Swan Café is Cape Town’s first-ever standalone Parisian-themed crêperie. The quaint little spot, which opened this month and is situated on the corner of Buitenkant and Barrack Street, serves paper-thin sweet crêpes (or pancakes) and galettes (gluten-free crêpes made with buckwheat flour). Zola Nene went to have a taste.
Cost: R65 average main meal
Parking: Street parking available
Best for: A relaxed breakfast or lunch with speciality teas
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Ambience: 5; Service: 5
The menu is divided into two sections: savoury galettes and a selection of sweet crêpes with a variety of classic and speciality toppings. The savoury selection includes a breakfast galette that contains bacon, eggs and tomatoes; a croque monsieur; and one with a chicken and creamy mushroom filling. The Swan speciality galettes include one with truffled cauliflower; a goat’s cheese and caramelised apple one; and a blue cheese, pear and prosciutto one.
The sweet selection begins with the classic cinnamon sugar and lemon, the ever-popular Nutella, and a crêpe filled with homemade salted caramel. The speciality crêpes include combinations with orange sauce and thyme, berries with lemon curd, and red wine-poached pears with dark chocolate ganache.
Swan Café specialises in teas and has a selection of its own specially blended teas on offer with quirky names such as ‘Christmas in July’ and ‘French kiss’. The teas are served on a tray, which arrives laden with a beautiful tea pot, a tea timer (so that you brew your tea for just the right amount of time) and beautiful tea leaves. There’s also coffee available on the menu, one option being iced coffee. This is served with a jug of homemade sugar syrup to sweeten it to your liking, which is a lovely added touch. Other beverages include trendy turmeric or beetroot flat whites. (Have with almond milk for an additional R10.)
The restaurant is beautifully decorated and has a blue-and-white colour palette with an open-plan kitchen. On the walls are large murals depicting stories and tales about swans. Hanging overhead are beautiful copper birdcage light fixtures. The tables are simply laid with blue-and-white tea tins that house the cutlery and serviettes. A soft hum of French music plays under the murmur of patron chatter.
On arrival you’re greeted with a friendly “Bonjour”, setting the scene for the French-style crêpe experience that awaits. The service staff is dressed in blue aprons and striped T-shirts as well as red scarves, which adds to the French ambience. Service is attentive and efficient. It’s facilitated by the owners, who are constantly present and keen for feedback.
The speciality teas on the menu are all available for purchase to take home in the beautiful blue-and-white tins.
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