Tag Archives: breads

Babylonstoren 2 opens as The Newt in Somerset in the UK, celebrates local produce, history, and beauty!

 

It was by chance that I heard about The Newt in Somerset opening in the UK last year, a property which Babylonstoren owners Koos Bekker and Karen Roos bought in 2013 as Hadspen House, renaming the renovated estate, and turning it into a property similar to Babylonstoren outside Franschhoek. Continue reading →

Franschhoek joins The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World!

The Tasting Room pink dishFranschhoek has joined The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World, an international network of cities promoting the benefits of culinary excellence and good food, in partnership with the Cape Winelands District Municipality.

The Délice Network has 21 member cities, including Barcelona, Madrid, Montreal, Lausanne, Milan, Copenhagen, Chicago, Gothenburg, Birmingham, Helsinki, and Brussels. It is the only city in the Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 30 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A Global March for Rhinos and Elephants will be held on Saturday 4 October, with South Africa, the USA, Germany, Botswana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Italy, and Mozambique being some of the countries participating. World Travel Market (WTM) Africa staff will also participate in the march in Cape Town, as one of its social responsibility projects. The march calls for a total ban on the trade of ‘wildlife body parts’.  WTM Africa runs from 15 – 17 April.

*   The Bureau of Economic Research quarterly survey has found a sharp drop in the expectation of business growth for the Accommodation sector in the third quarter (July – September), at 9%, compared to the previous winter period of April – June, which showed a 22% growth expectation. For the last quarter of this year, growth of 16% is expected. All other business sectors surveyed are showing negative growth expectations. The overall Western Cape business growth expectation in the second quarter was 15%, is an estimated 20% for the third quarter, and 31 % for the 4th quarter, whereas all other provinces show negative growth experience and expectations. (received via e-mail from the Bureau of Economic Research)

*   Luvey ‘n Rose is offering an interesting Cigar Appreciation Evening on 7 October, with Roque, a professional cigar roller from Continue reading →

Crunch:The Pastry Shop an excellent antidote to credit crunch!

I popped in at Crunch:The Pastry Shop in Paarl yesterday, which opened in April. Crunch is a small bakery, shop and restaurant offering excellent low-cost breads, pastries, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and light meals.

Crunch belongs to Gerard van Staden, previously Chef at the Beverly Hills and Le Franschhoek Hotels, and was the right hand of Mr Maingard in overseeing his restaurant interests in Franschhoek.  Half the space is the bakery, not much of it visible to customers.   The front end has a display cabinet for cupcakes and some cakes, while a shelving unit displays biscuits, and has baskets of attractive and more unusual muffins, including raisins, chocolate chip, and poppyseed, at R5 each.    At the entrance are bread baskets with 20 % rye Baguettes, Chiapatta, and 50 % rye breads.  Potato bread, Olive Chiapatta, Sour dough, and Seed loaf can also be ordered.  There are only three sit-down wooden tables and red chairs inside the small space, with a counter and bar chairs outside.

Gerard told me that while he is a trained chef, he learnt to bake breads on the Radisson Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship from a fellow Austrian pastry chef.  He is assisted by Jason, previously at Huguenot Fine Chocolates in Franschhoek, and Ernestine.  I was impressed to see how much time Gerard spent on neatly placing newly baked cupcakes in the display cabinet, to make them look perfect.  He says that he learnt this whilst training in France.  The Crunch price lists says: “Good food is lots of little things done well”, and I could see Gerard practicing this while I was there.

The menu is printed on recycled paper, and offers a variety of Breakfast options, including English breakfast (R35), Croissant (R22), Baker’s Basket of scone and croissant (R25), Health Breakfast with muesli and fruit (R25), and a Get up and Go breakfast with a single egg and bacon at a mere R18.  With excellent LavAzza coffee one can enjoy a slice of cake (chocolate fudge, carrot, berry marshmallow, pecan nut, chocolate truffle) and cupcakes, all costing R15.  Soup choices are Chicken and mushroom (R15,) and Leek and potato (R12).   Pancakes can be ordered in sweet or savory style, and the offering reminded me of that at Crepe et Cidre in Franschhoek, which Gerard had set up for Mr Maingard.  Savory pancakes cost R35 for Chicken and mushroom, and Lamb curry, as well as R65 for Smoked salmon. A Breakfast pancake with fried egg and bacon can also be ordered, at R18!  Sweet pancake options cost R10 – R20, ranging from cinnamon and lemon, to strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apple cinnamon, and banana and caramel.  Cappuccino costs R15, and smoothies R25.

One can also buy biscuits (e.g. Speculaas, macaroon, meringues), fudge, shortbread, Pavlova and Vol au Vent bases, pies (steak and kidney, tomato bredie, cornish pasty, chicken and mushroom, lamb curry, and steak), hand-made chocolate, and cakes (including Chocolate bubble, cherry streussel, apple streussel, carrot cake, pecan pie, wildberry mousse, baked cheese cake, and wild chocolate cake with lemon and orange curd), at R15 – R26 a slice. 

Crunch:The Pastry Shop offers excellent value for money, and with Chef Gerard at the helm, one can be assured of excellent quality too. 

Disclosure: Gerard gave me a loaf of 50 % rye bread to take home.

Crunch: The Pastry Shop, 7 Jan Phillips Square, Paarl.  Tel (021) 871-1335.  No website.  Monday – Saturday, 7h00 – 17h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Paarl’s Proviant Kaapse Tafel & Spens is “Boere Nostalgia”

I have driven past Proviant Kaapse Tafel & Spens on Paarl’s Main Road many times, but never noticed the restaurant.  I went to try out the restaurant this week for two reasons:  I had read somewhere that Chef Reuben Riffel had been to eat there, and it was suggested to me when I made a comment about most Paarl restaurants, other than Bosman’s, being closed on Sunday afternoons.  It is a flashback to the past, and was described by the co-owner as “Boere Nostalgia”.

My first reaction on arriving at the Victorian style house was one of scepticism – maybe it was the beige paintwork, which did not make the exterior look fresh or inviting to me.   I walked into the building, and there was no staff to welcome me.   On the left one enters two sections, with names at the entrance to each: “Tant Hetta se Spens” and “Negosiewinkel”.  The first section has Wilson’s sweets, apricot balls and other sweets dating back to one’s childhood.  This deli section has a display cabinet for home-made pies and their lovely farm breads (it is a surprise that one is not served a slice when eating there), which one can take home to buy.  The menu invites one to buy from the deli, but it was very bare, as the pies and breads had not been put out in the 39°C Paarl heat.  The second part of the shop had soaps and gift items to sell.  Tucked away around the corner was a shelf with preserves, ginger beer, rusks, stoneground flour, and general deli items.  Across the passage is Uncle Tiny’s pub, set up in honour of Tiny Neethling, who was a Springbok rugby player in the Sixties and Seventies – his rugby jersey and other memorabilia are displayed in the tiny pub.  One can sit outside at the back, with a lovely view onto Paarl Mountain and vineyards adjacent to the Proviant property.   It has a canvas roof, and it seemed exceptionally hot there, the heat being trapped underneath the canvas.   A fine spray mist is to be introduced, to address this problem.  It is a space often used for stork parties, kitchen teas, small weddings and other events.  I was offered a table inside with airconditioning, but only saw a lone table from the passage, not seeing the rest of the dining room with a massive fireplace and an ox wagon wheel light, which I saw later when I was shown around by Chef Rob Hahn.  The music inside reminds one of Nico Carstens, and was from a CD called ‘Trekklavier Hits’! 

I chose to sit outside on the stoep (there are benches lower down too), at a ‘plaas’ wooden table and chairs, very old-fashioned, setting the scene for what was to come. There are no placemats or tablecloth, and a beige material serviette had a set of pedestrian cutlery folded in it.  A little plant in a Lucky Star pilchards tin dating back many years, with a little red heart, reminded one of Valentine’s Day the previous day, as did a Boland Cellar Valentine’s Day promotion, offering their wines ranging from R 55 for their Five Climates Chenin Blanc to R78 for their mouthful of a Cappupinoccinotage!  I was ignored for a long time, after having been given the menu, a typical staff scenario of one staff member thinking another was taking care of me, it emerged.

The menu holder is a cheap black plastic one, and the inside front cover states that it is sponsored by Haute Cabriere.  Yet the page opposite had a full page advertisement for Boland Cellars, to encourage one to order their wines for Valentine’s Day, and I did not see any Haute Cabriere wines on the winelist.  The KWV head office is close by, and its logo is visible on a number of the menu pages.   The menu introduction refers to the ‘old friends’ bobotie, vetkoek, malva pudding, rusks and ‘boeretroos’ (coffee) one would have enjoyed in “Grandma’s kitchen’, the menu says, which one can expect on the menu at Proviant.  Breakfast is served all day, and creative names have been chosen to describe the menu offerings, e.g. the Boland Breakfast consists of bacon, ‘skilpadjies’ (liver in ‘net vet’), sausage, minute steak, farm bread and jam, at R69; a Farmer’s Breakfast is a reduced version of this at R55.  Bacon and eggs, and poached eggs cost R38, while scrambled eggs cost R45.   A number of light meals are on offer, including various burgers (R45 – R55), vetkoek and curry mince (R42), fishcakes (R45), generous home-made pies (R45), and toasted ‘samies’ (R36).  Starters include ‘Farmer’s Caviar”, being marrow bones (R35); bobotie springrolls (R38); a trio of patés (R49); and chicken liver peri peri, crumbed calamari and lamb kidneys, all three costing around R42. 

Salads range in price from R35 – R48, and include ‘Kiep-Kiep’, with roast chicken, bacon and egg; ‘Boland Bliss’, with smoked trout, avocado and feta; and ‘B&B’ with biltong, blue cheese and brandied dried fruit. The prices of main courses hover around R100, and are mainly below this price.  The list is extensive, and includes oxtail, Chakalaka rump, biltong cheddar rump, spicy lamb bunny chow, vegetarian bobotie, lamb shank, chicken schnitzel, fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, kudu loin, and a popular tourist “South African Plate” of bobotie, lamb curry and oxtail.   On the table a menu notice promoted a Friday evening Seafood buffet, costing R120, which includes paella, snoek paté, curry fish, prawns peri peri, calamari, Greek salad, and mussels, and is good value for this special offer, and Proviant generally has excellent prices.  In winter the Friday evening special of curries is very popular.  On Sundays a 3-course Carvery buffet is served, at R105.

I ordered the crumbed pork chops (R85), and it was the home-made apple sauce that attracted me to this dish, sweetish but delicious.  The plate was brought to the table by Chef Rob, and it had two chops, mash, butternut, and broccoli with a cheese sauce, all wonderful.  With it was served a really serious steak knife.  I had no intention of having a dessert, but when I saw the deep-fried ice cream (R25) on the menu, I had to try it.  It was a tasty vanilla ice cream encased in phyllo pastry and fried.   The pastry had a chewy texture to it, and was served in a caramel sauce.  Other “Scale Busters”, as the menu called them, are peppermint fridge tart, Malva pudding, and Van der Hum créme brulee, also costing an unbelievably low R25.   For ‘4 o’clock tea’ muffins, scones or cake are available, at R25.  

I was making notes when Nicky Hahn came to me, and asked if I needed help or information, which I declined.  She seemed a bit disturbed that I was copying her menu, and I explained to her that I was writing a review.  All of a sudden she recognised me, from the time she and her husband Rob ran Rickety Bridge’s restaurant and guest house in Franschhoek.  Rob told me that he opened Pearl Valley’s kitchen 21 years ago, and then he was part of the team opening the Park Hyatt in Johannesburg.   He was one of six selected chefs leading the team of 80 chefs cooking for Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration, and he proudly showed me the certificate of appreciation which he received.  Had I not been recognised, my review would have been very different, as the poor service by the waitresses had been most off-putting.  It proved to me once again how important hands-on service by the owners/managers is.   Needless to say the service was perfect from this point onwards.  Rob and Nicky Hahn are joint owners of Proviant with Marian (Neethling) and Mark Maingard, who now live in Namibia, but are returning to Paarl shortly.   Marian was the original owner of Proviant.  The very Afrikaans nature of Proviant (e.g. the Afrikaans menu section is before the English one, Afrikaans names for the room sections inside, Afrikaans-only Seafood buffet offer, the waitresses address one in Afrikaans, and Afrikaans bill) is in contrast to the English sounding Rob, but it probably means that he will ensure that they do not alienate their English-speaking customers too much.

The winelist is almost proudly-Paarl.  Wines by the glass include a dangerous sounding Masons “Klipkapper” Chenin Blanc at R18/R60, Masons Shiraz (R20), Nederburg Rosé (R20/R73), Protea Chardonnay from Antonij Rupert wines in Franschhoek (R25/R89), and KWV Cuveé Brut (R30/R86).  A nostalgia moment was to see a full-page promotion encouraging one to drink KWV’s Roodeberg, which was a treasure many many years ago, only exported or available via farmers who were members of the co-operative.  It is sold for R89.   Laborie’s Brut (R125) and Shiraz (R85) are also sold. 

Proviant will not be to everyone’s taste, South African English-speakers possibly finding it too Afrikaans, and younger restaurant goers finding it too old-fashioned.  But it is excellent value for money, and a good plateful of food is served.  Chef Rob described Proviant as serving ‘honest food’, and said that it is ‘the modern day Oom Samie se Winkel’ from Dorp Street in Stellenbosch. The bill was brought to the table in a ‘blikbeker’, demonstrating the absolute focus on the theme.  The nostalgia got to me when I saw an ad for Sunrise toffees in the menu, taking me right back to my childhood.   Rob sent me on my way with a massive potbrood, which he described as their “small one”, given that they sell an even larger size too, and it was a demonstration of the generosity of the ‘olden days’, when visitors were sent on their way with a gift. Proviant is now participating in the Laborie Lazy Days market on Saturdays, and sells its farm bread there.   

Proviant Kaapse Tafel & Spens, 54 – 56 Main Road, Paarl. Tel (021) 863-0949.  www.proviant.co.za (Website down).  Tuesdays until 17h00, Wednesdays – Fridays until ‘late’, Sundays until 17h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Salmon Bar in Franschhoek serves almost only… salmon!

The Salmon Bar at The Yard in Franschhoek recently re-opened in a new venue in the same centre, but now is visible to the main road.    The new venue has an odd shape, but its interior decor is marine-orientated, and it is far better able to communicate that it is all about salmon and trout, but also serves wonderful breakfasts, sells outstanding breads, as well as muffins, croissants and cupcakes, and excellent cappuccinos.  The restaurant seems to have got streets better since its re-opening at the beginning of December.

Judy Sendzul is the clever owner of The Salmon Bar at The Yard, which was previously located at a courtyard off the main road when it first opened three years ago, so it was especially popular amongst the Franschhoek locals, who liked the restaurant for its coffee, breakfasts, and salmon meals, to buy wonderful bread, and to sit at a restaurant table without the noise distrubance of trucks driving by on the main road.  Initially I was not a salmon fan, and therefore did not consider it for lunches, or even dinners, when these were introduced.  But that has changed.  The website describes the owner Judy as “chef, restaurateur, retail food product developer and marketer”.  She worked at Woolworths, developing new products for two years.   The Three Streams Smokehouse, a partner in the venture, also supplies Woolworths with salmon.   

When Bouillabaisse closed down, the developers of The Yard moved the Pam Golding offices to the Bouillabaisse space, and The Salmon Bar took the Pam Golding space, but also that of Schwartz jewellers behind it.  The result is a long thin extended restaurant, which almost divides itself into two sections: one near the ‘retail section’ of the restaurant and its pay point, and another set further back, towards the courtyard.  The space has been used cleverly, with a counter running down the length of most of the restaurant.  There are comfortable couches against the other wall, and modern white chairs.   I have always admired the modern wave-like glass shelves which The Salmon Bar uses to display its breads, and these were in use in the old location already.   Being focused on marine decor ourselves at Whale Cottage, it is a pleasure to see another business’ fish focus, with an engraved outline of a fish in the ceiling, linked to a slogan:  “We source our fish responsibly and cook it simply for breakfast, lunch and dinner”.  A wooden fish collage has been hung up behind the couches, and fishes have been painted on the wall above the trout and salmon fridges.  The table number has a fish on it. On another wall there is another saying: “Produced and passionately hand made in Franschhoek”.   The menu says “We source responsibly and cook simply”. 

The Salmon Bar describes itself as “Restaurant, Bar, Deli, Bakery” on its menus.  There are two menus, one for Breakfast, which is served until midday, and one for the other meals of the day, available throughout the day.  The Breakfast menu is a small laminated menu, printed on both sides, and offers a large variety of interesting and unusual choices: croissants cost R15; pain au chocolate R15; muffins R22; toast, grape jam and Huguenot cheese costs R30; a croissant with oak smoked Royale Highlands trout and cream cheese costs R45;  scrambled eggs and toast are my favourite, served plain at R30, R35 with tomato relish added, and R40 with bacon; lemon scrambled eggs with trout and crème fraîche cost R55; poached eggs (R30); fried eggs and bacon cost R40; boiled eggs and soldiers (R35); frittata and chorizo R55; bagel and scrambled egg with bacon or trout costs R45; ricotta hotcakes, berries and crème fraîche cost R40; and mushrooms on toast with ham R60.  Cappuccino is charged at R15. 

Cleverly the winelist is printed on a wine bottle, and is a small selection of mainly Franschhoek wines, heavily weighted to those from Boekenhoutskloof.  There are five white wines, starting at R25/R90 for Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, and for the Wolftrap Viognier Chenin Blanc, to R55/R220 for the Boekenhoutskloof Semillon.  “Pink wines” offered are Wolftrap (R25/R90) and Haut Espoir (R33/R130).  Five red wines start at Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier (R25/R90), and The Chocolate Block costs R60/R260.   “Fine wines” cost R900 for Bollinger, Krone Borealis Cuvée MCC 2007 costs R35/R170, and Krone Rosé Cuvée R45/R220.

The main menu is A3-sized, and one side sketches the “Journey of the Royale Highlands Trout”: the eggs are hatched in Franschhoek.  The fingerlings are transported to the Lesotho Highlands, where the clear and cold water of the Katse Dam is ideal for farming trout. Then the full-grown trout are returned to Franschhoek, where they are cured and smoked.   On the other side, the extensive, unusual and unique salmon and trout focused menu is printed.   Sashimi is offered, 6 pieces of salmon cost R65 and 6 pieces of tuna R75.   “Japanese tapas” offered is salmon and prawn pot stickers – there was far more salmon than prawn in these, and the manager agreed that it is predominantly made from salmon, and explained that the prawn content is finely chopped.  I would have expected a 50/50% prawn and salmon content. One could not taste the prawns at all (R35); grilled whitefish (R45); the prawn rice noodle spring roll was crunchy, containing mange tout, with a delicious crispy ‘wrapper’, but containing chilli and therefore had quite an afterbite! (R30); and Oshi Zushi (pressed salmon sushi – R35/R70).  “Smoked and cured” offerings are Loch Duart Scottish salmon and toast (R85), and a smoked salmon platter (R125).   Trout paté costs R55, prawns Marie Rose R85; Teriyaki salmon bites R85; New Zealand mussels R65; and Richard’s cured meats R75.   Salads are unusual too: grilled Yakitori salmon salad, with seaweed and mushrooms (R98); yellow fin tuna (R75); hot smoked trout Niçoise (R85); spicy pear salad (R55); and a 4-cheese platter costs R85.   “Grills” available are linefish (R85); fish cakes (R65); Franschhoek trout (R75); Loligo squid (R65); and prawn/salmon Tom Yum” (R55). 

The Deli sells Tokara olive oils, as well as jams, honey, cheese, trout, salmon paté, and a wonderful collection of breads – the dough is supplied by Knead Bakery, and baked on the premises: buttermilk rye, light rye, ciabatta with olives, multi-seed health bread, fruited muesli, and barley, potato and rosemary bread, ranging in price from R22 – R28.  Baguettes cost R12.  One can also buy Black Tiger prawns, tuna, mussels, Norwegian salmon, Rainbow Trout, Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats, and home-made mayonnaise. 

I love going to The Salmon Bar, with really friendly staff, and a chef who is willing to bend the rules about which of their lovely breads may be used to make toast.  Parking always seems to be available outside on the main road.   The prices charged are reasonable, and the restaurant has a niche untouched by any other in Franschhoek or the Western Cape.

The Salmon Bar at The Yard, 38 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-4591.  www.salmonbar.com (The website lists the menus and winelist, and each page has a beautiful salmon shot, but the general food items are not featured due to the lack of an Image Gallery. Some photographs of the interior are of the previous location).  Open Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 21h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: De Oude Bank Bakkerij brings Ile de Pain to Stellenbosch!

A quaint and very unusual new restaurant, called De Oude Bank Bakkerij, has opened in an alley off Church Street in Stellenbosch, and challenges conventional restaurant operations.   It sells the most delicious artisanal breads baked on the property, by owner Fritz Schoon, who worked at Ile de Pain in Knysna for 18 months to learn from the best breadmaker, he says.

Fritz has Dutch roots stretching far back, and that is why he chose the Dutch name for his bakery and restaurant.  It is an unusual space, and feels like a covered courtyard to a building which opens onto the Dorp Street Gallery and a crystal glass shop, the former on Church Street and the latter on Bird Street.   The building previously was the offices of the District Bank.  Individual square tables with very uncomfortable heavy metal chairs, as well as shared long wooden tables with benches, fill the space.  One wall looks like a cosy lounge, with shelves filled with books.

As one enters, one sees the Lucas Jamon ham, from Prince Albert, hanging over the counter, with the freshly baked breads on display for sale behind it.   It has a cosy ‘untidiness’, making it homely. It is also a deli, selling the breads, wines, coffee, jams and tapenades.  The deli counter, and place to pay, is unusual, in being a piece of wood on top of stacked logs.

Fritz is cute, with beautiful eyes, a young entrepreneur who seems to be in his baking element in the shop.   He is so hands-on that his apron is full of flour dust.  He is so proud of what he is doing that he has put up photographs of all his suppliers.  He has taken special care to source wines and other supplies from suppliers who are small and artisanal too.  His wines come from mainly unfamiliar wine estates such as Berry Box, Noble Savage, Rainbow’s End, Bartinney, Marklew, Topaz, and Clouds, all from Stellenbosch, and his coffee comes from the Conti micro-roastery in Kuilsriver.  Beer on tap comes from Birkenhead in Stanford, at R20 for 330ml and R55 for 900ml. The wine-by-the-glass cost ranges from R20 – R40, and R60 – R190 per bottle.

Fritz comes from Kempton Park, studied quantity surveying, and worked on a building site, supplying food to the construction workers on the sites he worked at.  He enjoyed artisanal baking, and therefore decided to train at Ile de Pain in Knysna, regarding Markus Farbinger one of the best artisanal bakers.  He also uses stoneground flour and allows the natural fermentation of his dough to make and bake his breads, just as Ile de Pain does.   The breads made at the De Oude Bank Bakkerij are French Ciabatta, Baguette, Sourdough, Dark Rye Sourdough, as well as salted seed and rustic olive sticks.

What is even more unusual about the restaurant is that the menu is the cheapest possible to produce – a handwritten photocopied menu that itemises every item one may wish to order, on the principle that one only pays for what one gets.  Everything is priced, and the customers at each table fill in the quantity per item they wish to order, minimising order errors.   I would normally have been critical of the menu, but it is such a surprise, and in keeping with the character of the restaurant, that Fritz can get away with it – it must be the little hearts that are drawn on the menu!   He has written the following on the menu, to explain his restaurant philosophy: “Pain de vie is the bread of life. This is what I hope to create here.  The opportunity to break bread with friends and family.  I believe that this is what fuel (sic) our daily existence, our life purpose.  Sit. Talk. Laugh. Debate… and eat more BREAD!”  I love it!

Some of the “Condiments” one can order with 2 slices of bread, costing R5 – 7 for two, are farm butter (R4), schmaltz (R6), mustard glaze (R5), olive tapenade (R6), roasted black olives (R10), and a most delicious shitake mushroom pesto (R8).   Jams cost R5, and include olive marmalade, “nastergal jam”, rasberry (sic) jam, and bluegum honey (R6).   Cheese brands are specified, Ganzvlei matured cheddar costs R10, Forest Hill brie R8, and Witzenberger Kimilili R8.  On the meat side, Coppa ham costs R8, as does Smoked Pork, Beef salami and Black Forrest (sic) Ham.  Namib beef biltong is R10, and Lucas Jamon costs R30.

I ordered the ‘creamy scrambled eggs with bacon on sourdough toast’ at a mere R 25, the yellowest egg dish I have ever eaten – these must be specially sourced free-range eggs for sure.  Gourmet sandwiches can also be ordered, at R25 – R30, depending on the topping.  A slice of Butterkuchen costs R12.  Organic teas are offered at R10 and less, and a cappuccino costs R14.   Six coffee styles are offered.  My cappuccino was brought to the table in a wooden cup, on a wooden saucer, with a long wood handle spoon, which was far too long for the saucer, but just added to the natural wood feel of the restaurant.  The bread is served on wooden boards, with wood-handle cutlery – the knives are uncomfortable to use.    We saw three patrons share a wooden tray filled with a selection of bread slices and lots of little portions on the “Condiments” list, looking like a delicious tapas feast.

I loved the differentness of De Oude Bank Bakkerij, and loved the way Fritz has turned many restaurant conventions on their head, by creating a special and unusual, yet simple, restaurant.   I am definitely going back.

De Oude Bank Bakkerij, 7 Church Street, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 883-2187 (phone not always answered).  No website.  On Facebook.  Twitter: @OudeBankBakery  Open Tuesday – Friday 8h00 – 15h00, Saturdays from 9h00 – 15h00, and Sundays from 9h00 – 13h00.  On Wednesday and Saturday evenings pizza, beer and wine are served from 18h30 – 22h00.   On the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Marcelino The Bakery a callback to a Zerban’s past

Marcelino The Bakery opened about a month ago, at the mountain end of Loop Street, as a big open-plan  bakery.  The owner is Marcelino Siljeur, and his mentor and colleague is Gerd Zerban, the original owner of Zerbans in Sea Point and the Garden Centre.   The bakery is already taking Cape Town by storm, with the most delectable freshly baked breads and rolls, and sweet treats, as well as for the unbelievably low prices charged.

One gives one’s age away if one admits to remembering Zerbans, which was THE coffee shop and bakery in the 1980’s, attracting patrons with a European background in particular.  Marcelino’s father worked for Zerban at that time.  Zerban sold his business to Checkers in the late Eighties, and took up a challenge from Natie Kirsch to set up eight ‘Hot & Crusty’ outlets in Manhattan.  He enjoyed the taste of New York, and then became a consultant for supermarkets in New York.   Returning to South Africa, and to Cape Town, he set up the baking side of New York Bagels in Sea Point, and there he trained Marcelino as his apprentice.   They went their separate ways, and recently decided to get together to start up Marcelino The Bakery.

Marcelino moved to Belvedere in Claremont after completing his apprenticeship with Zerban at New York Bagels, and then moved to Zambia to open a bakery. He returned to Cape Town to work at the French Confectionery, before enrolling at the Chef’s School at Zevenwacht, seeing the hospitality industry as a new challenge, and wanting a formal qualification.   He worked at the Cape Town International Convention Centre after completing his course, and then worked on the QE 2 as patissier, followed by a stint as Product Developer at Pick ‘n Pay, baker at Ille de Pain in Knysna, and at Cassis, giving him an excellent rounding in baking and pastry-making.

Marcelino is a soft-spoken generous baker and businessman, yet is with it as far as Social Media Marketing is concerned, and is already marketing his business on Twitter. 

Crispy rolls cost R1,80, and other rolls (pumpkin, hotdog, mixed seed) cost R2,50.  Croissants cost R8 plain, and R12 for those filled with chocolate, cheese or almond.   Ciabattas cost R22, French and sourdough baguettes cost R 14, 66 % rye bread R22, and a seed loaf R22.  Some of the breads are available in small sizes too, at half price.

On the sweet side, chocolate, lemon, lemon meringue, pecan and apple, and baked plum tarts cost R20, cake slices range between R12 – R20,  doughnuts cost R3,99, and cakes such as Mocha Baiser, Champagne Cake, Brandy Cake, Spanish Vanilla and the Marcelino Special cost R190.   A little more expensive are Sacher Torte, Hollander Kirsch, Pfalzer Kirsch, Swedish Apple Cake and Prinzregenten Torte.   Slices of Butterkuchen, Apfelstrudel, Zwiebelkuchen, Apple Streusel and Apricot Strudel cost R10, as do danishes.  Quiche slices cost R15 for a choice of four.    The poppy seed crispy rolls are just like those baked by a German bakery, and are a million times better than those sold by Raith in the Garden Centre.

Marcelino hopes to expand into the adjacent space in about six months, and wants to set up a restaurant section there.  Currently he has a little space at the entrance to the bakery, as well as on the pavement outside, to serve his bargain lunches, and coffee and sweet treat specials. 

Marcelino The Bakery, 210 Loop Street, Cape Town.  Tel 021 422 0168. Twitter @MarcelinoBakery. www.marcelinothebakery.com. Mondays – Fridays 6h00 – 16h00, Saturdays and Sundays 7h00 – 13h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com