Cape Town

South Africa

UnknownBeatrice Holst.

After a long day of running around Cape Town and its vast surrounds, sourcing materials and meeting with suppliers, there are two places I like to stop for a late-afternoon meal. It’s not quite lunch, and it’s not quite dinner. It’s somewhere in between. Both venues are so satisfying that they often end up being my only meal of the day. They are also polar opposites in terms of healthiness. So, after a Thursday stop at Lefty’s, for BBQ ribs and Kentucky chicken and waffles, the only sensible Friday choice for me and my partner in crime, Petro Steyn of $keet, was Raw and Roxy.

Unknown-1Tapas plate: raw vegan pasta, guacamole, kung pao, lasagna, and cauliflower crème.

Raw and Roxy is the brainchild and labor of love of Beatrice Holst. Originally from Denmark, Holst lived in California for many years and catered parties at the homes of luminaries as various as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Douglas, Arianna Huffington, and Adnan Khashoggi. Admittedly a bit of a party girl in the past (the name Roxy was cribbed from a nightclub in her native Copenhagen), Holst decided to adopt a raw vegan diet several years ago in an effort to reverse what was becoming debilitating arthritis in her hands. Also, she says, “a little bit out of vanity.”

Unknown-2Beatrice at the bar counter.

Holst credits her raw-diet regimen with reversing all of her arthritic symptoms. She also no longer needs eyeglasses, after wearing them for many years. She has many stories to share about clients and friends who have had similar results. I love my BBQ too much to even consider adopting such a strict regimen, but at Raw and Roxy the food is delicious enough to at least make me consider it. Holst arrived, in August 2013, with the goal of creating the first and best all-raw restaurant in Cape Town, and she has more than succeeded.

Of particular note are the desserts. There’s a chocolate ganache made primarily with avocado and cocoa nibs—no sugar, no wheat—that rivals any chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. The pineapple cheesecake is 90 percent pineapple, completely raw, and dairy-free. You would never believe it from the taste and texture.

Unknown-3Pineapple cheesecake, Superfood Power Ball, chocolate ganache, macaroon.

Raw and Roxy is one of those spots that gives you conflicting feelings about word of mouth. On the one hand, you want to scream about how great it is to your friends, but then you hesitate. Each dish is prepared with so much love and attention, by Holst herself, that it’s clear expansion may present a challenge. Holst expressed the desire to clone herself, a wish shared by many people, including myself.

Unknown-4Woodstock Co-op.

Since opening in the Woodstock Co-op, a neighbor of the landmark Old Biscuit Mill, in April 2014, Raw and Roxy has expanded from bar seating for six to table seating for twenty. I couldn’t be happier for her expansion and success, as long as we can still get our late-afternoon seat at the bar.

For more information, visit Raw and Roxy’s Facebook page.

Photos: Courtesy of Sean Shuter

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