In just ten days Foxcroft has become the talk of the town, Chefs Scot Kirton and Glen Williams from La Colombe opening a foxy and more informal Restaurant and Bakery in Constantia.
In the large space which was previously occupied by Raith Delicatessen (now in a smaller space in the same center) Foxcroft is one entity but is cleverly divided into two sections by means of a cheese and charcuterie room, the Bakery being the smaller space, selling some Foxcroft branded products, breads, and a display fridge contains delightful treats. The Bakery has tables inside and outside, and its own coffee machine and waiting staff. The Bakery also has different operating hours compared to the Restaurant.
I ate at the Bakery last week, a day after I had first popped in at Foxcroft, having arrived during a restaurant break, and the Bakery was already closed for business. I managed to get a (complimentary) dry cappuccino made by Christopher Gaag from Tribe, who was working with the Foxcroft team on its coffee.
On Friday morning I met Llewellyn Lambert for a light ‘brunch’ at Foxcroft Bakery, as they do not yet serve breakfasts, Chef Scot telling me that they first want their lunches and dinners to settle in. Llewellyn had an interesting looking cheese and ham croissant, as well as a Canele, a French pastry with a caramelised exterior, and a soft custard centre (below). A beautiful Paris Brest (right) caught my eye, a delicious round doughnut-shaped choux pastry, with whipped milk chocolate ganache. Chef Scot sent over two macarons, with an Earl Grey and peach centre. He also sent over two verrines, a lemon (with lemon curd, lime and verbena, cashew pebbles, and coconut meringue) and strawberry (strawberry yoghurt panna cotta and strawberry jelly, strawberries, granola, and honey cream) layered desserts in plastic holders with black plastic spoons provided.
A Deli-section displays a number of in-house produced products, including herb oil, rhubarb butter, salts (including truffle, citrus and fennel), quince butter, apple and fennel chutney, marinated olives, and poached quince, costing between R65 and R80.
It was unclear how the service works at Foxcroft Bakery, and we did not see any staff proactively coming to our outside table during our two hours at the Bakery, other than Pastry Chef Saajidah, who brought the verrines and macarons. So we went inside to order, but could have had more coffees had we been served. We did however note the sudden arrival of waiter Ruaan, who with great energy and in his civvies put grey cushions onto all the outside chairs, onto ours as well, even in what seems to be a new seating section at a water feature. We spoke to him, and he started looking after us, once he had changed into his waiter outfit.
I asked Ruaan for assistance with the names of the pastries offered in the Bakery, and he brought me a list of Bakery pastry items:
#. Gateaus: these are available in peach, cherry/Black Forest, and raspberry
#. Macarons: three colours available, in pink (rose, coconut, and cashew), yellow (passion fruit and milk chocolate), and green (Earl Grey and peach), each gluten-free but containing nuts.
#. Malakoff: small chocolate squares with pistachios and almonds.
#. Éclairs: choux pastry with a coffee crème and a coffee glaze
#. Paris Brest: choux pastry with a whipped milk chocolate ganache
#. Verrines: in addition to the lemon (photograph right) and strawberry ones described above, they offer a chocolate one, with chocolate mousse, passion fruit purée centre, cocoa nib cake, passion fruit crème, candied cocoa nib, and meringue.
We did meet Chef Scot, and he seemed pleased with how things are going at Foxcroft. Chef Scot is the Executive Chef of La Colombe, and we discussed how close the two restaurants are. Chef Scot comes to Foxcroft in the morning, has a verrine and a coffee, and then goes to La Colombe. He became Head Chef of La Colombe six years ago, which relocated to Silvermist two years ago. Earlier this year the restaurant was rated 76th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Head Chef Glen has Foxcroft as one of his names, and it is this name which the two chefs chose as the name for their new restaurant. Chef Scot told me that he had told Chef Glen when they first met that Foxcroft would make an excellent restaurant name. We met Chef Glen as he arrived at work at midday, his first time off since they opened. Chef Glen has been the Pastry Chef at La Colombe since 2010. Planning ahead for the opening of Foxcroft, Chef Glen visited Paris for eight days in July, a full day spent at the Valrhona School, and here staff took him to the best eleven recently opened coffee and pastry shops in one day! The restaurant only uses their Valrhona chocolate, as well as Elle et Vire butter, the best there is for making croissants, giving taste and elasticity, we were told. He proudly told us that the word ‘soigné‘, tattooed on Chef Glen’s arm, means ‘prepared with great attention to detail. Showing sophisticated elegance, carefully or elegantly done‘. He proudly said that the word reflects his craft.
I am returning to Foxcroft later this week, and will get details of the bread types and prices. A meal at the Foxcroft Restaurant will follow. Both Foxcroft and Coco Safar have raised the pastry bar by far in Cape Town, far outperforming Cassis.
Foxcroft Bakery, High Constantia Centre, Constantia. Tel (021) 202-3304. www.foxcroft.co.za. Twitter: @FoxcroftFood Instagram: @FoxcroftFood. Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 16h00
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein