Four and Twenty Interior Whale Cottage PortfolioWe had heard good things about the Four & Twenty Café & Pantry, which opened in Wynberg’s trendy Wolfe Street two months ago, and popped in for a cappuccino and pastries three weeks ago.  From outside, the Café & Pantry looks impressive, a large space which has the Café in the front section, and the Pantry as well as coffee shop seating in the back section.  It is a cute Café and Pantry with character and energy.

The origin of the Café & Pantry is an interesting story. Tracy-Leigh Genricks studied at Silwood School of Cookery, and stayed on as a lecturer when she had completed her course.  One of her students was Marijke Duminy (right), who had previously studied law at UCT.  They became firm friends, which they could not reveal whilst in the student/lecturer relationship, but decided to open a restaurant, Marijke having done her internship at La Colombe as part of her studies.  To prepare for this, the two 24 years old Cordon Bleu trained chefs went on a one month ‘eating fest’ in France. When getting to the Eiffel Tower, with a handful of macaroons, they knew that the restaurant had to have a French theme, as they loved the French obsession with food.  They do not only serve French style food, serving Asian and Spanish foods too.  Returning to Cape Town they had to wait for the right spot to make their dream come true.  The name for the Café & Deli came from their age at the time of making the decision to open the restaurant, from 24 hours in a day, and from a line in their favourite childhood rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’: ‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie‘.

The exterior, interior, and patisserie counter is painted a Midas grey called Scissor-hands, with wooden paneling behind the counter, and the wooden tables painted in the same colour too.  The decor design was done by Ros of Janus Interiors.  Metal chairs have cushions in a mix of colours on them.  Throughout the restaurant there are touches of pink, mainly via orchids, but pink and red rose petals are also sprinkled on the patisserie items.  Even the stapler is pink.  Colourful blankets on the backs of chairs add to the decor too.  A cute decor touch was the colander lighting over the window seating, while a cluster of lights over the pastry counter attracts attention too.  The restaurant can seat about 60 patrons.  Cutlery is by Eetrite. Crockery is Victorian style floral plates.

The Menu is written up on a blackboard, but is also available on recycled A4 paper, containing a mix of breakfast dishes (granola, guavas and cinnamon honeyed yoghurt at R58; flapjacks with caramelised bananas and vanilla bean mascarpone at R60; poached eggs and bacon R65 or with salmon R75), salads (feta cheese, and a chicken breast one, both at R80), sandwiches (bacon and brie at R65),  and Franschhoek salmon trout and Osso Bucco cost R98 each. ‘Just-a-little-peckish’ menu selection offers inexpensive options of toast or croissant topped with avocado, jams, scrambled eggs, salmon trout, cheese and cured meats, none costing more than R38. The pastry counter has a display of different pastries, including mini profiteroles (R20), gluten-free chocolate torte (R30), mini posh cupcakes in red velvet and chocolate (R18), choc s’more (R18), lemon meringue cupcakes (R21), chocolate croissants (R15), red velvet cakes (R45), scones with fruit jam and chantilly crème costs R28, and more.

The Pantry sells some branded items, but only local produce, and many items they make themselves. Bread is by Knead. Everything else is baked on the premises. In the deli section, which has seating too, a silent movie is projected against a wall. Products bought in are Richard Bosman’s charcuterie products, Bean There coffee beans, Von Gesau chocolates, Eureka flour, and free-range meats and eggs from Home Grown. Mustard, mayonnaise, chicken liver paté, jams and preserves, lemonade, croutons, chutney, pasta sauces, and rusks are made on the premises and are for sale.  A gelato stand is to come, and a freezer-ready puff pastry range is to be introduced.

The energy of Four & Twenty Café & Pantry is infectious, and it is easy to see why they are popular and will go far. Marijke and her staff are exceptionally friendly, and assisted in getting me a list of deli items, and the Twitter handle.  Getting the bill took longer than it should have.  Interesting is that Tracy’s boyfriend is MasterChef SA Season 2 Finalist Jason Steel.

POSTSCRIPT 20/7: Today three of us who went to school in Wellington,Cafe 4 and 20 Lime cheesecake and strawberry Whale Cottage Portfolio and had not seen fellow class mate Morris Michalowsky for 40 years, had a reunion at 4 and 20 Café this afternoon, receiving superb service, and were served beautiful cakes, such as a lime cheesecake with strawberry and a basil coulis – colourful, refreshing and delicious!

Four & Twenty Café and Pantry, 23 Wolfe Street, Wynberg, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 762-0975. www.fourandtwentycafe.co.za Twitter: @4and20cafe   Tuesday – Saturday 8h00 – 17h00, Sunday 9h00 – 16h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage