Cafe’ Delicieux c’est tres delicieux!


A little French haven in the northern suburbs is Cafe’ Delicieux (a francophile would miss the accent on the first e of Delicieux), a daytime restaurant which is open seven days a week.   Whilst it encapsulates a French feel, its menu has little French food in it.

It is decorated beautifully, in a French blue, with beautiful Manna-style chandeliers from which dangle not just crystals but cups as well.   The owner clearly has interior decor talent, creating an aesthetically pleasing interior – with large black and white floor tiles, a large table at the entrance displaying all the baked treats in large glass belldomes, decorated with ribbons, a Dutch Tord and Boontjie papercut curtain, French background music, and a display of gifts of crockery, preserves, teapots etc for sale.  Beautiful photographs of cutlery decorate the wall.

Attention to detail is immediately noticeable – the chairs outside all have blankets on them, not only for warmth but also to add a touch of colour on the white chairs.    The crockery used is beautiful and precious, and one wonders how it stays whole without being chipped!   A ‘jammerlappie’ (moist cloth) accompanies the meal, presented on a beautiful plate.

Owner Serita Landman was out of town, but her Assistant Manager Lee Robertson was a most delightful and passionate representative, in supplying information, and even e-mailing a photograph whilst the writer was still in the restaurant.   The restaurant opened a year ago, but has only recently begun to make itself known.   Mrs Landman is a passionate French food lover, says Lee, and loves cooking a la francais.

The menu has some French dishes, such as coq au vin, but this dish has already been discontinued, as it has not sold well.  Instead it is the salads and burgers that are the most popular amongst the clients who are mainly from the Welgemoed neighbourhood, says a waitress.   Unfortunately the blackboard with the specials, referred to on the website, was not offered.

Breakfast can be eaten all day long, and the menu includes salads, pasta dishes, and light dishes such as moussaka, boerewors, and herb-fried calamari with remoulade sauce, at around R 60.  The menu has very feminine feel, created by the typeface, and the soft pink and blue used on its two sides.  Desserts are the cupcakes, and cakes, and include Chocolate tiramisu, Pecan Nut cheesecake, New York cheesecake, Carrot cake, and a Lemon Meringue, as well as a Granadilla Meringue. The menu reflects the positioning of the restaurant: “We like simple food, prepared with thought, love and care”.   This is not something one often sees communicated, and accurately summmarises what the restaurant is about.

All cakes and cupcakes are baked at the restaurant, and increasingly the services of the restaurant are being called upon for functions in the restaurant, and for outside-catering.

Lee talked about the “motherly” role that Mrs Landman plays towards her staff, and how happy she is to work at Cafe’ Delicieux, as are her colleagues.  Staff turnover is low.   All the staff smile, and look really happy, Lee being the prime example of a dedicated and loyal staff member, saying that she is at her most happy here, of all the restaurants she has worked at, feeling part of “the family”.   She adds that their patrons enjoy the warmth, welcome and comfortable ambiance of the restaurant.

The salad accompanying the moussaka was tasty, with a special dressing.  Tomatoes had been cut in half, and cooked for a while, an unusual salad ingredient.   The onions in the salad were a hindrance, not to everyone’s taste.

At all times the staff came by regularly, to check that all was in order.   Take-away boxes are beautifully decorated with ribbons, making one feel that one is taking home a special gift.

On 6 October Marlene van der Westhuizen, who lives in Cape Town and in the Provence, from where she offers cookery classes, will be featured at an evening function.  On 7 November Danielle Pascal will perform at Cafe’ Delicieux.   The restaurant is open from 7h15 on Mondays – Fridays, and closes at 18h00 on these days.  On Saturdays it opens at 8h30, and closes at 15h00, and on Sundays it opens at 9h00 and closes at 14h00.

Cafe’ Delicieux is located next to Woolworths, Shop 6, in the The Forum shopping centre below the Engen petrol station, on the corner of Jip de Jager and Kommissaris Streets in Welgemoed.   Tel 021 913 0153.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:

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