacon. Say no more. But because of the venison vibe, I decided to order the warthog ribs, lightly basted and flame grilled, with fries and a little salad to make me feel like I’d had my greens for the day. Utterly yummy and slide-off-the-bone, which is exactly what one expects from one’s ribs. My friend had the Jack Black burger special, after we’d shared spicy jalapeño poppers (above) stuffed with cream cheese and served with yoghurt dip to start. And by shared I mean I had one, he had the rest, because I’m a total girl when it comes to hot stuff.
Those with a hankering for the unusual, there’s ostrich (okay that’s quite normal these days), gemsbok, kudu, eland, and even crocodile. Pastas, poultry, seafood, meaty grills, vegetarian…Arnold’s has it all.
Wine comes in a carafe, which is jolly and festive, and be sure to ask what cakes are available, unless you feel like indulging in the childlike joy of a banana split.
Arnold’s was a fave hangout when I lived in the City Bowl; now it’s not on my doorstep anymore but definitely still worth the drive into town.
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PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©