On Saturday 19 November 2011 my wife and I were in Kommetjie, at the annual festival held in this quaint seaside village south of Cape Town on the Atlantic coast. Looking for somewhere to have coffee, we were pleasantly surprized to discover that a new coffee shop/restaurant had recently opened there - Decks Cafe in Kirsten Avenue, opposite Kommetjie Primary School. We went inside and were stunned by the interior. Somebody has invested a LOT of money in renovating the place, because it has been completely gutted and remodelled.
The premises always had a sizeable outside area at the back, but previous restaurants in this location did not make good use of it. The new owners have installed concertina-style glass doors across the whole wall leading to the outside, laid a wooden deck inside and outside and thus completely integrated the interior and exterior area. Where previously it was dark and shabby, the whole place is now light and airy, with fantastic views westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. An old surfboard has been used near the entrance to create an interesting "surfers counter" where people can stand and have coffee. There are plenty of tables inside and outside (front and back), with a smaller, semi-enclosed area that could be used for private groups. The ambience is relaxed and casual, as one would expect in a restaurant in this surfer's mecca.
The place is family-oriented and very child-friendly. The back outside area is completely enclosed and safe, and there is a large wooden "pirate boat" for children to play in. Next to the boat are the toilets, which are themselves extremely interesting and unusual - they are outside, reached by walking along (inevitably) a wooden deck. Everything is wood, making the bathroom experience somewhat different and pleasant.
Most importantly, the food and coffee was good and reasonably priced. Kommetjie is a laid-back community of surfers and retired people, mostly middle-class, and a pretentious up-market establishment simply would not survive (as a number of previous restaurants that were in the same spot discovered to their cost). Decks Cafe seems to have got the mixture right - good food, good prices and excellent service in a casual, relaxed environment.
I wish the owners of Decks Cafe every success in their new venture. They are extremely brave, because in the last ten years several restaurants and coffee shops have tried to make a go of it in the same location and all failed. But the initial prognosis is good, and I shall certainly be patronising them again.
16 Kirsten Avenue
(Phone) +27 21 783 2791
[Update 1] Unfortunately Decks Cafe did not manage to sustain their initial success and closed down in March 2014 - just like all previous restaurants in that location. The whole endeavour must have been VERY costly for somebody ...
[Update 2] Amazingly, ANOTHER restaurant has since popped up in that same spot. I visited it in July 2014 and was extremely disappointed - overpriced food, terrible coffee, shoddy service ; I guess they won't last very long either.
[Update 3] Predictably, the place that opened up after Decks Cafe has closed.