La Petite Tarte has been a favourite for the last eight years, but I had avoided it (and everything else in that area) for the last two years, given the building work for the new Cape Quarter. I returned on a post-World Cup glorious summery winter’s day, to discover that little has changed at the French pavement cafe’, other than the ownership.
The French model Jessica started La Petite Tarte, and she sold to the Italian Christiane. We connected due to having the same name. A year ago Johan de Villiers and Len Straw bought the cafe’, having previously managed the prestigious La Residence in Franschhoek, the most elite accommodation in the gourmet village, Elton John having been one of the guests. All the La Petite Tarte staff have been retained, and most of the menu as well.
The menu starts with “Welcome to our little corner of Paris”, and one’s eye catches the seven Mariage Freres French teas, each costing R22, the same price as the Rooibos Cappuccino and Spicy Chai. Wine options are very limited, with a Two Oceans house wine at R 30, and a merlot/shiraz blend at R 40. Pongracz Brut is offered by the bottle at R130 or by the glass at R35. The Rose’ is also offered, and is a little more expensive. The owners are so obliging that they will run down to the fancy-looking TOPS at the new Cape Quarter, and will buy whatever the customer fancies. The water was served in a carafe, with lemon slices and ice, without having to request it.
Good news is that breakfast is served all day, and choices include a plain croissant at R16, or one served with cheese and preserves (R28), or with ham and cheese (R35). Muesli, fruit and yoghurt costs R40. A most delicious and creamy scrambled egg with lots of crispy bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes and toast cost R48, and R 54 when served with avocado and salmon. Souffle omelettes can be ordered with bacon and cherry tomatoes (R58), or with avocado and salmon (R62).
For lunch the options are one of Johan’s delicious chicken pies, often with leek or mushroom added, or the haddock pie. The chicken pie was sold out already, even though I had arrived at the start of lunch. Croque Monsieur and Croque Poulet cost R 48 each. A Club Sandwich costs R 48, while two quiche options are available daily, and could be baby marrow and feta, chicken and rosemary, spinach and feta, butternut and blue cheese, or salmon and dill, ranging from R48 – R58. Salads cost R58 – R62.
A sweet ending to lunch, or a tasty accompaniment to afternoon tea, are the famous almond apricot, apple and pear tartlets, at R28. Flourless chocolate and almond cake, and whole orange and almond cake, cost R 30.
I’ll be back at La Petite Tarte, having reconnected with an old favourite, and having been impressed with the hands-on management of the two new owners, something that was not always the case with the previous owners.
La Petite Tarte, Shop A11, 72 Waterkant Street, old Cape Quarter, Cape Town. tel (021) 425-9077. No website. Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 14h30.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com