Early morning mist lingers over flat False Bay sea. Yachts loll at their berth at Simonstown Yacht Club. That is the perfect view that fills your vision as you enter the upstairs restaurant of The Meeting Place on Main Road in Simonstown. Opposite the entrance to Simonstown wharf, the building landmark is the pink pillars.
Adventurous Olivia Martin went to London as many young people do. She got a job in a restaurant run by Debbie and chef husband, Karl Jaensch. After several years they all returned to South Africa, where Olivia and Debbie, together with Olivia’s Mum, Pam Gain, started TMP – in year 2000.
Over the 16 years of existence many changes have come and gone as they have reinvented themselves as circumstances presented.
TMP or The Meeting Place just rolls off your tongue and gives the connotation of conversation, good friends and family, and being ‘gesellig’ (Afrikaans for convivial, cosy, fun, or nice atmosphere, but can also connote belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence)
In the early phase, TMP was only upstairs and included beautiful Provence-style interior decor merchandise together with the restaurant. When the tenant downstairs vacated, the decor-side of the business moved there, also selling light lunches and refreshments – run by Pam, allowing the upstairs restaurant to focus on meals and wines/drinks – run by Olivia. Debbie and her husband moved to Paternoster.
Every two to three years the upstairs restaurant has a face-lift. This is a refreshing surprise for the clientele as you climb to the top of the stairs and see fresh paint, new colours and innovative decor.
Olivia’s husband, Dave Martin, has brought his invaluable butcher skill to the table. His father is a butcher and is still in the trade. Dave’s skill and associations are a huge plus and you can be assured that the meats (beef, lamb or pork) are of the highest quality. Quite unique, Dave cures his own bacon – so I recommend the ‘Fry-up’ on the breakfast menu – with bacon like you have not tasted before! My all time favourite is the fresh line-fish that they have delivered on alternate days. I invariably tell myself that I will be adventurous and choose something different – but when presented with the menu, again go with the fish! I am never disappointed.
You never feel rushed over your meal. After a hectic work-week, we have enjoyed many a leisurely weekend breakfast, taking in the million dollar view while relaxing and recharging batteries.
Rob and I have always enjoyed TMP restaurant as the food is fresh and beautifully presented. Whether breakfast, lunch or supper the fare is always delicious. Not too noisy (we can hear each other speak) one can sit indoors, or on the balcony enjoying the best view in Simonstown.
This year, after a busy season, TMP have shorter winter hours of 9am till 4pm. They are however open for booked evening functions.