Many a time, people have driven down Main road towards Kalk Bay, distracted by the beautiful view of Muizenberg beach, and have let one of the most idyllic cafés I have ever visited, pass them by. Casa Labia was built in 1929, to be home to the Count and Countess Natale Labia. However, over the years the house was neglected and passed ownership many times, until 2008, when Count Luccio Labia (son of Count Natale Labia) regained ownership of the property. The house was lovingly restored to its former glory and opened as a multi-functional cultural centre and up-market venue just 2 years later. The house, in its design and décor, encapsulates the spirit and extravagance of 18th century Venice. It is timelessly elegant – a quality that comes only from its rich cultural history and authenticity. The interior is stunningly adorned with genuine Venetian antiques–from the priceless paintings to the lavishly tiled ceiling panels and chandeliers – which were shipped to South Africa over a century ago. Situated in the former reception area of the house, the Casa Labia café exudes an inviting atmosphere of warmth and charm that is virtually unrivalled. In the summer months, tables are extended out onto a charming Italian-style courtyard and immaculately kept garden.
Top: View of Muizenberg beach
Bottom left: Ceiling mural
Bottom right: Ceiling panels
I first visited Casa Labia only recently, under the ruse of a “business meeting” with my boss and fellow colleagues, although it really was just a good excuse to go for tea with the girls. I picked up one of my besties, Tay, on the way and together we headed off into the relatively unknown. Although Casa Labia is on Main road, it would seem really hard to miss, but as you can probably guess I am not the best with finding places – even armed with fancy GPSs. So we were casually cruising down Main road and Brad (my GPS) announces that we have arrived at our destination. We completely drove past it. After a very skilful U-turn, (if you live or have ever visited Muizenberg/ St James you will understand) we found our way back and managed to find a parking just a little way down the road. We were late. Naturally. Once inside we were escorted to an extravagant lounge area where the rest of our party was waiting.
The lounge area
We were then shown to our table in the front of the house, overlooking Muizenberg beach, and the four of us got down to the tough decision of what to order. In the picture below, from the top left going in a clockwise direction – I ordered caramelised banana pancakes with seasonal berries and Crème fraîche; Tayla ordered Italian chocolate cake; Tee (my boss) ordered a chocolate brownie with NICE homemade ice-cream and lastly, Bernice ordered espresso and walnut cake. Sounds absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious right? YES. I quickly wolfed down my pancakes – they were too good to share! – and then helped Tay finish off her decadent chocolate cake. Needless to say, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to bring my Mom here for afternoon tea.
Delicious sweet treats
So this past weekend, my darling mother and I visited once again at the Casa Labia. And as my mom so aptly puts it “they go that little bit extra here”. When placing an order at the café – whatever you anticipate your food to taste like, it will be a thousand times better. Nothing is ordinary. Everything is exceptional. On this fine Saturday afternoon, enjoying our tea, we were treated to a live pianist playing softly in the background. Wow! Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day!
Treat yourself and your nearest & dearest to a lovely meal at Casa Labia!
Girl’s tea date
For more details on Casa Labia:
Call (booking essential): 021 788 6062
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________