El Burro Newlands — Cape Town, South Africa

Wood designed dining area with green and blue recessed arch in wall designs, hanging lights, long tables with a mix of leather sofa seating and wooden chairs
(Image credit: press)

By any yardstick, Nic Haarhoff and his partners are building a tasty little F+B empire for themselves in South Africa, delivering a well-designed mix of Mexican concept eateries in equally charming settings.

The latest outpost of their El Burro brand is in leafy Newlands, one of Cape Town’s toniest suburbs on the western slopes of Table Mountain. The walls between two adjoining retail shops were knocked down and the entire length of shop front windows replaced by folding concertina windows. The result is an expansive dining room that is lined with recessed arches, and dressed and designed by Haahoff and his partners with light fixtures, horizontal timber slats, and customised furniture, and painted in sectional swatches of sunny yellow, pink and grey.

As with the El Burro Taqueria and the flagship El Burro Greenpoint, the menu here is resolutely Mexican. Executive chefs Reinette Botha and Mariaan Labuschagne send out classic crowd-pleasers like a cerviche of finely diced angel fish marinated with lime juice, coriander, and ginger. The moles are made with 70 per cent organic chocolate and served with a herbed green rice and refried beans, while the marquee attraction – an eight-hour braised mutton flavoured with star anise, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon – is piled into house-made corn tortillas with slaw, guacamole, pickled red onions, and roasted chilli.

Wood designed dining area with green and blue recessed arch in wall designs, tables, chairs and hanging lights

(Image credit: press)

Pink arched walls with a view of the reception in the background. A mix of Blue sofas and wooden chairs with wooden rectangle tables. Cream hanging lights and green plants in pots.

(Image credit: press)

Green and white coloured bar and 4 bar stools with a display of drinking glasses, wine glasses, hanging lights and vased green plants on both ends of the bar

(Image credit: press)

A dining area of the restaurant with pink accent walls, blue leather sofa, wooden tables and chairs and a green plant on the right

(Image credit: press)


Shop 1
37a Dean Street


Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.