Oishii delicious Caffe is a new restaurant in Tamboerskloof, which quietly opened three weeks ago. It has a gentle presence and welcome when one steps inside the shop/deli/caffe. Manager Fatima impressed with her friendliness, and the food served is delicious. “Oishii” expresses the emotion of deliciousness in Japanese, she explained to us. It offers excellent value for money, especially compared to the expensive Melissa’s a few doors away.
When one steps inside, one notices the wooden shelving with a collection of unrelated items, some crafted in Cape Town, and some picked up by owner Marko Helfer from a recent trip as far away as China. The deli counter is hidden from the entrance, and displays five salads that are freshly made, which one can eat there or take away. Breads and pastries from Marcellino’s Bakery are available for sale or to enjoy with the lovely Deluxe coffees. Seven ice cream flavours are sold, and come from Venezia in Sea Point. Marko owns the Pure Solid 13 clothes, gift and accessories shop next door, with a branch in Cavendish Square too.
There is no menu. One blackboard lists the coffee options (one of the cheaper cappuccino destinations in Cape Town, at R13) and another the sandwich (R25 without meat, R35 with meat), salad (R35 without meat, R40 with meat) and noodle (R35) options. Marko designed all the furniture (including a baby high chair) and shelving for the shop, Fatima told me, and had it made up – it has a lovely earthy Scandinavian feel to it, and the colourful collection of chairs in different styles, shapes and colours add to the decor. The lamps are unique in design, and Marko’s wife crocheted all the covers for them. I loved the bunch of fresh flowers from a garden on one of the tables.
Fatima has had short stints working at the Daily Deli and Bonjour Patisserie, both in Tamboerskloof, and last worked in an office. She describes her customers as locals who work in the area, and who come in to enjoy the coffee and other treats served. Breakfast options include croissant, avocado, Gruyere and choice of egg for R42; granola, fruit salad and yoghurt at R18; and croissant, jam and butter at R15. The salads appear to be sold at R7 a portion of a specific salad. Meat options for sandwiches or salads are roast chicken, salami, and coppa ham. Pastry choices include cinnamon pretzels, chocolate cigars, chocolate croissants, and the bread range includes rye, ciabatta and Kornspitz.
Oishii delicious Caffe has a chef who comes in every day, making up the salads. Marko is sent to buy the fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as grain products for the salads. Anel Clarke is the chef, and spends the mornings at Oishii, making five salads, always a raw salad, a bean one, a chicken or tuna one, a starch one (pasta or couscous), and a potato one. When we were there last Saturday Anel’s salad selection included orange couscous, mange tout and sundried tomato; chick pea, feta and olive salad; beetroot, apple and rocket salad; and roast chicken, paw paw, and cucumber salad with a coconut dressing. Anel uses a different dressing for each salad, and tries to make unusual salads not found anywhere else. She says her chicken and corn salads are the most popular. When Anel is not at Oishii, she does cooking lessons in customers’ homes, and makes vegan food for the Wellness Warehouse on Kloof Street. She has started a blog called Daisy Meisie, but does not have much time for it.
We paid R 55 for a selection of four salads as well as a cappuccino, which is excellent value.
Oishii delicious Caffe, corner Kloof and De Lorentz Streets, Tamboerskloof. Tel (021) 422-4981. No website. Monday – Friday 7h30 – 16h30, Saturday 8h00 – 14h30.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage