Venues

Café Bloom

Café Bloom
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Cost
R85 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Bakery fare, Health food, Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
Cafe 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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

(July 2017)

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

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  • Shirley Berko

    Food
    Acclaimed ceramicist Michael Haigh brings his creativity to the plate with a variety of healthful, home-grown and wholesome produce cooked and prepared in a casual, delicious and unfussy manner. The lunchtime harvest table attracts a full house on weekends, guests seated and salivating in anticipation. Barring some smoked trout and salmon incorporated into a few dishes, the offering is mainly vegetarian.

    Mushy blanched fresh peas whipped into cream cheese and piled on smoky roast aubergine, roasted mushrooms with hummus, succulent fish cakes, bejewelled bean salads, quiches, flaky savoury tarts, and crispy spinach spring rolls are the type of foods you can expect to find on that table. And it’s not limited to just that.

    The breakfasts are excellent. Free range eggs, scrambled into a fluffy flaxen cloud, poached eggs atop a smoked trout fillet, dressing the fish with a sunshine of glorious yellow yolk, freshly baked bread and other such items make for a fantastic way to start the day. And then sit there until lunch!

    Drinks
    Café Bloom pours Truth Coffee and regular soft drinks, teas and juices are available. In summer, swig a bottle of Sarah Haigh’s Chilled Owl Cold Brew Coffee, native to Café Bloom and brewed and chilled on the premises.

    Service
    Service is very friendly and welcoming. Staff are helpful and informed.

    Ambience
    The venue opens out onto a verandah, surrounded by a beautiful garden. There’s a large fountain outside, and chairs and tables are scattered beneath arches of bougainvillea vines. A beautiful hidden gem in KZN.

    And...
    Ceramic and art by the talented husband and wife team, Michael and Sarah, is available for purchase at their restaurant.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • Lynda Ingham-Brown

    Food
    The focus here is on fresh and wholesome food, and it certainly shows on the plate. Most of the produce used is grown in the veggie garden on site or at the owners’ home using heirloom and organic saved seeds. Breakfasts feature wholewheat bread that is freshly baked every day served with the likes of creamy scrambled eggs and herbs, eggs Florentine, anchovette, sliced tomato and herbs, or with home-made preserves. There’s also muesli with honey yoghurt and a daily special featuring locally sourced hot-smoked trout. Lunch is a real treat: a harvest table groans with delectable wholesome seasonal salads sold by weight. There are also toasted sandwiches with fillings including “The Works” – cheese, tomato, olives, pesto, caramelised onion and herbs – on offer, which are served with the house-made tomato and onion marmalade that’s also available to buy. The bakes are also extremely popular – take your picks from scones, muffins, cheesecake or chocolate brownies and enjoy with the excellent coffee or a chai latte made using real spices and tea.

    Drinks
    The usual hot drinks make way in warmer weather for refreshing milkshakes, freshly pressed juices or water from the underground spring on the property. There is also a small selection of wine and beer.

    Service
    Friendly and welcoming; you’ll want to linger.

    Ambience
    Comfortable country chic, with owner Michael Haigh’s quirky ceramics on display and his wife Sally’s paintings adorning the walls. All art is for sale.

    And…
    Sit outside in the garden on a sunny day or warm yourself by the fire inside when it’s chilly.

    (August 2015)

  • Frank Chemaly

    Food 

    Expect a feast of wholesome, vibrant plates showcasing fresh ingredients just picked from the garden at this Best Country-Style Restaurant for 2014. Gourmet baking awaits, with great sandwiches created from fresh ingredients slathered over a selection of fine breads. Start your visit with a serious smoothie from a range of interesting vegetable combinations – like the beetroot, pineapple and ginger brew, for example. Allow yourself to be tempted by the home baked pies, or just stop in for a great cappuccino and cheesecake. The harvest table groans with a delightful and interesting array of salads freshly picked from the garden.

    Wine

    A limited offering, but some organics and Midlands wines (yes, they produce wine in KZN) add interest.

    Service

    Homely and comfortable in style; they get the job done. It can get very busy on weekends.

    Ambience

    This charming eatery is located in an old shed that’s been revamped. On fair days everything spills out onto the manicured garden. On a cold day, hunker around the heaters and relax in an armchair while perusing a recipe book.

    And…

    An antique shop, rug shop and gift shop add to the attraction for day-trippers.

    (August 2014)

  • Fresh, wholesome and ethically sourced food in a lovely, shabby-chic setting. Pick your own ingredients for a freshly blended drink. Wonderful personal service. Order the vegetarian harvest table lunch buffet, daily soup, lemon polenta cake, poached egg and spinach Florentine. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    They serve only breakfast and lunch, but that makes it sound overly simple. It’s not: amazing flavours and ingredients make this restaurant a favourite among locals and visitors to the Midlands. Think scones with local blue cheese and homemade strawberry jam; and platters of cheese with caramelised onions, pickled mushrooms, homemade chutneys and breads. Warms soups are served in tin cups. Simple flavours far exceed expectations.

    Wine
    A simple list, with mainly by-the-glass options. Try one of the delicious freshly squeezed juices.

    Service
    Sit back and enjoy everything that the Midlands has to offer. It’s all homemade, and the service is warm and friendly.

    Ambience
    This is a shabby-chic café with comfy couches and an amazing garden. The art is brilliant, and simplicity of the décor is what makes this very special. Picture your granny’s tea set laid out for you, with tea cosy and all. It’s a perfect place to spend Sundays.

    And...
    If you're looking for the tops chefs in the area, they're probably here. (PM, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Although a sweet, quaint restaurant tucked away in the beautiful countryside, I still find it to be a very vibey and chic place to hang out. It's the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a quiet lunch. I love it's rustic and laid back look. The owner is super friendly too. Definitely something to add onto your to-do list whilst in the Midlands (and when needing to take a break from the city for a bit).
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  • Don't deserve the hype. The buffet looked like my 4 year old niece got hold of it. We opted for the sandwiches. Tasteless and soggy. Tables and chairs were dirty as well as the cutlery / crockery. Service slow.
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  • Love Café Bloom, always make sure when we go to the Midlands that we have a relaxing meal and a far from the Maddening crowds moment. It is a serene place with wonderful people who run it, yummy simple delicious food and lovely gifts to soothe the soul. Sitting in the gardens there makes me feel like I am really somewhere special. Well done to CAFE BLOOM you deserve it.
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  • I love this little spot. It's a piece of French country-side/cafe in the Midlands. Health buffet for lunch, cooked fresh everyday. The cakes are to die for, and the atmosphere is just divine. Could sit there all day eating and reading and chatting.

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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

Stores and Markets

The selection is very small and changes from day to day. All goodies are homemade and used in the café where organic ingredients and the very best vegetarian meals are the order of the day. Snap up fruit crisps, homemade muffins, scones, quiches and bread when passing by or enjoying a meal.
Smart shopper tip: Don’t leave without the famous onion marmalade.

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