When Jason’s first opened alongside Jardine’s restaurant off Bree Street in Cape Town many years ago, it was a tiny take-away eatery serving breads and sandwiches. Through low-key but continued growth Jason Bakery has established itself as one of our city’s top bakeries, and Jason Lillie as Cape Town’s croissant king!
When Jardine’s moved to Tokara wine estate in Stellenbosch, taking the name of the wine estate for the restaurant too, Jason had a large enough following to move into the downstairs section of the erstwhile Jardine’s. He is still based there, and the numerous fans eating outside on Saturdays in particular is proof of the success of Jason Bakery. While a second branch on Loop Street did not succeed, and has been closed, its Green Point branch is hugely successful too, as I experienced when I ate at it for the first time yesterday.
My interest in Jason Bakery has been spiked by the opening of Maison J Café et Croissant in Camps Bay, the ‘J’ in the name referring to Jason Lillie. In a partnership with Vida e Caffè founders David Chait and Rui Esteves, as well as his sister Brigitte, Jason is taking croissants to a new designer level, in creating innovative fillings for his delectable croissants. This is our story about Maison J and its opening a week ago:
I am on a self-imposed restricted eating plan, which excludes wheat-based products. However, in walking the Camino in May/June, there was little else to eat at our coffee stops other than plain croissants, pain au chocolat, and fresh fruit, so I succumbed to a croissant a day. I had just got on top of my eating misdemeanor on my return three weeks ago, when Maison J opened in Camps Bay, my new home being located in this suburb. I am fascinated with the Croissant diversity Maison J offers, and very little is duplicated with that which is offered at Jason Bakery.
It was the renewed interest in Jason Bakery that led me to its Green Point branch yesterday. I took photographs of the more restricted range of croissants at the take-away counter, and decided to try its Fromage and Gammon one (R48), which was served warm with ham and cheese oozing out of the generously sized croissant, best eaten with two hands! While the city branch is closed on Sundays, the Green Point one is open on Sundays, but here too Saturdays are extremely busy, I was told. Manager and hostess Lishka Anderson was friendly, and directed me to a high table, from which I could photograph the restaurant interior, the bakery section which supplies all Jason Bakery retail outlets with all produce, and the view onto Cape Town Stadium. I had the croissant with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (R35), as well as a dry cappuccino served in a glass cup. The waitress said they only had glass cups, which I understood to mean glasses, as are used by Bootlegger, to the great dissatisfaction of their customers, but the Jason’s cups are stylish, and bring out the best in a dry cappuccino.
A surprise in the Take-Away section was seeing mince pies (R15) and Christmas cake truffles, described as ‘Grandma Bab’s Christmas Cake dipped in white chocolate’ (R35), offered for ‘Christmas in July’, a cute touch I felt.
While I had to wait to receive a menu, and for a waitress to take an order, Lishka was proactive in taking it, and the service improved. I had wanted to be sure that the orange juice was fresh, and wanted it freshly squeezed. I was told that it had been squeezed earlier in the day. My waitress brought me a tasting sample to my table, and it was perfectly fresh!
The menu is unimpressive in appearance, simply an A4 two-sided sheet, in small type to squeeze everything in, the beverages requiring one full side. Coffee is identified as being ‘Salvador’, a ‘Nicaraguan single estate certified-organic coffee’. Fifteen coffee styles are offered, in a range of R19 to R42, and includes Café Mocha, a double shot of espresso with hot chocolate, at R37. For a cold winter’s day a house hot chocolate with a ‘giant brûlée vanilla marshmallow’, at R36, sounds wonderfully indulgent. Teas cost R32, and are by Nigiro.
Croissants available yesterday, described as ‘Sunday Bunday’, were the Classic (R24), Emmental cheese (R32), Almond (R38), and Bearclaw, described as a mixed berry and frangi-creme Pâtisserie (R38). Double baked croissants are also available: with a rich dark chocolate mousse filling (R40), almond and raspberry with chocolate shavings (R50), and a ‘dirty bread’, being a pain au chocolat filled with chocolate frangipane and coated in cocoa powder (R40).
In addition, they offer Pasties de Nata (R18), milk tart brioche doughnuts (R30), peanut butter choc chip marshmallow cookies (R30), and a bacon and egg tartlet, at R24.
All-day breakfasts are a welcome offer, but one is not allowed to substitute ingredients, due to their busy kitchen. Eggs are free-range ‘and happy’. Scrambled eggs served with roasted Rosa tomatoes and wild rocket, served on a croissant (R79), sourdough (R62), or gluten-free Mielie bread (R65), sounds expensive. Add-ons offered are bacon or chorizo (R26/28), mushroom ragout (R50), Norwegian salmon (R62), and avocado (R25). Other egg dishes offered include Breakfast Toastie (R95), Breakfast Pizza (R120), Flapjack Stack (R92), lemon and poppyseed flapjacks (R75), Avo Smash (R68), and a Midnight Bagel, served with Norwegian salmon, miso cream cheese, pickled cucumber, served in a black activated charcoal enriched bagel at R98.
One lunch option is available: a vegetable pizza, with shakshuka, buffalo mozzarella, artichokes, capers, kalamata olives, mushroom, and basil, costing R120.
Of all the coffee drinking and breakfast options available in Green Point, Jason Bakery stands out far above the others in its quality, freshness of its baked goods produced on the premises, and the vibe.
Jason Bakery, 83 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town. Tel 021 433-0538. Tuesday – Sunday. www.jasonbakery.com Twitter @jasonBakery Instagram @jasonbakeryct @captainbreadza
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein