Obs! Just saying the word (or not quite a word, but rather the shortened name of the suburb) will conjure up many a memory for different generations of Capetonians. If there is one street which is the heartbeat of Obs, it’s Lower Main Rd. On this street you will find all that is unique about the area. A lot has changed since I last visited Lower Main Rd, Observatory, but one of the constants is Obz Café. I have said it before and I will say it again, the hardest thing for a restaurant to achieve in Cape Town is longevity. Those that achieve it need to have delicious food at the core of its offering. We went there on a Thursday night to try it out for ourselves.
Firstly, when going out to Obs (particularly in the evening) remember one thing – Uber is your friend! Parking spaces in Lower Main Rd is extremely limited and, even if you are lucky to find a space, your parking skills need to be top-notch to be able to navigate into it. I drove on the night (to be driven back by a “take-me-home” service) and found myself circling the vicinity trying to find a parking space, which I eventually found down a side street. I arrived at the entrance of Obz Café at the exact same time as my fellow bru, who had just exited his Uber – his face showing a totally different level of relaxation to mine. Due to unforeseen circumstances earlier in the evening, two of the other bru’s had to pull out, so it was to be just him and myself on the night. We walked into a packed restaurant and were looking forward to the evening ahead.
We were soon greeted by our friendly waiter, who began by taking our drinks orders. We both ordered an Obz Lager, which is brewed by Noon Gun. This first drink didn’t last too long (one can really build up a thirst looking for a parking space in Obs, you know) and we soon ordered another round of the same. The food offerings on the menu catered for all tastes. We were thrilled to see that their burgers all had incredible sounding topping combinations. Those would have to wait, though, as Chili Poppers would first take centre stage. These arrived in a portion of 6, deep fried in a panko crumbed batter. We added bacon for an additional R10, and this was mixed in with the cheesy filling, consisting of sour cream and cheddar. The peppers had just the right amount of heat, and the batter never broke up when bitten into. This had the helpful effect of not having the cheesy goodness spill out, which tends to happen far too often at a lot of restaurants. The accompaniments (which included sour cream, guacamole, and sweet chilli sauce) were generously portioned which allowed us to go wild when dolloping our Poppers.
A portion of Poppers down the hatch later, and it was on to the main event – burgers! The other bru went for the Crunchy Munchy Burger (crispy bacon, camembert cheese, caramelised onions, and fresh rocket) and I ordered the Bacon, Avo & Feta Burger (crispy bacon, Danish feta cheese, and fresh avo).
The burgers came served on a delicious toasted brioche bun and arrived with a side of delicious crispy chips, cooked as well as we could’ve hoped for. To say the toppings were generous would be an understatement – they were plentiful. My attempts at eating the burger with my hands proved a futile exercise, as the mound of toppings caused me to pull my jaw muscle into a spasm…
Having finished our burgers, we both deduced that value for money at Obz Café was as good as it gets. There was none of that sense of eating a delicious meal and wanting more. Don’t get me wrong, we both wanted more but just couldn’t! We were extremely well fed, having enjoyed every bite of the burgers’ demise.
Having finished, it dawned on us that we must’ve stuck out like sore thumbs. Throughout the evening, pizzas were whizzing out of the kitchen as it was their 2-for-1 pizza special night. Still, we had to remain true to our craft (get it?) and stick to eating what we eat best!
In terms of the décor, it is very chic and eye-catching. The bare-brick wall with framed photos gives the restaurant a homely feeling. The varied array of patrons on the night spoke volumes to the fact that Obz Café is a restaurant that appeals to all. And rest assured burger lovers, this is a place where you can dine happy!
Beginnings – All of the usual suspects one has become accustomed to expect from a Cape Town establishment – and delicious too! 5
Burgers – Value-for-money + incredible flavour and combinations = a burger eating experience of the highest order. 5
Beers – Few craft beers on the menu, but more on tap if you enquire. We enjoyed our beers but, overall (and not surprisingly, perhaps) not the largest craft beer selection. 3
Bringers – He was very friendly and attentive throughout. Good, slick service – although he loses a point for not having let us know about the pizza special. Perhaps he thought we had known about it but he should, in the words of an old college lecturer of mine (in the most Afrikaans of accents), “NEVERRR ASSUME!” 4
Background – A full restaurant on a Thursday night in late Autumn must be doing something right…even when running a great special. A great vibe throughout the night! 5