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Chardonnay Deli

Chardonnay Deli
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Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
Chardonnay Deli has a back-to-basics approach to food. The blackboard menu is testament to this philosophy, with a handful of simple breakfast and lunch options, most of them utilising the bakery’s excellent breads. The roast chicken salad is hearty, comforting and incredibly tasty, with generous portions of tender meat, gorgeous seed bread croutons, toasted nuts, sprouts, and grated courgette and cabbage for texture and colour. The delicious kicker was the homemade mayonnaise dolloped in the centre. Other options on the day might include scrambled eggs and bacon, a roasted vegetable and brie sandwich, Waldorf salad, and platters of charcuterie and cheese. (The latter are bound to be good if the selection in the deli fridges is anything to go by.) We’ve also heard talk of a delicious gluten-free lasagne made with free-range and hormone-free beef mince.

For dessert, choose from the day’s bakes. On a really hot afternoon you might have the bright idea to pair a bakkie of homemade vanilla ice cream (freckled with seeds) from their freezer with a slice of lemon poppy seed cheesecake. Delicious. The deli stocks and serves top-drawer produce, including fantastic breads by award-winning baker Malik Mosia; Richard Bosman’s cured meats; charcuterie by Arno Janse van Rensburg (chef at The Kitchen @ Maison); Camphill’s ethical yoghurts and milk; Oude Raapkraal Honey; lamb from Wild Organics; Eureka Mills stoneground flour; cheese sourced by Valerie Elder at Get Stuffed; free-range chooks from Funky Chickens; and organic sprouts, fruit and vegetables.

Drinks
Glass jugs of icy water infused with cucumber, buchu and lemon line the counter inside for you to help yourself. A separate Truth coffee station with a dedicated barista keeps the aficionados happy. They don’t currently serve chardonnay, but soon they will. (While it does, of course, refer to their favourite wine varietal, the deli’s name is actually derived from the names of owner Charmaine and her husband Donovan.) Once the liquor licence is in place, the deli will offer bottles of wine and craft beer, and wine from vats. Will need to update this info for mag please?

Service
Peruse the blackboards, make your selection and then order at the counter and give your name. (Amusingly, one of my party is told Jennifer is already taken and has to choose a new moniker. We settle on Esmerelda.) The waiters are all smiles.

Ambience
An historic building on Constantia Main Road has been transformed into a country-style café and deli. It’s utterly relaxed outside at tables under the trees. The mismatched chairs and benches add loads of farm-style charm. (Bring a hat in case you don’t get a spot under an umbrella or in the dappled shade.)

And…
Inside, shelves abound with all sorts of take-home goodies, and artfully arranged baskets and crates overflow with free-range eggs, and organic fruits and veggies. Grab some beautiful proteas from the flower seller on the stoep on your way out.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Linda Scarborough

    The people 
    Equipped with a marketing and business management degree, owner Charmaine Lilje nevertheless knew her life’s passion lay in another area. She took a leap and started working for free at Olympia Café as a trainee chef, while waitressing to pay the bills. “After three months I earned the right to a salary; eight months in, Kenneth [McClarty] sent me to an interview at La Colombe under Franck Dangereux. I got the job as chef de partie and within six months was his junior sous chef.”

    When Franck and Kerry Kilpin left La Colombe to open The Foodbarn, Charmaine was acting head chef until Luke Dale-Roberts (now of The Test Kitchen) arrived, staying to work as his sous chef for almost a year.

    Charmaine opened catering business Chardonnay Chefs on 1 January 2009, and Chardonnay Deli is the natural next step. Charmaine is joined by economist-turned-baker Malik Mosia with his unusual flour blending and folding techniques; deli chef Janie Schnehage, who hails from 12 Apostles and Cassis; and the “backbone” of the business, Anne Chen.

    Food  
    Chardonnay Deli has a back-to-basics approach to food. The blackboard menu is testament to this philosophy, with a handful of simple breakfast and lunch options, most of them utilising the bakery’s excellent breads.

    The roast chicken salad is hearty, comforting and incredibly tasty, with generous portions of tender meat, gorgeous seed bread croutons, toasted nuts, sprouts, and grated courgette and cabbage for texture and colour. The delicious kicker was the homemade mayonnaise dolloped in the centre.

    Other options on the day might include scrambled eggs and bacon, a roasted vegetable and brie sandwich, Waldorf salad, and platters of charcuterie and cheese. (The latter are bound to be good if the selection in the deli fridges is anything to go by.) We’ve also heard talk of a delicious gluten-free lasagne made with free-range and hormone-free beef mince.

    For dessert, choose from the day’s bakes. On a really hot afternoon you might have the bright idea to pair a bakkie of homemade vanilla ice cream (freckled with seeds) from their freezer with a slice of lemon-poppyseed cheesecake. Delicious.

    The deli stocks and serves top-drawer produce, including fantastic breads by award-winning baker Malik Mosia; Richard Bosman’s cured meats; charcuterie by Arno Janse van Rensburg (chef at The Kitchen @ Maison); Camphill’s ethical yoghurts and milk; Oude Raapkraal Honey; lamb from Wild Organics; Eureka Mills stoneground flour; cheese sourced by Valerie Elder at Get Stuffed; free-range chooks from Funky Chickens; and organic sprouts, fruit and vegetables.

    Drinks
    Glass jugs of icy water infused with cucumber, buchu and lemon line the counter inside for you to help yourself. A separate Truth coffee station with dedicated barista keeps the aficionados happy. They don’t currently serve chardonnay, but soon they will. (While it does, of course, refer to their favourite wine varietal, the deli’s name is actually derived from the names of owner Charmaine and her husband Donovan.) Once the liquor licence is in place, the deli will offer bottles of wine and craft beer, and wine from vats.

    Service 
    Peruse the blackboards, make your selection and then order at the counter and give your name. (Amusingly, one of my party is told Jennifer is already taken and has to choose a new moniker. We settle on Esmerelda.) The waiters are all smiles.

    Ambience 
    It’s utterly relaxed outside at tables under the trees. The mismatched chairs and benches add loads of farm-style charm. (Bring a hat in case you don’t get a spot under an umbrella or in the dappled shade.) Inside, shelves abound with all sorts of take-home goodies and artfully arranged baskets and crates overflow with free-range eggs, and organic fruits and veggies. Grab some beautiful proteas from the flower seller on the stoep on your way out.

    And… 
    Charmaine promises that the menu will change daily with “unbelievably exciting” ideas once they are settled in and all the staff trained up. The farm stall will have more seating inside once the bakery has moved to the cottage; they will also be expanding their bread-baking classes and offering ready-made dinners to take home.

    (March 2015)

User reviews

  • What a delightful little place! Great spot for a coffee, breakfast, lunch, with a real farm stall and attached. I say 'little' but actually as you walk through the restaurant there is a large outside area with pretty views of lush trees, which could potentially be quite child friendly too. The service was great and the pork sausage quiche was very tasty. Bonus - free wifi with no complicated sign-up. I will be back! Next time to drink some actual chardonnay?
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  • Great space but 1. Poor, disinterested and slow service. 2. The coffee was awful - tasted burned, get a barista who knows what they're doing. Don't put flat white on the menu if you don't know the difference between that and a cappuccino! 3. Over priced menu and I could make breakfast at home that tastes better. It's not hard to get breakfast right - greasy hard bacon for an extra 20 rand wow. 4. Do you ever clean the bathrooms? Disgusting. Makes me wonder whether cleanliness in the kitchen is any better!
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  • Went to the deli yesterday with my family from Australia. As we walked in the cashier followed us as if we were going to rob the place. When I asked if the cheese was made with animal rennet , his response instead of let me go and find out was no one has ever asked that before. He then proceeded to stand between us and the cheese fridge. Although we had been looking forward to buying some South African cheeses we left as it was not a welcoming or friendly atmosphere .
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  • So I went back again, and what a great experience! sat outside, was helped immediately, and my husband and I had a really really good brunch. The health salad with apple and salami was excellent- so many different ingredients, sprouts, nuts, beetroot, eggs, apple, herbs, toasted ciabatta, the list goes on. Felt perfectly full afterwards which is rare after a salad. My husband had the meatball sandwich which he really liked. Oh and the juices- best fresh apple I've had! Afterwards we bought a whole bunch of vegetables and salad ingredients from the deli inside. So glad I decided to go back after my first experience. Would highly recommend this place, and will definitely be back :-)
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  • I wanted so badly to give you guys a good review, but alas I didn't even get to eat your food. I arrived around lunch time, and walked straight into the beautiful deli area, sampled some of the bread you had displayed which was some of the best bread I've tasted! Then I proceeded to walk outside, where there were a few tables available. I sat down and waited, and waited and waited. I decided maybe I had a better chance of some service if I sat inside, I waited and waited and waited. Couldn't even see a waiter or waitress to wave down. By this time I was way too hungry and irritable to stay, so went down the road to Raiths. I think it would be a great idea to have some sort of sign that says "wait here to be seated" so at least the waiters know you exist in the first place. Will be back to give it another go, as if the bread is anything to go by, i'm sure the food will be fantastic.
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  • A few days ago my wife, Camilla and her friend Avril popped in to your Deli at a few minutes before 4 pm to sit down at one of the tables on the new cafe zone. When they beckoned the gentleman in attendance (salmon-pink shirt) to request a meal they were informed that food service "closed at four". When Camilla pointed out that it was "not yet four" he then stated "that actually today we closed at 3.30 for renovations. Whenever else can we be expected to do this work" or words to this effect. Being quite affronted by this highly negative attitude, my wife pointed out that it would be the last time that she would be visiting said premises and would go so far as to tell all her other friends in the vicinity to do the same... She emphasised that this is a small world.... The gentleman showed absolutely no concern at this comment! At which point a (senior?) lady helper overhead the commotion and intervened to offer free beverages, in minor consolation to the insulting behaviour by the gent concerned. My wife and her friend are more than sensitive to the need to complete finishing touches to the original character of this authentic landmark but would have expected at least a signboard stating varied operating hours, and certainly not the off-hand treatment by an unnecessarily abrasive assistant who, by his actions, could not have had the interest of the enterprise of this fresh new initiative at heart. The Employer needs to know which employees actually bat on behalf of his/her enterprise, otherwise be doomed to failure....!
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  • Went to Chardonnay for breakfast. Friendly service but slow. Poor guy who served us tried very hard, but it was his second day... our misfortune. They got our cappuccinos horribly wrong, cold first time round, second time round served in shot glasses with a sorry slush for foam on side in a tiny white jug. Just not good enough. Left it. Horrible tasting coffee... change your brew, there is too much competition around you to stay with that bean. Breakfast was ok.... told no bacon, yet the table next to us had bacon served after our order was taken.. wierd! They will do better but must improve quickly.... in the mink and manure belt, cant afford to make mistakesso early in the business year. Setting is lovely. Good luck to you.
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Facilities

Stores and Markets

Owner: Chardonnay Chefs

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 7am – 6pm

Chardonnay Deli is a upmarket farm stall set in the beautiful Constantia Valley. Brought to you by the team behind the successful catering company Chardonnay Chefs, this is where you will be able to find a variety of healthy, organic and homemade products, in a relaxed, stylish venue that is steeped in history.

 

Store categories
Bakeries, Cheese and dairy products, Delis and farm stalls

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