THE BURLESQUE CAFE
in Ramsgate, South Coast,
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Visiting Burlesque Cafe in Ramsgate is a bit like falling down a rabbithole!
Once you step inside, you'll quickly be swept up into whatever fantasy is on
offer for the day. Perhaps you’ll arrive in Victorian England - all white linen,
pale yellow teapots filled with roses and gleaming silverware - or maybe your
train is bound for colourful India - complete with bright candelabra and
coloured glassware filled with fresh herbs. You may even find yourself
transported back to the jet set sixties in a haze of purple tweed and bold
No day is the same atBurlesque and that's exactly why locals and tourists alike
find Vicky Erasmus-Wentzel's quaint cafe so delightful.
Inspired by her family's travels to France and Italy and their love of antiques,
Vicky, who also runs a successful evens company, opened Burlesque Cafe in
"I like to create environments that are pleasing on the eye," explains Vicky,
"So based on our frequent trips to France and Italy, I themed the café on my
favourite French shabby-chic cafe vibe that we have experienced on these
travels. I love antiques and the history they carry with them, so everything in
the café is antique and weathered. I also love things that mismatch, so we have
an eclectic mix of silverware, porcelain, French, Indian, English china and
glassware - things that make me happy to look at!"
Before she opened the café, Vicky already spent most weekends transforming and
styling her home into a restaurant and cooking meals for friends and family, so
it was a small leap for her to actually open the cafe.
"I love being in the kitchen and make use of recipes that were passed down from
my mother and sisters as well as my husband's mother and great grandmother. I
also loved setting the table and had collected over 300 plates before the café
opened -so I think I have been secretly planning the venture for a long time
Aside from the dramatic decor, Burlesque Café is unique in a few other ways,
most notably, their food philosophy.
"The menu is seasonal. We change it four times a year and go with what is
freshly available. We offer gluten free foods - mostly organic foods - and
always try where possible buy from small local suppliers. Our catch of the day
comes from a local commercial fisherman and our eggs are produced on a local
organic farm. All of our herbs, greens are grown organically and locally,"
"We also try really hard and adapt dishes for customers. We serve our food on
antique collectors plates and platters - and only use a range of antique sugar
spoons as our teaspoons. It really makes the dining experience special."
The menu draws from Mediterranean influences - mezze, tapa's , pasta and seafood
with a strong vegetarian slant. Vicky's prawn and mango salad has quickly gained
a reputation with the locals and the lunchtime gourmet sandwiches are also a
Situated alongside a host of antique shops and art galleries in a building that
is part of the old stone Ramsgate, a sense of history and culture add to the
creative and eclectic nature of the venue.
Vicky believes one needs to do things differently in order to stand out in a
small community like Ramsgate.
"I find that most restaurants on the KZN South Coast all have the same menu and
nobody seems to have heard of or uses coriander, lemon zest, ginger, rocket,
sundried tomatoes, pesto, pomegranate, lemon grass, hollandaise, creme fraiche,
mascarpone and other fresh ingredients!" she says, "So we are very pleased to be
able to offer the more sophisticated diner, who visits from Europe or SA city
centres, a meal that they would expect to have in their own hometown."
In fact, the out-of-towners love Burlesque so much that many have even offered
to open franchises in Gauteng! A Durban branch could be on the cards, but right
now Vicky is still enjoying dedicating her days and nights to her much-loved
hobby and relishing the look on her customer’s faces when they are presented
with their meals.
See next to main photo for alternative contact details.