The Village Café is run by a family that sincerely loves fun, music, animals and people, and those loves virtually drip from the walls. It is decorated with bathtubs, mannequins and funny lampshades, and has brightly coloured walls with scribbling from famous writers about the value of coffee, the meaning of life and other important things. As one customer says, “I have been to the Village Café on many trips to Swakopmund, and I still always get the feeling that they are celebrating something.”
The decor is a mixture of sincere art by local painters and pure, unadulterated kitsch. A mannequin in a wedding dress stands next to a phenomenal painting of a jazz-band and two dentist chairs are typical furnishings. A fake chicken in a bicycle basket approves with loud squawks when the happy noise in the café finally reaches a level to its liking. Pets are also welcome, and they even have their own menu.
You can have your cuppa in the red Volkswagen Kombi in the courtyard, or maybe get into the blue bath that was part of the original building to observe the “tower” with a bucket for a bell. In the back is a tiny stage with velvet curtains where one family member used to sing. Andra is now a successful singer-songwriter in South Africa, and you can buy her CD’s stashed in an old suitcase next to the Village travel mugs.
The food is unpretentious and down to earth. Mama is in charge of the kitchen where no premixes are allowed, and vegetables, eggs and herbs are sourced from other local growers as much as possible. The huge brown breads (baked by hand every day on the premises) and all the sweet stuff are old family recipes and the ingredients involve real butter and full cream. Light to hearty breakfasts, wholesome comfort foods and sandwiches as big as your face are served from early morning till late afternoon
The Village Café is very popular with locals, in part because it is run with the kind of professional efficiency and friendliness that you find with an owner managed restaurant. The food, the ambience and the service are all good reasons to go to the Village Café, but there is a better one. Namibia, and Swakopmund, in particular, are unique, peaceful and rustic, but also hip and connected. The Village Café is popular with locals because we like to feel we belong there.