The estate of Kronendal was part of land granted to Willem Basson in 1713, although it was only developed as a farm towards the end of the century. Its farmhouse was probably built after 1777 when the property was bought by Jacobus Bierman. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 9 September 1960.
Nowdays it has been converted into Kitima Restaurant – Thai and Sushi cuisine in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Kitima at the Kronendal is situated in an old Cape-Dutch style homestead dating back to the 17th Century which is steeped in history and legend. Several hundred years ago, the Dutch East India Company traded between Europe, the Cape of Good Hope and Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. At Kitima they are re-creating the romance of this era, when the refinements of an Eastern way of life were imported to the West for the very first time.
Although their menu is a compilation of various traditional Asian cuisines, our main focus is on the Royal Thai cuisine which can trace its history back to the legendary palace of the Ayutthaya kingdom in the 17th century.
All their dishes are created with the utmost care by our highly accredited team of Thai chefs, led by Chef P’Tad. The ingredients are sourced from the best local suppliers where possible – otherwise they are imported from Thailand specifically for Kitima.
As you enter through her doors you are greeted by an array of senses. From the tantalizing aromas wafting from the dining rooms to the tasteful and elegantly hand picked decorative pieces from Thailand.
Each dining room has its own unique atmosphere, where elegance and opulence is abundant whilst still maintaining an air of unpretentious grace. Guided by the vision of our proprietor Kitima Sukonpongpao herself we have created what we know will be a memorable experience.
The legend of the ghost dates back to 1840, about 40 years after the present gabled manor house was built around 1800. The story goes that the manor house and Kronendal farm were owned for a short time during that period by the Cloete family. The owner, Daniel Cloete, had a very pretty daughter, Elsa. She fell in love with a soldier from a British garrison stationed in Hout Bay. However, their love was forbidden since he was British and she was Dutch. Kronendal under renovation during the 1st quarter of 2007 Kronendal under renovation during the 1st quarter of 2007! The closest contact they had was at secret meetings at the front windows of the homestead. Eventually, in desperation, the soldier hanged himself from one of the oak trees in the avenue across the road from Kronendal that can still be seen today. Elsa, it is said, died of a broken heart. Around sunset, they say, you can sometimes see a man standing among the oaks looking longingly at the Kronendal building and every so often there is a young woman wearing an old-fashioned blue dress looking out of one of the windows. Elsa’s ghost has also been seen frequently in the building itself.
In 1999, during a time when the Kronendal building was being used as a restaurant, the owners at that time took to setting a table for two for Elsa, which they did not allow anyone else to use.
On Tuesday, December 15, a visitor from England – an architect – saw a woman dressed in a blue top, grey pinafore and a bonnet. He remarked to his wife: “What a funny hat that woman is wearing.”
He watched the woman sit down at the table, then she got up and walked to the scullery.
According to Pia Pameissl, the public relations officer for the restaurant at that time, the English visitor thought she was the apparition and had dressed up to play a practical joke on him and his wife.
“I convinced him I had not done so and then I told him the legend of Elsa,” said Pia. “We all thought he was joking about seeing her and we asked him how much he had had to drink. But his amazement was too real to be faked.”
Since the 1970s there have been at least five documented sightings of Elsa’s ghost, reported in local newspapers and magazines!