In the mornings, egg and chorizo tartlets and bacon croissants sell like hotcakes, while a steady queue of Bree Street locals hums around the hatch in search of their potent artisan coffee, which comes in double shot as standard. The bakers are busy from the early hours of the morning, preparing the spectacular breads and pastries that form the basis of the other dishes.
Later in the day, a range of sandwiches (from R45 to R65) make for great working lunches: The Greek, with its slow-roasted lamb and toppings of hummus and tzatziki, is a winning option, as is The Sushi with smoked Norwegian salmon, wasabi mayo and pickled ginger. Ingredients are carefully sourced and lovingly prepped – think Buffalo Ridge mozzarella, Chalmar beef and Dalewood cheese. These are not your average lunchbox sarmies.
If it’s on the specials menu, go for the Chalmar beef burger. A superbly moist and flavoursome patty, cheese oozing into the toasted brioche bun, crunchy and sweet fried onions, and a fresh cucumber side salad with a sweet poppy seed dressing make for a pretty mind-blowing burger. Another highlight on the specials menu is the duck stir fry. Soft, juicy pieces of duck are accompanied by egg noodles, cashew nuts, bright green edamame beans and chunks of fresh pineapple with a spicy lemony dressing. The mix of fresh, spicy Asian flavours makes for a fantastic lunch.
But if you need another option that makes use their excellent baked goods, opt for the prego steak, with its homemade peri-peri dressing. For afters, the chocolate brownies are gloriously gooey and loaded with chunks of melted white chocolate, and the baked cheesecake is also highly recommended – if you can grab a slice before it sells out, that is.
Aside from the kickass coffee, there’s a fresh fruit and veggie juice of the day, and a range of herbal teas. A brief blackboard menu labelled ‘Puza’ sums up the alcoholic options: craft beer from &Union and Devil’s Peak; Graham Beck bubbly; honest-to-goodness champagne; and a red (Alphabetical blend) and white (Teddy Hall Jan Blanx Super White) wine option available either by the glass or bottle.
Service is swift and accommodating, from a young and trendy bunch.
Although this is hipster grand central, crowded with loads of bearded and behatted creatives, the vibe is friendly and welcoming to all and sundry. You can grab a quick meal or coffee at some of the outside standing tables (there are a few benches as well), or perch at the counter seating available indoors, with either a window-seat view of this trendy part of town, or of the very busy goings on of the coffee hatch. There’s a playlist of cool tunes, plus you’ll have the buzz of victory at managing to nab a table.
Saturday mornings herald the arrival of a limited edition doughssant – a blend of doughnut and croissant. It’s worth following Jason’s Instagram account purely for the weekly announcement.