Restaurant Review: Firefly Café in Camps Bay is no longer flying, shocking service!

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When Firefly Café opened in Camps Bay just over a year ago, I was apprehensive about the future of the coffee shop, its service levels being variable, it taking me more than three months to write a review, feeling more confident about its future.

When co-owner Herman Bezuidenhout, who was often in the Café and with whom I enjoyed chatting, left Firefly Café and sold his shares to his business partner Luzaane Spoelstra, my confidence dropped to rock bottom and I did not return for at least four months, until a week ago! What a bad mistake it was!

Restaurant Review: Firefly Café in Camps Bay is a unique neighbourhood refreshment station, starting to fly!

 

Irreverent and sharp freelance Daily Maverick Food journalist Lin Sampson wanted to interview me, and as she was combining her visit to Camps Bay with a swim at the Tidal Pool, I suggested Firefly Café as the nearest decent restaurant at which to have a tea or coffee, even if it would be during Loadshedding.

Firefly Café was a disaster: at first we sat on the pavement, but numerous noisy trucks drove past, so we had to move inside. I arrived a little earlier, and was told by the waitress that they could serve tea, boiling the water on a gas stove, but no coffee. The first thing I noticed was that they no longer offer Dilmah Earl Grey tea, which I had introduced to Firefly when it opened, but the Twinings Earl Grey they stock now was an acceptable replacement. The tea came in a minute black tea pot, a new addition, literally just enough water for one cupful.

When Lin arrived, we had to find our waitress, and order another tea, it taking a long time to get it served.  We settled in, caught up, and Lin started the interview using a recorder, hard to hear each other as one of the staff nearby was throwing oranges or lemons from one container r to another, making a huge racket.

We wanted a croissant with our tea, and the waitress was surprisingly honest, in sharing that the croissants were those of the previous day.  They cost R25, and previously were served with small containers of grated cheese, a margarine type spread, and jam, all for R25, but now the croissant is served unaccompanied at that price. Lin wanted her croissant with butter, or with jam, and was brought what was called strawberry jam, but looked like a liquid light red ketchup! We requested grated cheese instead. Our waitress topped up our tea pots with hot water when the power came back on.

The Manager was not working on that day, when I asked. The Chef was the manager in charge, but he never left the open kitchen. We saw a barista dressed as if he was going to the Beach! And all we were trying to do was to record the interview!

We did negotiate the grated cheese to compensate for the less than fresh croissants. If I’m critical,  Lin is even more so! I’m not sure what she will write after this entertaining yet disappointing experience.

I received the details of how to contact the owner Luzaane Spoelstra, trying Herman first, and was surprised when he told me that they did not part well, and that he had deleted her number! I then asked via Instagram, and received her email address. I wrote to her, sending her a summary of what we experienced, similar to what I described above. In close to a week after writing to her, reminding her of how competition around Firefly Café is building up, with four new restaurants within 200 metres of the Café opening this month, I have received no reply! A sad signal of the end of Firefly Cafë lying ahead.

POSTSCRIPT 18/11:  I received a reply from owner Luzaane Spoelstra, with a hostile tone. This is what she wrote:

Chrissy, first of all. I have not recieved (sic) an email from you. I was waiting for it. And second of all. You have no idea why Herman left the business. If you would like to have a conversation let me know. Posting absolute nonsense and may I add name slander is innappropriate for someone who has no idea what they are talking about. You had it wrong the first time and so you do now.

Regards

Luzanne Spoelstra’

 I have asked her to clarify what I may have got wrong.  Instead of doing so she has hurled abuse at me and towards her former business partner Herman, missing the point of the review completely, writing as follows: 

The email provided to you was luzannes@fireflycpt.co.za, not the email you wrote there, maybe go double check. Which is obviously why I did not recieve (sic) it.

My message is not hostile, it is factual. You wrote your initial blog with completely wrong facts and this one the same. You obviously caught a liking in Herman. Unfortunately you do not know why I had to get him out of the company.

I would say that your blog towards Firefly is hostile and completely unfounded. 

Giving myself and my company a bad name as a result of load shedding and not the tea you recommended to Herman is not okay.

Making him some sort of hero. He is far from it.

I suggest you take that post down.‘

She followed this up with a third volley of abusive messages on Instagram:

Let me suggest a meeting. Then I will tell you woman to woman what happened?

Your influence will not taint my business.

But I would like the truth out there

I will make this public.

You are backing the wrong horse. I fell for it too with Herman.

Let me know if you want to get your story straight, before you land yourself in a lot of trouble.‘

 

Unbelievable rudeness and arrogance  !!!!!!!!! Firefly Café will not last in Camps Bay.

 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com  www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide

 

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3 replies on “Restaurant Review: Firefly Café in Camps Bay is no longer flying, shocking service!”

  1. I don’t know Herman or Luzanne or Chris. Never met any of them.
    I fully agree with Chris. Service lost quality. What were/are the reasons? I don’t know.
    I sincerely hope Luzanne can return it and we get a good service again.

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