“I’ve just had the best burger I’ve ever tasted,” these were the words my friend Lara greeted me with when she got home on Saturday night.
“Really, where?” was my enthusiastic response.
“Oh, it’s a place called Beefcakes. It’s this retro 1950’s diner in Green Point. It quite camp, I’m not sure you’re a sequins and boa feather kind of guy.”
“The burgers are good though? You know I’m always game when it concerns great food”…
And so I found myself sitting in the Beefcakes diner for lunch on Tuesday. We thought we would slip in for a quick spot of lunch. When we asked for a table for two we were told to take our pick, and we looked round the empty diner. On the one hand this was a good thing as we knew we would get good service. However this stood in stark contrast to the party atmosphere I was assured the place turned into at night. This is when the place comes alive as Beefcakes becomes party central, where anyone is welcome and you can expect anything.
This diner and the Club 54 down stairs are known as gay hangouts but you will find a mix of people who come to enjoy the great entertainment. You can enjoy live shows, where you can expect anything from drag queen cabaret, to great comics or you can even catch the game on the widescreen TV.
Beefcakes is described as Miami chic with a touch of madness. It’s certainly whacky; the diner is a grey and pink wonderland, filled with a profusion of posing flamingos, pink feather boas, and a pink piano lurking in the corner crowned with a profusion of sequined hats. This is the sort of place Elton John would feel right at home in. The name Beefcakes refers not just to the burgers but is also American slang for a hunk, and in a nod to this; there are vintage pictures of toned men adorning the walls and menus. The walls also boast a lot of quaint retro adverts from the 1950’s. I tried to count the number of disco balls that hang from the roof while I waited for my main and got up to at least twenty.
Beefcakes is not just a place for gay people, the diner welcomes everyone and you will find many couples stop by to enjoy their great burgers or catch a sassy show. During the day Beefcakes has a much more subdued character and people often pop in to enjoy their delicious food. The menu is delightfully tongue in cheek, with starters such as the Adonis salad or the Don’t Go Pear Shaped Salad in the bugger the burger section. The theme continues through the mains with the Chilli on the Willy Burger or a Beach Boy Burger.
Our waiter Dwayne, I think, was very enthusiastic and promptly brought our cokes in retro style coke glasses. When it came to choose our main, I decided to have the Buffy the Hamburger Slayer, which seemed to have the works – bacon, avocado, cheddar cheese, mushroom sauce and caramelised onions – who needs tomato sauce? The burgers are fresh homemade patties and come in a choice of beef, chicken, lamb or ostrich patty. Lara chose the Greek god burger, a lamb patty with Tzatziki, which she declared was a gonner from the moment she had her first bite. The burgers were as delicious as promised; mine was a perfect medium rare. They came with a choice of fries and a salad, or half and half, which is what we both had. The fries were a deep golden colour and were nice and thin.
After wolfing down the sizable burger we couldn’t resist dessert. This is when I noticed much to my horror the delicious looking milkshakes they had on offer, from my favourite peanut butter to an intriguing one called gingerbread. Now this presented a dilemma, should we have a shake, or one of the desserts? Dwayne highly recommended the brownies, so we decided to share one – being rather full after our burgers. I’m determined to return sometime soon, just to have a shake. The brownie was warm, perfectly complimented by the cold vanilla ice-cream. Other desserts included a sensual strawberry seduction – a heady mix of strawberries, vodka, and black pepper. Or for those on a diet, a tot full of Smarties.
Beefcakes is a wonderful experience of retro American hospitality. The vibe is fun and naughty. For the women and some of the men the main dish of the day may be the waiters.
Address & Contact Details:
Beefcakes is situated at 40 Sovereign Quay, Somerset Road in Greenpoint, Cape Town.
The kitchen is open from 11 am to 11 pm, but the bar stays open late.
They can be contacted on Telephone +27 (0)21 425-9019.