The very talented and slightly crazy Crystal Birch introduced me to the equally talented but not as crazy Vida Schiff, or Vida Lucy, as she is better known and who is Cape Town’s biggest fan. A creative that’s on the move – quite literally – you’ll spot her on her Jonny Loco on the Sea Point promenade until September, which is when she’s off to study environmental design in Toronto. Oh. The. Life.
I heard of Vida’s apartment before I heard of her. It’s off Loop Street, overlooks the city and has high ceilings and a definite industrial chic/New York feel. Quite simply, it’s amazing, and she’s the first to say so: ‘I have this space and I thought it needs to be shared.’
So, for the two months before Vida leaves for Canada, she has transformed her apartment into Cape Town’s coolest pop-up concept restaurant. I attended the dry run of 4C on Friday evening and I can tell you this: it’s an experience you can’t miss. The concept is simple – the menu has been created by Congolese beauty and head chef Maryse Bakomito and food consultant and chef Daniel Heyns of Maremoto, who is also responsible for restaurant start-ups such as El Burro and Lola’s, with inspiration from Storm Rodger. The food is simple but delicious. A new menu is created each week but you’re guaranteed three wholesome soups (vegan, vegetarian and meat), a selection of fresh breads and a glass of wine or beer. Hot Honest chocolate served with shortbread ends everything off perfectly.
Vida’s apartment has been transformed, designed and installed by architect Steven Hitchcock. There are no traditional tables or seating. Everyone has to create their own dining environment – to be social, think picnic on top of a mountain – you adapt and rearrange your environment and the result is something I like. I found myself eating under a triangular shard – on my left, a man who looked like Jesus and who was passionate about a story pertaining to an automatic pancake maker, and on my right, well, an entirely different conversation was on the go.
A clever way, I say, to meet people, especially for Cape Town where people are not known for being overly friendly. So there I sat, next to a pyramid, in a social incubator that is easy to pop up and pop back down again, a tree stump as my table. The pyramid’s shelves are lined with succulents and all that fixes the structure to the floor is Velcro. The room is dotted with pyramids to create intimate spaces. And then there is the music, an audio landscape created by musicians Stuart Ziegler and Simon Kohler of Kalata. All the elements work together but it’s the music that makes the experience unique. The duo recorded bird and ambient sounds of nature, but you will not hear the same sounds on any two nights. Their music conjures up a feeling of comfort and delivers the objective of 4C – to feel at home, familiar and comfortable.
If you are after something different, this is it. Really, it is.
The atmosphere laid-back, so laid-back that you are welcome to snooze, chat, play Jenga, pass around Magic Eye – anything goes.
If you’re wondering what to do on a cold evening in Cape Town, remember, there is a pop-up soup apartment where a bunch of talented people have made soup a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
4C opens 21 June and will be on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 14 August. Book here.
For more info on 4C, click here.
Photographs: Cindy Taylor and Soup-apartment.com