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Culture Club Cheese

Culture Club Cheese
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Cost
R70 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bakery fare, Café fare, Deli fare, Health food, International, Mediterranean
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
For breakfast there are wonderfully decadent options like French toast, three-cheese omelettes, eggs rancheros, and croque monsieur or madame. Later on in the day you may have your work cut out trying to decide. The camembert mac and cheese is an experience, aptly described on the menu as ‘pungent, rich, gooey, woof’. Also look to the likes of bourbon-glazed pork belly, pan-seared tuna with lemon beurre blanc, and the best grilled cheese of your year.

For dinner (Thursday to Saturday) the tapas fare is generously flavoured, most of featuring a nod to cheese of some kind. The parmesan and duck pancetta croquettes arrive golden brown and oozing with umami. A sliced sirloin is beautifully cooked, served with a sweetish and tangy tomato chutney and creamy labneh. You might also opt for cheddar-and-mushroom risotto balls, tuna ceviche with chilli and lime, or baked truffle camembert with pear-and-citrus salad.

However, for any meal of the day, you have to order the cheese board. This is not the pedestrian platter you may find elsewhere; it’s refined and elegant, packed with unusual tastes and textures. The specially made cheese crackers alone will make your palate sing. Add to that freshly baked, nutty-tasting sourdough from Woodstock Bakery, a bowl of local olives, perhaps a pickled waterblommetjie and spoon of sauerkraut, razor-thin slivers of crisp apple and a gathering of grapes. And that’s not even mentioning the star of the show, a selection of the day’s best cheeses. Gonedsa aged gouda-style cheese, High Mountain, Highfelder from Belnori, and the Ganzvlei Goucambert are some favourites. (Browse the wall of cheese for some more ideas.)

The best part is that you can buy your picks of the platter to take home afterwards, whether it’s cheese, crackers or preserves. (Once I was lucky enough to get some fragrant quince preserve made by a local tannie, and it blew my mind.)

To finish, the baked cheesecake is exemplary, topped with a bitter lemon preserve to offset its rich, immersive creaminess. Superb. The other offerings don’t shy away from attention either: wood-fired bread-and-butter pudding with berries and gruyère shavings, and a dark-chocolate ganache tart with mini banana loaf.

Drinks
A one-page list of alcoholic drinks includes some appealing boutique wine options, interesting beers and ciders, and some fine spirits. If it’s too early for booze and you’re not going to have a great Deluxe coffee, then why not try something new like locally made hopped apple juice, live fermented kefir smoothies or kombucha?

Service
The waiters are friendly enough and know a lot about the cheese on offer. Do yourself a favour and chat to owner and passionate cheese man Luke Williams for a recommendation of what to take home from the fridge.

Ambience
You can’t miss it from the street: Culture Club Cheese is a bright yellow-painted block that resembles its namesake. The small space feels best suited to daytime eating, when the ambience is bustling, cosy and welcoming, with whistling coffee machine and cheerful chattering all around. The rustic mismatched wooden chairs and tables are fun. Evenings tend to be quieter affairs.

And…
Culture Club Cheese hosts themed nights with pairings of cheese with olives, wine, honey and even mushrooms. Lookout for Fondue Fridays throughout winter. The team also offers hampers and wedding cheese cakes.

(April 2017)

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

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  • Lisa van Aswegen

    Food
    Owner Luke Williams has made it his mission to source the best cheese from around South Africa (and a few from overseas) to create a cheese emporium with heart. There's a clear passion about provenance and organic ingredients, and care has been taken to create a menu that reflects this. It's no surprise that there's cheese in every incarnation on the menu, but definitely with a refined twist – it's not all toasted cheese, although you can have that too! The dairy products are cleverly incorporated in breakfast dishes such as pancakes with whipped live yoghurt and organic honey or eggs Benedict with buffalo hollandaise.

    Lunch is ramped up a notch: think wild boar bangers with cheesy pumpkin mash, free range duck rillettes with live red sauerkraut or bourbon-glazed pork belly – all well-executed and delicious. Salads pack a punch with the tastiest halloumi I've ever eaten served with seared baby mielie, fennel and spinach. If you want to go the whole cheese hog, opt for camembert mac and cheese or raclette, melted over baby potatoes and served with pickles – gooey, delicious and very rich – best shared! Their motto is whatever falls down the stairs to the cellar is going to be fermented, so expect homemade kimchi, sauerkraut and all sorts of other veggies pickles and bottled.

    Drinks
    They offer a fantastic range of kombuchas, live kefir smoothies and probiotic shots, all with interesting flavours: try the blueberry, kale, chia, honey and banana kefir smoothie! There's a small but select wine list that suits the food well.

    Service
    Luke Williams is always on hand to walk you through the choice of cheeses available. General table service tends to lag when there's a full house.

    Ambience
    The bold yellow heritage building beckons cheese-lovers near and far. Grab a sought-after seat on the pavement to watch Bree Street's goings-on. Inside, a few mismatched tables and chairs offer a vintage feel. The vast cheese fridge and shelves packed with goodies to take home add that perfect touch to your cheese plate add to the appeal.

    And…
    They can make you a perfect wedding cheese cake – a stacked gourmet delight of local and imported cheeses.

    (September 2016)

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

  • Katharine Jacobs

    Food

    First, I tuck into a toastie made with unpasteurised Myst Hill cheddar, which comes with a selection of toppings (I opt for walnuts, caramelised onions and apple butter). The toastie arrives golden brown with a fresh little salad of rocket leaves in a mustard dressing. It’s nicely crispy on the outside and the caramelised onions are tasty, with the walnuts and apple butter coming through a bit more subtly. The cheese isn’t as melted as you might expect – Luke explains that over-toasting tends to remove some of the flavour of the cheese – so you’ll have to request an extra-melty version if you’re after that stretchy-cheese experience.

    There’s also a range of sarmies, starring wondrous-sounding cheeses like Gansvlei Blue Moon, Foxenburg’s Renosterbos and De Pekelaar Boerenkaas. They’re served on sourdough from the Woodstock Bakery, but you can switch it out for rye if you’re dodging wheat. There are also savoury banting biscuits made with almond flour, paprika and cheese, which can be ordered with a cheese board.

    I also try a pea and mint risotto, which is perfectly cooked and amply flavoured with a nutty Boerenkaas and (optional) bacon from Cape Mountain.

    There are also some less cheesy options such as salads and soups that star the cheesery’s other specialities: sauerkraut, yoghurts, free-range meat, duck liver pâté, sausages and eggs.

    Breakfast is served until 11.30am and includes poached seasonal fruit with farmhouse free-range yoghurt, and a hot banting breakfast made with gluten-free Toulouse sausage, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and ‘extremely’ free-range eggs.

    Save space at the end for a gluten- and sugar-free almond flour cookie (there’s no hardship in skipping gluten when there’s almond flour to be had) or a glorious chocolate brownie with a seam of melting rich dark chocolate from local bean-to-bar chocolate makers, Cocoa Fair.

    The menu, says Luke, will continually evolve, and he hints that items like baked camembert, raclette and tartiflette may soon be on offer. (Rest assured, we will be back to investigate!)

    Drinks

    When the liquor licence comes through, cheese and wine, whisky and beer tastings are on the cards, but for now, try a well-made cup of Deluxe coffee, a juice by Juicebox (in interesting flavours like quince) or the home-brewed kvash, a naturally sparkling fermented drink made with carrot and ginger. There’s also coconut water and a live green tea kombucha, and you can even buy kombucha scoby – the mother culture for kombucha – if you’re interested in making your own.

    Ambience

    A glorious yellow exterior announces that you’ve arrived at Bree Street’s cheese HQ. Grab one of the tables outside, or sit inside the white, bright space, with its cheese fridges displaying everything from Langbaken’s Karoo Ash and Belnori brine-ripened cheese to Buffalo Ridge’s gloriously thick water buffalo yoghurt and Myst Hill Farm’s herb butter.

    Service

    Service is friendly and knowledgeable. Co-owner Luke Williams learnt his trade at Nottingham School of Artisan Food and spent four years as a cheese monger in London’s La Fromagerie, before relocating to SA, working at Fairview, and travelling the country to develop local cheese-making. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about his trade, and will guide you through the vast array of local and international cheeses in the fridges, enquiring about your preference for ashed or non-ashed, goaty or not-so-goaty cheese, and offering you tasters to help you find your cheesy soulmate.

    (May 2015)

User reviews

  • I had a splendid lunch here with friends on Saturday. The ambience inside was very vibrant, and the service was friendly and efficient. (What a treat to get jugs of water and glasses for the table without asking!) After ordering from the small but good selection of wine (they have Vondeling Babiana by the bottle, one of my favourites), we shared a cheese board for the table, which arrived with all kinds of interesting condiments – chakalaka, cumin sauerkraut, pickled waterblommetjie, beetroot kimchi – plus crackers and bread. The portions of cheeses don't look very big, but when is there ever enough cheese? (Never.) Luke came by to tell us about each of them, and they did go further than expected with all of us picking at them, spreading and breaking off crumbly pieces. Each of us ordered meals, too: oozy mac 'n cheese, insanely tasty sandwiches with mature cheddar, caramelised onion, apple butter and walnuts, and mushroom risotto with generous shavings of parmesan. After tasting these wares we stopped by the cheese counter on the way out, and Luke sliced and wrapped everything up for us to take home. We'll be back – just try to stop us!

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  • This beautiful bright yellow building will excite any cheese lovers. The menu is dotted with old classic with wonderful twists, I had a grilled cheese with aged cheddar, caramelised onions and walnuts.....delicious, buttery, decadent. Just perfect washed down with their great coffee! I can't wait to go back for a croque monsieur and the raclette. Their little outside area is great for a saturday morning breakfast in the sun. After breakfast go inside and chat to the extremely knowledgable owner, Luke, and he'll guide you through his well stocked fridge of magic. Cheese upon cheese upon cheese. Amazing produce, local and imported. I can't see myself buying cheese from anywhere else!
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  • I've been here at least 5 times in the last couple of months; for breakfast, First Thursdays dinner and mid-afternoon smoothies. Service from ever-present owner Luke and staff is unfailingly warm, knowledgeable and accommodating. Meals are generally quite nice, however it's the core products which shine - definitely go for the cheese board, or a kefir smoothie. Luke frequently announces one-off specials and new products on his Instagram account (@lukecultureclub) which is well-worth a follow.
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  • Excellent ... fabulous menu selection and service. Generous portions, well presented and absolutely delicious. The cheese selection is amaizzzzzzing and definitely worth visiting if you're looking for a special cheese. We will definitely be back ... GO!!!!!
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  • Cheese, glorious cheese, and local and boutiqey and ethical at source to boot. What more could you ask for? We can now bypass all the fancy imported cheeses (think of the airmiles people!!) and eat some local-is-lekker kaas. The man in charge speaks fluent cheese, a "lively one" he says, or "perky"... what fun! Do. Go. Tatse some of our country's fine cheeses and support this lovely young couple who are doing so much for the locavores and cheese addicts!
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Menu

Set menu - whole_menu - Updated June 2017  

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Breakfast
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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