It were the coffee wot dunnit. And the delish’ and decadent fare wot won it.
Kenneth McClarty wanted a flat white. But there was not a cappuccino to be found for love or money anywhere on the South Peninsula. And, as much as all good things in life were celebrated at a certain French restaurant up the line, he had his own style of simple, spontaneous, passionately-prepared fare that he relished cooking up himself for family and friends.
So, over some very good Chardonnays, he and some of those foodie friends plotted and planned their own place. What did it matter that funds were few when there was so much love and talent to go round? On 20 November 1997, a greasy old fish-and-bait shop named Olympia Café had the words and Deli added to its signage, and those iconic corner doors opened for business. A legend was born.
With a new coffee machine on the old countertops (they’re still there), a slap of paint on the crumbling walls, laminated newspaper pages covering the wooden tables, and art donated by all, the scene was set for the food and festivities that would make Olympia Café and Deli world famous. There’s hardly an ‘it’ mag or newspaper anywhere that hasn’t featured us. (New York Times? Check. Vogue Entertaining? Check. [Add a few more.] We’ve been there. And we’re still doing that.
We’re proud of our roots in the somewhat seedier, more bohemian village that was the Kalk Bay of old. And we’re even prouder that Olympia Café remains the institution at the very heart of today’s caring Kalk Bay community.
So don’t stand on ceremony. You can’t book a place at our tables. But you can stand in line like so many big names before you. While you’re there, check out the chalk board for today’s menu, feel the flash and flare of the pan, breathe in the aroma of the coffee (flat whites, darkie Americanos and all the rest), and drool. (At the food, at the baristas… We don’t mind.)
Oh, and feel free to lick your fingers and the plate afterwards. That’s our style.