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Review: Country charm at Café Bloom in Nottingham Road

Café Bloom has settled into its new premises in Nottingham Road, and continues to wow visitors and attract locals with its charming setting and easy-to-love country fare.

Fast facts

Serves: Casual bites in an unfussy, country style
Cost: Light meals are R40–R60
Best for: A leisurely breakfast or lunch
Star rating: Food 5, service 4, ambience 5

Breakfasts are a real occasion at Cafe Bloom. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Breakfasts are a real occasion at Cafe Bloom. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Food

The neat, short menu honours the selection of fresh, delicious and carefully but simply prepared items on offer. If you don’t opt for the wholesome-sounding muesli with honey and yoghurt to start the day, your remaining breakfast options all feature the bread made on site, each nutty slice of which will be toasted and spread with butter, playing the crunch off against the chewy interior. The lightest and fluffiest scrambled eggs on toast can be paired with a gently spiced tomato sauce with beans and chickpeas, mild white cheddar or spinach from the garden. Else, you might choose toast with anchovette and sliced tomato, homemade preserves, or the Florentine option, which comes with one or two eggs flawlessly poached to your liking, herb mayo, blue cheese, creamed spinach and a tangy Hollandaise. It’s rich and perfectly portioned and tasty. There might be hot-smoked trout on offer, too. Ask about the specials.

The harvest table is perennially popular. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

The harvest table is perennially popular. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

For lunch, there’s a popular harvest table, which is offered on a weigh-and-pay basis. On the day we visit, there are aubergines topped with pink chunks of salmon, roasted butternut rounds generously piled with mashed avo, a quiche, a few salads and mostly vegetarian options. The superlative Café Bloom wholewheat bread is on offer again for afternoon sarmies, all of which come with home-made tomato-and-onion marmalade, which you can also buy to take home. Toppings include local smoked chicken and mayo, simple cheese and tomato, or The Works, which includes cheese, tomato, olives, pesto and caramelised onions.

For a sweet treat, peruse the wooden display cabinet of options, which might include baked cheesecake, brownies, lemon polenta cake, or little chocolate tarts topped with lilac flowers. The freshly baked scones are immensely satisfying, arriving warm and fragrant with strawberry preserve and cream. It would have been lovely to have some fresh farm butter instead of disposable foil squares, though.

Drinks

Freshly squeezed carrot, apple and ginger will kickstart your appetite; otherwise opt for the usual hot drinks (tea, Milo, cappuccino, hot choc) and some interesting options like the drip filter coffee or the chai (not powdered, the menu insists, but made with real spices). Kids will love the milkshakes.

Freshly squeezed juice at Cafe Bloom. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Freshly squeezed juice at Cafe Bloom. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Service

Staff are easygoing, friendly and knowledgeable, and dishes and drinks arrive timeously.

The new space has a lovely, farm kitchen feel. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

The new space has a lovely, farm kitchen feel. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Ambience

Squashy armchairs and farm-style wooden tables make Cafe Bloom feel homey and oh-so comfortable. Each table sports its own succulent in a hand-made pot of sea green or blue. Bowls of seasonal fruit dotted around – citrus and avos when we visit – provide colour and interest. In the winter you might want to snuggle up on the low couches near the crackling hearth; as it warms up, the courtyard in the back offers a sheltered space filled with succulents, and the thyme, sage, spinach and edible blossoms growing in boxes that eventually make their way into your meal. Umbrellas keep you shaded from the warm sun. You might even spot a local farmer coming to collect buckets of scraps for his pigs.

And…

The co-owner, Michael Haigh, is a renowned ceramicist. Your meals will be presented on his lovely wares, and you can buy some of your own – whether more decorative or practical – to take home as a memento.

The sun-bathed outside area. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

The sun-bathed outside area. Photo by Linda Scarborough.

Have you been to Café Bloom? Write a review now to put them in the running for the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries. 

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.  

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