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This hidden Joburg bakery’s pop-ups are something else

Kramerville Bakery is a somewhat hidden-away spot, but this commercial bakery, run by Alex and Eloise Windebank, is full of surprises. Alex is formerly of Michelin-starred The Sportsman and Michelin recommended The Plough, both in the UK, while Eloise was GM of the acclaimed small plates restaurant, Polpo in London. At Kramerville Bakery, the couple hosts pop-up dinners weekly, each with a new theme and energy.

Dishes from the Great Italian Roast evening. Photo by Robyn Davie Photography.

Now, the couple has announced plans to open an official fine dining restaurant in early 2018. But before the current location shutters, there are still some unmissable pop-ups to try. (Tickets for the remaining pop-ups are available on their website.) Marie-Lais Emond reviews.

Serves: Three courses of excellent, locally sourced food
Best for: An adventurous dinner
Cost: Set cost varies
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 4

Food

A pasta dish from the Great Italian evening. Photo by Robyn Davie Photography.

Expect to get far more in each dish than mentioned on the menu. For the North African Roast evening, the first course was a succession of middle eastern and north African ‘meze’ – each one a delight. The date-and-lamb filling of the pastry-cigar rolls incited a wow, and the crisp broad bean felafels were equally beautifully made. The homemade sweet turnip-and-beetroot pickle and homemade labneh, dusted with sumac, caused huge respect for the kitchen. Since the dukkah and the flatbreads are all made here too, they tasted even more scrumptious than usual.

Whole sections of chickens roasted in harissa weren’t too spicy, and arrived in the cosy ambience of home-preserved lemon, calmly spiced chickpeas, yummy crispy-edged cauliflower, sweetly spiced caramelised carrots and herby couscous with apricots. Each intrinsic element could grace a fine dining plate and, even more so, palate.

The same was true of the dessert plates, where pistachio cake and a yoghurt sorbet arrived with spiced peaches.

Drinks

This unlicensed spot encourages you to bring your own alcohol. They also provide complimentary welcome cocktails and a limited amount of wine or soft drinks.

Cake portions ready for service. Photo by Robyn Davie Photography.

Service

Eloise has only one helper, so there’s lots of passing things along, but it makes for plenty of merriness and fun.

Service is friendly and suits the informal mood. Photo by Robyn Davie Photography.

Ambience

It’s a brick-walled room with long tables, where guests sit communally. What this spot is really about is the conviviality of the location and the patrons, some of whom are regulars and come with a large group. The dining room itself is upstairs from an industrial lot. Part of the joy is the surprise when you realise you’ve arrived. The place is fully abuzz with excitement.

And…

On the last Saturday of the month you can expect perfect sugar-coated, soft doughnuts. They’re very generously filled with the finest homemade vanilla or chocolate custard, which squelches out dreamily. They could also come literally jam-packed with Kramerville Bakery’s own homemade apricot preserve.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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