Entries tagged with “coffee shop”.


The space that once was Gesellig on Sea Point’s Regent Road had been standing unused for a couple of months.  Now it is the home of Flatteur Café, a ‘specialty coffee shop’, according to its co-owner John du Preez, and is worthy of its name, meaning flattery in French, or so I thought on my first visit.  Unfortunately the second visit a few days later was disappointing.

John told me that they do not want to become a restaurant but that they want to focus on being a good coffee shop. They use Origin coffee and its Nigiro teas, and I enjoyed a perfectly made dry cappuccino (R20), even though they only have ‘Flat White‘ on their coffee list, yet they were happy to oblige.  The menu is short and sweet, and will change every two to three weeks. They offer a number of different coffee styles, two or three cakes daily, baked by John’s Polish partner Rafal Glenc, as well as muffins (R12), scones with jam and cream (two for R20), Danish custard slices, and a range of unusual sounding biscuits, including ginger, coconut and sultans, butternut, as well as muesli rusks.

Breakfast is served all day, a choice of scrambled eggs served with salmon and rye bread, a steal at R45, or served with mushrooms (R35); muesli, honey and yoghurt (R25); and French Toast served savory with Brie and tomato jam, or sweet, with fresh fruit and mascarpone.  On Friday I enjoyed the corn fritters with bacon and cherry tomatoes (R45).  Sandwiches are available too, on a choice of rye bread, ciabatta, and toasted croissant and cost between R45 – R55, including steak and parmesan, poached chicken breast marinated with red peppers and tapenade, and mushroom served with salsa verde and Dijon mustard.  Salads cost R45, and are a grilled Caprese, Lentil salad, and a warm winter salad with roast vegetables and couscous. A Special of the day on both days was a Feta, tomato and rocket omelette (R35).  Chef Catherine is friendly, having moved to the city after selling her Bamboo Beach restaurant in Sandbaai, outside Hermanus.  All the staff smiled, and were welcoming on the first visit.

John and Rafal lived in London for twenty years. It was John who wanted to return to his home country (he grew up in Mossel Bay), and they chose Sea Point to set up their new business, not ever having run such a business before. Rafal is a passionate baker, baking the French chocolate cake (R30), Lemon Meringue (R28), and Cappucino Cake (R40), the latter being so popular that it is sold out on most days.  They did not know predecessor Gesellig, and have smartened up the interior, with a reed ceiling, finished off the deck onto the Church Street pavement, added new wood dominant furniture on the upper level, used ‘blikborde’ decoratively on one of the walls, used wood cladding on the kitchen counter, and created a new cake and coffee counter. A large poster gives a French feel, as does the French café music.  Each table has a ‘blikbeker’ holding the sugar sticks, to continue the theme. Cutlery is by Fortis.  Books are displayed on the steps of the spiral staircase.

Flatteur Café is a friendly homely coffee shop serving excellent food at very reasonable prices.  I wrote all the above (other than the menu details) after my first visit.  When I went back on Friday it was as if the personality of Flatteur Café had changed completely. From friendly and welcoming on my first visit it was as if they did not care, with no menu brought to the table, nor order taken.  The friendly chef also wasn’t on duty, and I was horrified to see her assistant spraying a pan with what seemed half a canful of Spray & Cook. John seemed completely disinterested, working on his laptop, not checking on his two tables with customers, while the barista/waiter had his back to the coffee shop and was sharing photographs on his phone with the assistant cook, and ignoring his customers too.  I had asked John for the menu to be e-mailed, to save me writing it all down, but it never arrived, despite a follow up call.  A lovely fellow guest Jadee, who follows the Restaurant Specials on our blog, was on her first visit on Friday, but had arrived earlier. She fed back that a strange atmosphere was tangible whilst the chef had been there earlier in the morning.  It is disconcerting that Flatteur Café could have such a personality change in its first two weeks of operation.

Flatteur Café has fantastic potential, especially in Sea Point, which is short of quality restaurants and coffee shops.  One hopes that John will come out of his shell, and connect with his customers more, to make them feel welcome when they support his establishment.  Rafal and Chef Catherine add value with their special food, and the interior is attractive. Parking in the area is scarce.

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: I returned earlier this week for delicious scones, and was delighted to meet the other partner Rafal, charming, friendly, and attentive. Sadly, John ignored me completely, appearing hurt by our review above.  John and Rafal are now running their own kitchen, having let the kitchen staff go.

Flatteur Café, corner Regent and Church Street, Sea Point, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 439-3174. www.flatteur.co.za Facebook. Monday – Friday 7h30 – 18h00  Saturday and Sunday 8h30 – 18h00.  50 megabyte free wifi per visit.

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

It’s the low key openings, without fanfare, that are often the most exciting.  Luvey ‘n Rose on Rose Street in Bo Kaap opened earlier this week as a coffee shop, art gallery, antique shop, adding wines once the liquor licence has been approved, and soon to be a permanent artist’s residence too.

Owned by Ignatius Claassen, an erstwhile actuary who decided to go it alone and start a completely different business, the business is located in a historic pink painted three storey building on Rose Street.  Ignatius cannot find the date of the completion of the building, but it is sturdily built, and he does know that there was a workshop downstairs, a button factory in the middle, and that it had an apartment on the top floor.  In the early days, when Cape Town’s cobble stone streets were tarred, the building was owned by a shoe and trouser tar-protection clog manufacturer.

Ignatius grew up in Despatch in the Eastern Cape, and took art as a school subject until Std 7, and says that he can draw and paint.  In the army (he was part of the last intake) he made money from his army friends by drawing them, which portraits they sent to their girlfriends and parents, as they could not send photographs in those days. When some starting receiving what he called ‘Dear Johnny’ relationship-ending letters, they felt that the drawings were jinxed, and so a promising art career came to an end.  However, Ignatius’ interest in art never waned, and he bought works at auctions, from art galleries, and from artist friends directly in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and in Johannesburg where he lived for part of his career.  A short-lived guest house career followed, until he sold two properties, moved to Cape Town, found the property, and put his money into art and antiques.  It was meeting up with his school friend Paul Noppe Adams that was a sign to change direction, and his children living in the Cape that made him settle in Cape Town.  He and Noppe live in the building, and Ignatius’ neat bedroom (reflecting his army training, he laughs) is open to view, as is the bathroom, as they contain art works that are for sale too.

Ignatius is quite philosophical about art, saying that one buys a work because of an emotional bond that it creates with the purchaser.  He buys works that appeal to him personally, that he would want to hang in his own home.  He will sometimes buy a piece for the concept, and not for its beauty, he said.

The first two floors are filled with art works from artists such as JH Pierneef, Walter Battiss (left), Shaney van den Bergh (photograph right, unusual in being painted on woven paper strips), Penny Siopis, Peter Clarke, Paul Emsley (once an art lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch and now lives in the UK, whose recent portrait of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was controversial), Wayne Barker, Stanley Pinker, and Alexandra Ross.  A table is dedicated ‘as a shrine’ to the late David Botha, with prints and drawings available for sale.   The third floor will be dedicated to the use of a studio apartment for a promising artist, and the first resident will be Johannes Phokela, a Soweto-born Masters in Painting graduate from the Royal College of Art and one of the artists chosen to represent our country at the International Venice Biennale later this year.  The view from his apartment is onto Table Bay harbour, and onto the colourful Bo Kaap, a stimulating inspiration for the artist.

The two floors are filled with an array of furniture, none matching, but forming clusters of seating, firstly available to buy, but also to invite one to sit down, to meet with friends or with clients and colleagues, over a good cup of Deluxe coffee (made in a mean-looking Sevruga coffee machine) and a Cuban cigar, with Buena Vista Social Club or Cesaria Evoria as background music.  The windows are big and let in light, uplifting in the winter months to come.  The latest newspapers are available, as are art books for one to peruse.

They are not offering a restaurant service, but have partnered with Jason’s on Bree Street, in carrying his menu.   At a R15 surcharge paid by the customer, the order is collected from them by scooter and delivered back, it taking 16 minutes from placing the order to the BAB (Bacon, Avo, and Brie) sandwich (R55) being delivered.  On the coffee table where we sat was a book called ‘No, It Is’, in which William Kentridge sketches have been printed inside over the book copy.

Luvey ‘n Rose is sure to become cult.  It is laid back, friendly, and a most unusual environment in which to meet others, or just to have a quiet moment away from others!

Luvey ‘n Rose, 21 Rose Street. Bo Kaap, Cape Town.  Cell 0835577156  Facebook page. Monday – Sunday 7h00 – 18h00 (opening times variable, to be adjusted once the liquor licence has been received).  Wifi to come.

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

The October Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting, hosted by the Haas Collective in their gallery across the road from Haas Coffee, reflected the passion and spirit of Jorgensen Distillery and Honest Chocolates, both artisanal producers.

Dawn introduced Jorgensen Distillery, and has been a loyal attendee of the Food & Bloggers’ Club meetings.  Last year she and Roger introduced Primitiv Vodka to the Bloggers’ Club.  Dawn told us that from being a winemaker, Roger moved into distilling, being one of three to start distilling spirits locally.  It’s a family business, and the website address www.jd7.co.za, reflects the seven members in the Jorgensen family, all involved in the business.  The family handles all aspects of the business, being absolutely hands-on. Dawn saw the power of Social Media, and took a one-day course. She registered the Twitter address @PrimitivVodka, which she uses for the whole product range, which has grown to eight, and does not think that she should have a separate account for each brand.  She praised Twitter and Blogging, saying that through Social Media they have made friends and built relationships. Roger is the ‘alchemist’, handling the production, and Dawn the Marketing, which she focuses on Social Media, and participation at smaller shows, locally and in Johannesburg. Interested bloggers and journalists have come to see the Jorgensen Distillery in Wellington. Dawn was almost apologetic about her Twitter Follower and Facebook Friends numbers of around 600, but has realised that it is not the number of persons, but the quality of the interaction that is important.  Dawn has found Facebook to be very visual, with Friends posting photographs, whilst Twitter helps to spread the word about one’s brand if the users are happy with it.  Happy customers become Social Media friends, word of mouth being their most important marketing approach. They value the relationships that they develop at each meeting. Dawn says she only Tweets positively.  She likes to promote like-minded people and their brands on Twitter.

Roger has a South African mother and Norwegian father, and grew up in a home in which spirits were drunk regularly and neat, always enjoyed with food. He was one of three producers to help change legislation relating to potstill brandy production, co-founded the Wellington Wine Route, and founded the Brandy Route in Wellington. He said that if one does ‘not make honest, holistically produced material you are just another brand’.  Roger said that spirits are drunk neat in the north, and with mixers in hot climate countries, including South Africa.  He suggested that they be drunk cold and neat, and not with local mixers, which are far too sweet.  We tasted the Primitiv Vodka first, which is made from spelt, the origin of grain, which Roger sources from the Cederberg, being the only region in South Africa where it is grown.  Roger distills the spelt with the husks, its oil giving the vodka its special flavour. He could make it at an alcohol level of 96%, but has chosen to reduce it to 90%, to allow the flavour of the essential oils to come to the fore.  He was critical of other commercially produced vodka, some of it made from grain not fit for human consumption.  Primitiv has a creamy and oily mouth feel, with floral, pepper and aniseed notes. It is well-suited to eat with cheese, and seafood, including oysters.  Premium white spirits are difficult to make, Roger said.  Lemoncello is a drink they learnt to love on a holiday in Tuscany, there being about thirty kinds in Italy. Roger uses organic Cape lemons, having the perfect aroma in the skin.  The top layer of the skin soaks in strong wine spirit for two weeks, and it absorbs the flavour and oils from the lemons. Roger would like to see restaurants serving a complimentary glass of Lemoncello as a thank you to their customers.  Limes from the neighbours are used to make Naked Lime liqueur, and bartered for product. Roger loves experimenting, and has made liqueurs from bay leaves and naartjies. The Jorgensen Distillery products can be delivered by courier when ordered off their website, or from www.ebooze.co.za, or found at Wines at the Mill. A range of miniatures is supplied to guest houses and hotels.  The Absinthe is the product that is most in demand, and their most expensive product.  New products Roger is working on are a South African ‘Tequila’, a local rum, and liqueurs made from indigenous aromatic plants. The Jorgensen’s gin is an African take on this product, Roger said, and again he emphasised that it should be drunk neat. This is the product that is hardest to make, in ensuring consistency, and therefore Roger holds back one third of every batch, to blend with the next batch.  A unique mix of herbs is used by Roger to make his gin, including ‘grains of paradise’, ‘Natal wild ginger spice’, and Ohandua spice from Namibia.  South Africa’s legislation, driven by the South African Liquor Brand Association, on which the major producers sit, demands that spirits have 43% alcohol, whereas the international norm is 40%.  Imported products therefore need to be adapted to increase the alcohol content, and their packaging needs to be amended for imported brands to be sold locally.  The Jorgensen’s Savignac potstill brandy was the highlight of the tasting for me, not being a brandy drinker at all. It is made in the style of French cognac, matured for 14 years in French oak barrels.  No sugar or caramel is added to the brandy, and the Honest Chocolates we tasted with it was an amazing marriage.

Honest Chocolates’ Anthony Gird told us that he ‘stumbled’ into chocolate-making, not having any culinary background. Using raw cocoa powder he had found in health shops, he experimented with it to make chocolates that his friends loved.  Michael de Klerk was living in London at the time, specialising in website design, and he too was experimenting with chocolate-making, having been inspired by a friend in New York to do so.  The team call themselves ‘imperfectionists’, learning as they go along. They have started with making moulded and dipped truffles, and sold their first handcrafted chocolates at the Old Biscuit Mill.  Their chocolates do not contain dairy or emulsifiers, and they only use natural fructose.  The raw organic cocoa beans are sourced from Super Foods, who in turn source them from a co-operative in Ecuador, which is also known to make one of the top chocolates in the world.  Their cocoa beans are not roasted, unlike other cocoa producers. The beans have a great aroma, have anti-ageing properties, and are good for the heart.  They use agave nectar instead of sugar, which is low GI, and is therefore diabetic-friendly.  In addition to truffles, they make small slabs, each new product wrapper designed by a different designer: a rabbit on the 72 % bar, and an illustration of the Kalahari desert on the Salt bar. They also make a chocolate spread.

Honest Chocolate has a website, a Facebook page, and more recently got into Twitter.  They have a blog on their website. Two months ago they opened their first outlet on Wale Street, from which they both make and sell the chocolate.  They say it is hard to make chocolate and Tweet/Blog. Currently they have about 600 Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  Facebook is like an on-line store for Honest Chocolate, with others recommending their products, while Twitter is a tool to network with partners.  They have had write-ups on blogs and in magazines, giving them free coverage, and this helps them to build relationships.  Every time someone Re-Tweets their Tweet, or Tweets about them, they get more followers, they have found.  For them the number of Followers is not as important as the quality of the Tweets and Followers.  They say that the personality reflected in Social Media becomes that of your business.

The Haas Collective consists of the coffee shop and restaurant, the Gallery, a decor and design section, and an advertising agency partnered with Draft FCB. Partnerships form the business model for Haas, and so Strictly Coffee from Robertson is the coffee partner.   The business is evolving, and their first ‘Underground Supper’ will be held in the Gallery on 29 October.

It was an amazing evening, reflecting with honesty the start-up of both Honest Chocolate and Jorgensen’s Distillery.  The passion for their businesses and brands was palpable, inspiring those present to change their spirit and chocolate brands.  Both companies have in common that they have stories behind them, making products that people fall in love with when they meet the people making them, and therefore the price of their artisanal products is less important.  Their products offer value in a recessionary economy, being anti-capitalist, ‘non-tourism bus’ type products, offering value and purity, taking one back to the days of the ‘tuisnywerheid’, it was said. They are products one can trust, as they are not mass-produced.  Both businesses will grow organically, and Social Media plays a role in achieving a slow and steady growth.

Haas Collective:  67 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-4413. www.haascollective.com @HaasCollective  @HaasCoffee

Jorgensen’s Distillery: Versailles, Wellington.  Tel (021)  864-1777.  www.jd7.co.za @PrimitivVodka

Honest Chocolate: 66 Wale Street, Cape Town. Tel 082 829 3877/082 736 3889. www.honestchocolate.co.za @HonestChoc

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club: Tel (021) 433-2100.  whalecot@iafrica.com   Facebook @FoodWineBlogClu

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

After reading about the Haas Coffee Collective on Twitter, and being impressed with how quickly it has created awareness in the two weeks that it has been open, I went to have a cappuccino yesterday.  It is a most interesting collective of coffee roastery and coffee shop (Haas Coffee Collective), as well as the Haas Design Collective, with the Haas Communication Collective ad agency upstairs, all trading under the Haas brand.  Each Haas business is to interconnect and benefit from the other.

The first wow was when the young black-hatted young man behind the counter welcomed me by name as I entered, being Kent Fourie, who was at school with my son, and moved from Ellerman House to start working at Haas.   He told me a little about Haas, and introduced me to Francois Irvine, an artist and interior designer, a partner in the Haas Collective.  Francois is in charge of the Haas Design Collective specifically.   Glynn Venter, previously a creative director at FCB Draft, is the other co-owner.   From the name, I imagined it to have a Dutch owner (perhaps thinking of chef Camil Haas of Franschhoek).   Glynn laughed when I asked him about the origin of the name, and he coyly told me that Haas is the name of his favourite soft toy bunny, which he acquired about four years ago at the Old Biscuit Mill, and which accompanies him everywhere he goes, wearing a seatbelt when driving with Glynn in the car, and having a personality all of his own.   A felt bunny is on top of an interesting wall-mounted corner unit containing the crockery that they had specially made for the coffee shop, with a fly or an ant printed on each saucer, which causes great amusement as customers try to get rid of the realistic looking insects!   I loved the bunny-shaped biscotti that was served with the cappuccino (R18).

The Haas Design Collective, with partner Vanessa Berlein, has been open for a year already, and is Francois’ collection of artworks by a variety of artists that he sells.   A few steps down is the new Haas Coffee Collective, which was created when the previous tenant vacated the space.  It has lovely weathered-looking beams, and the counter was especially designed by Francois and made from lovely wood, matching the wooden floor.   The coffee roasting machine from Germany stands in this space, as do two wooden tables and chairs.   One can sit outside at white tables and chairs too, or in the cutest nook off the Design Collective.

The 100 % arabica coffees that the Haas Coffee Collective sells and uses come from Robertson, from ‘Strictly Coffee’, owned by Rensche and Hanno Schwartz.  The company has been operating for about five years.   Rensche used to work at Distell, and was a client of Glynn’s when he worked at the ad agency.  

For their opening PR function, the coffee varieties that are sold by the Haas Coffee Collective were paired with food.    For example, Java coffee was matched with brownies; coffee from Guatemala was served with canapes containing citrus.   The coffee that has caused a stir on Twitter is Kopi Luwak, which is specially ‘processed’ by the Indonesian Luwak civet, and comes at an extreme cost of R730 for 250g, and R80 per cup, making it the most expensive coffee in the world.   Next most expensive is the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, which costs R400 for 250g, or R60 per cup.  There are eight coffees in the Haas Coffee Collective, at around R 50 – R 60 per 250g, each with a very quirky name and a different origin, and each is described as if it were a wine:

*   Return of a War Hero is a Brazilian roast, with a kola nut scent and fruit flavours

*   The Three Sisters is a blend

*   The Famous Jailbird is an Ethiopian roast, “peach and plum are the dominant fruit notes, with hints of mango”

*   The Mysterious Gentleman is a roast from Guatemala, with floral notes, a hint of chocolate, caramel and fudge

*   The Boxing Club is a Colombian coffee, with “deep red wine tones and of nuts”

*   Monday Morning Lift Club is a blend

*   The Swimming Club is decaffeinated coffee

*   The Newly Weds is a Costa Rican roast, a “coffee’s coffee”, and is ‘smooth, rich and subtly fruity’.

After only being open for two weeks, the Haas Collective is expanding to a downstairs space across the road, which will serve as an art gallery for larger works of art.  Glynn and Francois are deciding what else to add, either a design studio, or a hot desk, which will allow business persons to use space as an office away from their office, with wifi, much like Café Neo in Mouille Point.  

The Haas Communication Collective has only been open for  a few days, and has signed up its first clients already.  The upstairs space offers two rooms, one having a large lounge attached to it, which will be the meeting space with clients, and will allow them to experience the creative working space in which their ad agency will be creating their campaigns.  The Haas Communication Collective has been appointed to handle the communication of the Whisky Live Festival, and will incorporate the Haas Coffee Collective.    A coffee and brandy pairing event is planned too.  On 25 May an exciting new coffee-related project will be launched, involving “one of the world’s most well-known artists”, Glynn said. 

One can have something to snack whilst at Haas, with a small selection of treats offered.  Smoked Gypsy ham on ciabatta costs R35, while ciabatta with cheese and vegetables costs R30.  Wonderful looking muffins and croissants are also for sale.   Iced coffee is available, but does not contain ice cream.  Haas has an iced coffee maker, and one of the interesting ingredients added to ice slush is condensed milk!

The Haas Collective is brimming with ideas, and will be a space to watch as it expands its very new empire.  Commendable is its Loyalty Card, with one free coffee for every nine bought.   The coffee is good too!

POSTSCRIPT 28/5: Haas Coffee has announced the launch of its new Tretchikoffie – such a clever idea!  It also matches the TretchiCushions on its furniture.

Haas Coffee Collective, Haas Design Collective and Haas Communication Collective,  67 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-2239.   www.haascollective.com.   Twitter: @HaasCoffee  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 18h00, or until the last patrons have left,  and Saturday – Sunday 8h00 – early afternoon, or until the last patrons have left (how refreshing!).

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

I had heard about the newly opened Illyria Coffee Concepts in the recently refurbished and modernised Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch, well-positioned next door to Woolworths.   It is the most stylish coffee shop I have seen in a long time (the last contender for this accolade, Black at 15 on Orange, has closed down).   It serves a collection of stylish cakes and other sweet treats, but disappoints on the savoury side.

The coffee brand Illy dominates visually, and the decor theme is red and white.  There are beautiful white leather chairs and tables, the tables perhaps a little too low for the chairs, and the food is served with very stylish Abert cutlery, a material serviette and small Peugeot salt and pepper pots (I have also seen Peugeot at the Planet Restaurant and at Delaire Graff Restaurant).  

The cakes, muffins and cupcakes are beautifully made, and come from a supplier in Franschhoek.   I was disappointed with my baguette, filled with cheese, tomato, lettuce and cucumber, although tasty and not expensive at R29, did not match the style standard of the sweet treats served at Illyria, and was just presented on a white plate with potato chips out of a packet, which I did not eat, and defeated the choice of the healthy baguette filling.

The menu is printed on a laminated hard board.  What is clever is a number of well-priced combination offers, each including a cup of coffee/cappuccino/tea.  So, for example, a muffin, a small chocolate cupcake and a small carrot cupcake, with the beverage, costs R25; chocolate nut cake, lemon meringue and the beverage costs R45;   chocolate brownie and beverage R30; carrot cake, chocolate cake, baked cheese cake and the beverage costs R 35; and a carrot cupcake, beautiful looking Belgian white chocolate cupcake and the beverage costs R40.    Individual cake slices are charged at R27 – R35.   Salads start at R39 for a salad made with vegetables, and costs R45 if made with pasta or meat.   Sandwiches start at R29, and cost R36 when filled with meat.  A cappuccino is well-priced at R13, teas cost R11, muffins R15, and croissants cost R16 served plain, or R26 when filled with cheese and ham.  Deliveries are done to other businesses in the Eikestad Mall and surrounding area.

Illyria is owned by a family collection of brother Ramon Corie (not the friendliest restaurateur, in my experience of his Manouche, a Lebanese restaurant in the same street in Stellenbosch), sister Shaan and brother-in-law Richard Gaybba, and sister Tamsyn Pienaar.  I was impressed with the Illyria Loyalty Card which I received when paying the bill, offering a free coffee for every 10.

I was impressed with the decor, and I am sure that the new menu that is being worked on will look at improving the savoury offerings and presentation.  It is a very comfortable modern place to relax in, and well airconditioned for the Boland heat.

Illyria Coffee Concepts, upstairs, Eikestad Mall, Andringa Street, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 886-8522.  No website.  Open Monday – Friday 8h30 – 18h00, Saturday – Sunday 8h30 – 14h00.

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

I had seen the cutest looking small coffee shop next door to 6 Spin Street restaurant on a number of occasions, but had never got to visit it.   A recent opportunity presented itself to do a day-time visit to Bread Milk and Honey, which serves lots of bread in the form of sandwiches, and little milk and honey.

The historic building exterior is cuter than its interior, which is a deep narrow space with tables closest to the street and right at the end of the restaurant.  It has a red-and-white striped back wall, one large food poster, a massive blackboard with the menu written on it, an old undated photograph of Church Square with horse wagons, a functional pinewood serving counter, and a very patchy looking cement floor that has lost a lot of its paint covering.  The coffee shop has been open for 4 years, and belongs to Michael Knipe.

It clearly is a popular place, for businesspersons working in the area, Parliamentarians and their staff, and anyone involved with the magistrate’s court close by.  It is also an extremely noisy space, the coffee machine working overtime, and because of the buzz coming from it being full.   Parking is a severe restriction for the Spin Street businesses.

The ordinary laminated menu lists Breakfast options such as bacon toasties (R24), eggs (I had a very ordinary scrambled egg) served with two thinly-sliced delicious seed bread slices of toast (R22); oats (R16); oats with fruit, almonds and honey (R25), banana muesli; healthy muesli, with fresh fruit, honey and yogurt (R30); a ‘deluxe brekkie nibble”, being toast topped with rocket, Gypsy ham, poached egg, brie and wholegrain mustard; and uitsmeijter croissant”, containing gypsy ham, scrambled egg and grilled cheddar.  One can also order sandwiches (R26 for mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto – R42 for a Deluxe Club smoked chicken.   Toasties cost R 24 – R28.  A beautiful display of unusual muffins is sold at R12, as is scones, slices of cakes, and a most interesting-looking bacon and egg pastry puff.  A large selection of ready-made rye-bread sandwiches to take away clearly is popular.  A cappuccino costs R15, and a “Big Daddy” one is available at R23, being a ‘quadruple shot” 500 ml one.

For lunch one can help oneself to a Melissa-style self-service buffet, weighed and charged at R12 for 100 gram.  When I was there two days ago, they were serving Thai chicken curry, spinach lasagne and feta, roasted vegetables, sprout salad, raw vegetables and noodles, and Oriental raw vegetable and rice salad.  Cutlery is cheap and cheerful.  Service is extremely slow and reactive, and most customers seem to go to the counter to find some! 

Bread, Milk and Honey, 10 Spin Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 461-8425.  No website.  Twitter: @BreadMilkHoney Open Monday – Friday    6h30 – 16h00. 

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

The new M-Net TV series “League of Glory’, which was written by scriptwriter Bruce Young and directed by respected filmmaker Darrel Roodt, will be a marketing boost for the university and wine town Stellenbosch.   The first of 13 episodes will be flighted today at 19h30.

The series tells the story of three young men Jonathan Grant (Charlie Keegan), Luke Jantjies (Marvin-Lee Beukes) and Kaiser Sigcau (Siv Ngesi), from different walks of life, who all love soccer, and share the goal of “glory through soccer”.   The three soccer fans play for a township soccer club and are assigned an ex-Bafana Bafana player as a coach to train them for a soccer competition.     The coach plays an important role in the lives of the soccer players.  The series tells the story of how the three stars triumph over adversity, and how each of them face their fears.   The series is a familiar drama with a modern twist, according to Roodt, with a strong emphasis on the world’s most popular sport, being soccer.   The series coincides with the World Cup.

Nook Eatery on Van Reyneveld Street in Stellenbosch, a favourite coffee shop and eatery, was lucky to be selected by the series producers as a location for some of the action.  Co-owner Luke Grant said he and his partner Jessie, the delectable chef of the restaurant, were happy to be involved and helped out with the shoot.   Multiple scenes were shot at Nook.   Stellenbosch’s beauty is captured in the series, and a wine farm is the location for the home of the parents of Jonathan Grant in the series.

FIFA’s strict rules, forbidding ambush marketing, meant that some scenes had to be re-shot when it was discovered that a FIFA soccer ball was used in some of the shots for the series.  This affected Nook too.   “Upon reviewing Fifa’s regulations around licensing for the World Cup during this time, M-Net and Waterfront Television realised that showing the scenes with the official Fifa ball would be against the regulations” said M-Net, according to the Cape Times.  About 9 minutes of the drama had to be re-shot, and thus delayed the start date of the series by a week, to today.

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

Crust Cafe’ is a new-ish no-nonsense coffee shop, take-away and food delivery service operating in the Cape Town city centre, just off Buitensingel on Bree Street.   Its name is catchy and the clean white-painted tables and benches outside, with umbrellas, attract attention as one drives past.   It has a good selection of breakfast and lunch options, at extremely low prices.

Crust Cafe’s all-day breakfast options include fresh fruit salad at R 20, and R 25 if muesli and yogurt are added.   Oats and banana cost R 24.   A full English breakfast with all the bells and whistles (sausages, bacon, tomato and toast) costs R 33, an omelette with a choice of two fillings costs R 30, and if you want it plain, eggs on toast cost R 20.

For lunch or in-between snacks, toasted sandwiches are available (ranging between R 18 – R 22); gourmet sandwiches on ciabatta, rye or rolls range from R 28 for ham and salad or smoked chicken and avocado, to R R 32 for roast chicken.   Wraps cost R 34, and two combinations are offered.   Two salads and a soup of the day are also available.   A 100 % pure organic coffee by TRiBeCa is sold in packets of beans, or in a variety of prepared coffee styles.

Hot meals served include chicken and beef burgers (R 28 – R 35), hot dogs (R 16 – R 23), and chips.   Every day they offer a different special meal of the day – on 11 March this was lasagne and salad at R 35, beef curry and rice at R 32, and cream of celery soup and a roll at R 20.  One can barely prepare a meal at home at such a low cost.  All food is prepared fresh every day.  Should any food be left over, it is disposed of at the end of the day. 

What makes Crust Cafe’ attractive is its delivery service to office blocks nearby, even for breakfasts.   I observed businesspersons coming in to Crust Cafe’, to collect a quick bite to eat, probably to take back to the office. 

Phil and Andrew opened Crust Cafe’ six months ago, two British Capetonians who have settled here because they love the climate and the people of Cape Town.   They are absolutely hands-on owners.

Crust Cafe’, 243 Bree Street, corner Buitensingel Street, tel 021 422 2222, www.crust.co.za (still under construction).  Mondays – Fridays, 7h30 – 15h30.

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

The Rhubarb Room is the cutest decor/coffee shop hidden away on Upper Buitengracht Street in Bo-Kaap.  It attracted attention again, after previous visits, when its logo was spotted on the @2oceansvibe blog, listed as one of the sponsorship logos ”Seth Rotherham”, the blog owner who uses this pseudonym (his real name is Will Mellor), lists on his blog.  Mellor is the “king” of bloggers, and has a large following, both on his blog and on Twitter.   A @2oceansvibe sponsorship can be worth gold, given the top brands that are listed as sponsors, their fees affording Mellor to enjoy a lifestyle without work, mainly hanging out in Camps Bay in general, and at Caprice in particular.

I asked Lauren Marshall, the Rhubarb Room co-owner, how she got to get her brand on the @2oceansvibe website.   She appears to have a trade-exchange deal with Mellor, resulting from her boyfriend, Jason Slinger, being a friend of Mellor.  Slinger negotiated the use of the penthouse in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel for Mellor.   Lauren sounds chuffed about the news of her branding on the illustrious website.   She admits that she has not yet embraced social media marketing, and Twitter in particular, and she is given a shorthand course and a set of notes!

The Rhubarb Room has more than half of its space dedicated to a decor shop, as well as a clothes shop in a separate room.   One feels at home immediately, sitting in the shop, or on the terrace looking on to Table Mountain, at non-matching eclectic tables and chairs, adding to the charm.   The far wall has a rhubarb-and-white stripe painted pattern, which is the only evidence of the name.  I asked co-owner Sone’ Jacobs how their name came about, and she explained that the building exterior was the colour of rhubarb originally, when Lauren and her mother Maureen Marshall first used the building as an interior decor shop.  The building has since been painted a brown colour.

The menu is so informal that it is not on paper.  Lauren tells you the options as far as salads and sandwiches go for lunch, as well as a selection of cakes, some of which come from Jardines, she admits.   The coffee is Illy, and the cappuccinos are excellent.   Lauren types up the menu so that I can take a copy with me.   She says that the menu changes daily.    For breakfast one can have fresh fruit and muesli at R 32, a fresh fruit smoothie at R 18, or muffins.   Sandwiches cost R 38, and a choice of Gypsy ham, cheddar cheese and onion marmalade; and roast chicken, rocket and parmesan is offered, while salads cost R 45 for two choices: parma ham, nectarine and parmesan; and roast chicken, feta, red pepper and rocket (the salad was served with balsamic vinegar, and the olive oil was optional – I would have preferred it the other way around) – yet was very tasty.  Cakes include fresh blueberry and coconut; baby chocolate cakes with pistachio chocolate icing; and apple slices, all costing R 20.

Lauren’s mother Maureen and I connect, around having a dentist (Dr Toni Bedford) in common, and knowing two persons who have just passed away.  When I left it felt as if I had spent the whole afternoon at the Rhubarb Room and not just an hour, and really enjoyed the friendliness and the connections.

Rhubarb Room, 142 Buitengracht Street (i.e. Upper Buitengracht Street), Bo-Kaap, tel 021 424 2004, www.rhubarbroom.co.za.  Open Mondays to Fridays from 9h00 – 17h00, and on Saturdays from 9h00 – 14h00.

POSTSCRIPT 3/5: The Rhubarb Room has moved to a new venue, at 227 Bree Street, in a new smaller but lighter and brighter space.

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

Vida e Caffe is set to open its first two London stores, its magazine Obrigado reports.  

The hotshot coffee shop with a Portugese touch and distinctive red branding, has spread in major cities, and has branches in Stellenbosch, Sea Point, Willowbridge, Camps Bay, Somerset Mall, Cavendish, Claremont, the V & A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Kloof Street, Green Point, Bayside, Green Market, Black River Park, Constantia and Collosseum.    In Johannesburg the seven branches are located in Sandton, OR Thambo airport, Greenside, Rosebank, Hyde Park, Parktown North, Bedford Square and Commissioner Street.   Knysna and Bloemfontein each have a Vida, while there are three in Durban.

A joint venture is also on the cards between a Vida e Caffe and Nando’s Peri Deli in Rivonia.