Fat Cactus (Eden on the Bay)

When the long-awaited Fat Cactus at Eden on the Bay finally opened its doors this weekend, we took the dog for a long walk that happened to end around lunch time at Eden on the Bay, and popped in for lunch. Totally premeditated. The kids are on holiday so they joined us. It took them longer to find parking than it did for us to do our morning walk, but that’s December in Cape Town for you.

The wind was every kite surfer’s wet dream on Saturday, so we took a table on the porch, neither outside nor inside, but definitely out of the wind.

Food was fantastic all round, and the service was great. We ordered some potstickers (I know, wrong choice for a Mexican restaurant, but come on, potstickers!!) which were great, and then we added some crispy cauliflower which was dish of the day for me! It was coated in something light, crispy fried and drenched in a peri peri sauce. I literally couldn’t get enough. It’s on this menu, but not on their Woodstock one.

Because there were four of us we ordered the combo platter which is pricy, but worth it if there’s enough of you. Don’t order it if there’s less than 4 of you, it’s so much food. Jelapino poppers, quesadillas, crispy calamari, authentic nachos – not that Dorito nonsense that some places pass off for nachos, Amazeballs, Mexican fried corn fritters and wings. We battled to finish everything on the plate. The best of the platter we’re definitely the calamari – first prize, and probably top of the calamari offerings at Eden on the Bay, and then the wings, also right up there with best of the best. the fried corn fritters were brilliant, together with some of the dipping sauces on the platter. The Jelapino poppers pack a pretty powerful punch. (If you can say that you’re sober enough to drive home).

All the other food going past our table looked delicious too. The menu has everything you’d expect for Mexican fare, plus a section called “Food Truck” with some unorthodox offerings that are Mexican inspired, and very tempting. There’s nachos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos, Texan urges, and a host of sides.

Drinks at Fat Cactus is what I think will make Fat Cactus popular here. You can order jugs of frozen margaritas in different flavours, and they’ve just added frozen gin & tonic too. We had a jug of the lime flavored frozen margarita, and it was more than enough for four of us. If you’re a wine lover like me, the wine list is not going to blow your socks off. Your choices in that department are about as extensive as your choices on an in-flight menu – white or red. But it is obvious from their menu they’re not about wine, so all is forgiven. There’s a formidable list of tequilas. Annie and Aaron had a Gingerbread tequila shot which they said was delicious. I was one frozen margarita over the top by that stage so I bowed out.

Then just as we were about to leave I asked the question that pushed us all over the edge – “are there Churos on the menu?”. Apparently here, but not at some of the other branches. And they were absolutely divine! Mandy, the owner, was reluctant to add them to the menu everywhere in the interests of keeping quality and consistency standards, something that is absolutely critical in the food industry, so you’ll only find them at some of the branches.

Good to bear in mind is happy hour daily 12pm to 6pm, so you can get double as tipsy for not quite half the price, but certainly a great discount .

For just over R250pp all in including dessert and drinks, it was great value, and excellent food. We’ll definitely be back.

I chatted to Mandy, one of the four owners of the Fat Cactus group. They’re not franchised – all of the restaurants in the group are owned by the 4 of them. Mandy and her late husband opened their first restaurant 27 years ago, and it’s very clear that she runs a tight ship and loves what she does. The other three owners are people from her team that have worked as managers and waiters for her over the years. They’ll be opening a branch in Seapoint shortly too.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that a lot of us locals have been waiting expectantly for this one to open. I certainly was not disappointed.

Fat Cactus is vibey, with a focus on Mexican and Mexican inspired food in a casual environment. The drinks menu suggests that it’s the place for parties and celebrations too. Service is great, and the food is excellent value for money. Wheelchair friendly, pet friendly, wine-lover tolerant, and definitely tequila friendly. And of course there’s Corona in buckets.

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