If their Instagram feed is anything to go by, this Strand eatery is a paradise of wholesome hearty meals, beautiful blooms and glorious cakes (rooibos infused sweet potato cake or honeycomb cheesecake anyone?) Ingrid Jones heads to Pajamas and Jam to find out why many people think of this Strand eatery as their happy place.
It’s all down to the great breakfasts and lunches, freshly baked breads and cakes, home made preserves, barrista-produced coffee and free Wifi. You come for breakfast, switch on your laptop and by the time you’ve read your e-mails, you’re just in time for lunch. Double-whammy. The portions are generous, the presentation and plating bang on trend. The menu changes daily, so there’s a scrumptious surprise everyday. For breakfast you can order anything from Eggs Benedict, a personal favourite, or a sandwich stacked with beetroot, Camembert, onion marmalade and beef, to a creamy spinach and mozzarella-filled omelette served with toasted garlic and cheese. Or how about poached eggs with bacon, sour cream and pesto? They have the stacking routine and the layering of flavours down to a fine art.
Lunch includes old school favourites like bobotie. (Incidentally, bobotie also pops up on the breakfast menu, where it’s served as a pattie on bread with bacon, Camembert, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.) Back to lunch, the chef knows how to prepare a proper, traditional bobotie, complete with coconut cream and almonds, and then there’s also corn soup with chilli to chase the winter woes away. And you can’t leave before you’ve tried the Lindt hot chocolate, or maybe just one of those double chocolate brownies. If by now your Banting blood is boiling, the Banting beef lasagna or Banting burger served with an interesting green salad that contains clementine segments, will do nicely.
No wines here, but the freshly squeezed juice comes in refreshing flavour combinations like celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger; also there’s buchu and rose geranium cordial and an excellent coffee and tea selection.
The bistro is situated in an industrial area, so over and above the very, very loyal patrons who come every day, there’s always space if you get there early. The waiters are friendly people from the surrounding area, well informed about the daily specials and menu changes, but also open to suggestions about different combinations. The owners are on site, but unobtrusively so, as they also have an antique shop and clothing line that needs attention while you quaff away. It’s precisely because of the good service that it has its cult following.
It’s a happy place where you go for the food, and the browsing in the antique shop that surrounds the tables and chairs where you sit down. You’re surrounded by a Martha Steward-inspired décor and presentation. The tables are draped in country-style checked cloths while the cakes and preserves are displayed in a manner that will make you want to buy the entire selection. Referencing the industrial area, there’s an old helicopter dangling from the roof. Ample parking ensures you can while away a whole day here.
The Banting and vegetarian options are winners, and the fact that you can buy an antique on the one side and browse a fashion rail on the other, makes for an interesting eating experience. It appeals to all the senses.
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