Recently friends Llewellyn Lambert, Jenny Stephens, and I had lunch at the recently opened Boschendal at Oude Bank, previously the space occupied at SCHOON de Companje. We found a clean, uncluttered, and friendly Farm Shop, Bistro, Bakery, and Butchery, with produce brought in from the Boschendal farm outside Franschhoek.
It was a midweek visit, and therefore the far back section of the space was closed. The kitchen is set in this space, so its door is open, and we walked through to it. What was previously the bakery is now an open plan kitchen, preparing meals for breakfast and lunch. On weekends the seating area in this section is opened up. I liked how the Boschendal greenness was brought into this section, with wooden boxes containing herbs have been affixed to the wall, adding authenticity to what Boschendal stands for, in offering farm to table produce. The restaurant can seat up to 100 patrons.
We bumped into Roxy Engelbrecht, the Manager, whom I had last seen when she worked at The Stack. Roxy came to check on us regularly. I asked her for a list of items sold in the bakery, and she asked one of her staff to write it for me. The list includes various bread styles, cakes, tarts, cinnabuns, date loaf slices, apple crumble muffins, fruit tarts, croissants (plain, almond, and chocolate), pies (chicken, steak and kidney, bobotie, and lamb), and quiches (bacon and cheese, spinach and feta), and cronuts. Uber Coffee is served.
Roxy told us that they had opened up the upstairs section, removing the space which had been taken as an office. The walls were painted white, and there are pots with plants throughout. They took over the furniture of SCHOON, and Roxy would like to replace some of the older chairs. Similarly, the benches outside on the pavement detract from the quality created inside, also having been inherited from SCHOON.
The downstairs area looked clean and tidy, with a Bakery section, a Butchery section, the coffee station, and walk-in fridges contain Boschendal produce, including vegetables and herbs, charcuterie, vacuum packed meat, eggs, iced tea and other Boschendal beverage products, and Boschendal wines. It was far less cluttered than I remember it from SCHOON. We sat at a wine tasting table, it having an air conditioner to cool us down, it being an exceptionally hot day.
The SCHOON closure in Stellenbosch was not well communicated, the media release creating confusion as to what was happening in the space, at first operated with the SCHOON name by Boschendal, then closed for a renovation, and then reopened as Boschendal at Oude Bank, now having no connection to SCHOON, other than that Fritz Schoon returns regularly for coffee. SCHOON has moved to Somerset West, in the tiniest space, no longer baking on its premises, but elsewhere nearer the Schoon home, from which the breads are delivered to restaurant clients. Few Stellenbosch clients would be impressed with the new SCHOON outlet, a tiny bakery with only a few breads and a menu offering coffee and bread-based dishes. In the past they had an item-by-item menu, very popular when they were the first to offer this service, meaning that one did not have to pay for food items one did not eat.
Being on a healthy eating program, I was surprised about how many of the lunch offerings I could eat, and each of us ordered a separate dish. The salads were well presented, generous in size, and inexpensive. I chose the herb butter roast chicken and soft boiled egg salad, with Garden greens, and a creamy anchovy-infused dressing ; Jenny the flaked trout salad, which was served with baby gem, fennel, pickled cabbage, baby potatoes, radish, baby beet shavings, and a tahini dressing; while Llewellyn had organic yellow maize battered hake and chips, served with a charred onion dip. We were all happy with our dish choices. Lunch is served from 10h00 – yes – and one can order Burger and Chips; pies or quiches, offered with a salad, and a creamy mustard dressing; a Garden vegetable salad, with feta and a fynbos-infused dressing; and a choice of beef, chicken, and cheese and tomato sandwiches. A Cheese and Charcuterie platter can also be ordered. Ice teas, craft beers as well as beers on tap are offered, as are wines, not only Boschendal ones, but also Bartinney and Savage wines.
Breakfast is served until 11h30, and includes a Banting Benedict, based on zucchini (R65); Simple and Scrambled (R42); French Toast (R75); Mushroom on Toast (R85); and Avocado Toast (R75). Extras can be added, including boerewors, bacon, and salmon.
Boschendal has interestingly brought the Boschendal Farm, with its produce and wines, to the city in Stellenbosch! And it is likely that this concept will be extended into Cape Town in future, and possibly to other cities too.
Boschendal at Oude Bank, 7 Church Street, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 870-4287 www.boschendal.com Facebook: Boschendal at Oude Bank. Twitter: @BoschendalFarm Instagram: Boschendal_at_Oude_Bank Breakfast and Lunch daily except on Mondays 7h00 – 17h00. Dinner Friday and Saturday evenings.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein
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