Wednesday 19th October 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The first Café Extrablatt in South Africa and only the second outlet in Africa, on Main Road in Green Point, one of a collection of 55 franchise outlets in Germany, Austria, Turkey and Morocco, opened at the beginning of the month. It offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes and drinks, from early morning to late night, at the most reasonable prices.
Heading up the Café Extrablatt Cape Town is Guido Dierschke, a friendly proud company representative, who has worked for the company for seven or more years, in stores, in the head office management, and opening new stores. The first Café Extrablatt was opened in Emsdetten near Münster by Christoph Wefers with his brother Richard. The name relates to the Extra edition of newspapers, and a collection of Sunday newspapers was available when I visited. Magazines will be added too. The pay-off line ‘Das gewisse Extra’ (that certain extra) represents the restaurant’s ability to offer a special dish, and to have a special place in the restaurant for its customers, Guido said. In Germany there is an Italian style restaurant chain Scoozi and a Starbucks-style Voyton coffee take-away chain in the company collection, but these are not on the cards locally until the Café Extrablatt is running smoothly.
Being a franchise store, the interior decor reflects that of the German outlets. A lot of natural colours and materials are used, including leather for the chairs and couches, wood and marble for the tables, and the original wooden floors of the building have been retained to give it character. Woodbenders was used to make the furniture, and the colour palette includes leathers in orange, burgundy, green, brown and beige. Different table and seating styles are spread around the restaurant, upstairs and downstairs, to make seating sections, in which one can choose to sit, and to prevent the space from appearing as large as it is. In total the restaurant can seat 300 customers over the two levels (upstairs is for smokers), and there is seating outside on the street level and upstairs terraces too. There is a fireplace upstairs, each level having a large bar counter. The light fittings are unique to the franchise, and were made in Germany, being two styles. Downstairs in the bar area is a massive lamp made from copper pipes. On the other side of the restaurant and upstairs are ‘Tortenlampen’, designed to look like two-tier cakes. Wall lamps, with a grass look to them, are also uniquely made in Germany for the franchise outlets. There is a TV screen for matches downstairs. The location for events in the Cape Town Stadium is ideal, being across the road, and the Coldplay concert saw their first full-house. Staff wear black pants, the female waitresses white T-shirts and the males black ones, with a white apron. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, cute mini salt and pepper pots are brought to the table, as are unbranded olive oil and balsamic vinegar holders, with paper serviettes.
Ryan Seale is the chef, having worked at events contract companies in the UK (Lord’s cricket ground, West Ham football ground), at Singita, and for a contract company doing the catering for the World Cup last year. His menu is largely that of the franchise, but with some additional dishes. All items on the menu are available throughout the day and night, with extremely long opening hours. A ‘German Corner’ pays tribute to the German heritage of the company, offering chicken schnitzel (excellent portion of two pieces, which I ordered with potato salad, but is listed to be served with a salad or chips, at an unbelievably low price of R35,95) and veal schnitzel at R49,95, Currywurst at R49,95, and Viennas and potato salad (made using Guido’s mother’s recipe, with apples and gherkins) at R35,95. A Breakfast Buffet with continental breakfast items, cooked breakfast as well as salads is offered at R79,95 from 8h00 – 12h00 on weekdays, and at R99,95 from 8h00 – 14h00 on weekends and public holidays. Individual breakfast items are also available, ranging from R32,95 for scrambled eggs to R45,95 for fried eggs, bacon and sausage. Many of the menu items offer a base item, with prices listed for additional extras and toppings. Bruschetta costs R 22,95 – R32,95, with tuna, ham and cheese options. Baked potato with sour cream costs R17,95, and chilli con carne, tuna mayonnaise, and salmon can be ordered as extra toppings. Pita breads with fillings cost around R40. There is meat (R45,95) and vegetarian (R39,95) lasagne, and Pick & Dips cost R11,95 – R29,95 for spring rolls, chicken strips, risotto balls and calamari. Burgers cost R39,95 – R49,95. Pizzas range from R35,95 – R67,95, and salads start at R27,95, peaking at R48,95.
Desserts are limited to Apfelstrudel at R29,95, and New York New York cheesecake from Chez Chez off Kloof Street, at R35. They also stock Eiszeit ice creams, and I had a wonderful strawberry sauce made by Chef Ryan with a yoghurt sorbet (R19 for one scoop). I had wanted to order the Apfelstrudel, but Chef Ryan came to the table, asking me not to, as he is only making his own from this week onwards. The cappuccino costs R16, and the coffee is by Hausbrandt. Asara wines (Ebony, Ivory, Fusion, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé) are offered by carafe (R32 – R38) or bottle (R90 – R120). Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine is offered by the glass (R32) or bottle (R155), as are Graham Beck (R195), Pongrácz (R175), and Veuve Clicquot (R550). Most beers cost R18, but Heineken costs R20, and beer on tap from Paulaner, Castle and Pilsner Urquell is available too. Cocktails and ‘mocktails’ are also offered.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage