‘The Alphen' in Constantia, Western Cape, has always been there, much like a benevolent maiden aunt at every family occasion. Now a fresh breeze has swept through the lovely old place and given it new life. A new owner, Paul Kovensky, whose innovative refurbishment allowed the spirit and ethos of the old Alphen to remain and voila, the Alphen once again stands tall and proud. And nestling in amongst all this loveliness is La Belle Café and Bakery, the brainchild and province of Simone, Paul Kovensky's wife.
It was a rainy, grey day when Eugene and I first visited La Belle. The gracious old Cape Dutch building beckoned its welcome and we happily left the inclement weather behind as we entered the warm heart of the restaurant. The welcome was smiling and friendly. I always find this so important. It sets the tone and standard for the entire experience. There is nothing I hate more than snooty, uncaring front of the house staff.