On Monday Maison J Café et Croissant was launched, in a joint venture with five co-owners and retailer Pick ‘n Pay. Lucky for me the coffee and croissant sit-down and take-away outlet is being test-run in Camps Bay, the suburb to which I have very recently returned as a resident.

The J in the eatery name stands for Jason Lillie, the quiet-spoken yet dynamic bakery entrepreneur, of Jason’s Bakery on Bree Street and in Green Point. Jason told me that at this stage he will not grow beyond the two Jason’s outlets, but is investing his time and energy into Maison J with partners David Chait (in the main photograph above), Rui Estaves, Jason’s sister Brigitte, and Rui’s father Manny. If this test run goes well, Maison J will be rolled out into other Pick ‘n Pay outlets, the one at the V & A Waterfront appearing to be the next in line. 

David and Rui started Vide é Caffe coffee outlets, which have since been sold. David was involved in Mr D(elivery), while Rui owns AndUnion. 

Jason told me that he is experimenting with croissant variations, unusual for a French croissanterie, which usually only offers plain and almond croissants. I loved the taste of what sounded like an unusual croissant, with feta and spinach (R35). When I went back to Maison J to take further photographs yesterday, they had plain (R20), double cheese (R35), Au Creme Pâtisserie (R25), Au Chocolat (R25), Almond (R25), and the feta and spinach croissants. 

In addition to the croissants one can order a Mediterranean vegetable roll (R60); a humus, avocado, and tomato rye sandwich (R40); Brie LT bagel (R60); and cream cheese and lox bagel (R80). I have never heard of a Peach Cobbler (right) before, made with canned peaches, available at R35. Quiches cost R35, and are available in mushroom and in tomato. 

One can buy a baguette at R18, and plain and sesame bagels at R20. In a special opening promotion running until 5 August, a flat white and a plain croissant cost R35. 

An impressive-looking Italian coffee machine La Cimbali, in the Maison J blue, is operated by barista Vuyane, who told me proudly that his name means happiness. Yonela is the cashier, and her name means grateful. Coffee styles are served in take-away cups, with the exception of espresso, which is served in grey cups. One can order orange juice in a plastic container commendably served with a cardboard straw, good value at R30. Whilst walking the Camino, I found that almost every bar we stopped at for coffee and croissants had an orange juicing machine. 

Jason emphasized that all products of Maison J are baked in-house, at the Green Point outlet. 

I was impressed at how well things were running at Maison J in their first two days, but then David, Jason, and Rui were present most of the time. The Maison J loyalty card was offered immediately, and stamped on each of my two visits. 

Disclosure: David refused payment for our order of coffee, croissants, and an orange juice when we tried out Maison J on Monday. 

Maison J Café et Croissant, Pick ‘n Pay, Victoria Road, Camps Bay. Cell 082 427 0391. www.heymaisonj.com Instagram: @heymaisonj @captainbreadza Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 17h00

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein