Even if the famed bacon croissants don't sink your sub, Jason Bakery is still a must-visit spot on the culinary street of Bree. Owner Jason Lilley is deeply passionate about baking and open for breakfast and lunch, offering a wide variety of savoury and sweet farinaceous treats. No matter what’s calling your name – be it a buttery Kick Ass Pie of the day; a crisp quinoa salad with orange, toasted almonds and dates; or an infamous Saturday morning doughssant – Jason is sure to have the baked good to hit the proverbial spot.
For brekkie try the Challah French toast with roasted apple and mascarpone vanilla crème – a sinfully sweet start to the day – and for lunch go for the Killer Grilled Cheese with Colby cheddar and Boerenkaas. It’s toastie heaven! The Cuban with pulled pork, emmental, hickory ham and gherkins is perfect for the glutton in all of us and, on the sweet side of life, the lip-smacking triumphs like the carrot cake cheesecake and the creamily caramelised pasteis de nata are testaments to Jason Bakery’s fan following and the reason why we don’t mind queuing around the block for our next hit of confectionary bliss.
Ths is an ideal place for a smash-and-grab takeaway coffee and croissant – the brew at Jason is uber popular and the flat whites are churned out fast! A wide selection of teas and fresh juices are also available alongside a humble wine menu but, really, what Captain Bread (owner Jason Lily’s nickname) most wants you to do is feast on a sourdough Reuben with a craft beer in hand and truly get into the down-to-earth spirit of things.
Service at Jason’s is great – they are consistent and attentive despite the oftentimes overcrowded floor area and mass influx of customers joining in the bun-fight!
The space itself is a cool, contemporary corner shop clad in wood with simple yet modern furnishings. There is limited inside seating but ample outside space for those glorious sunny days or crisp mornings. Beware, it’s a tug of war on Saturday mornings with people in a craze for the doughssant but, even with the chaos, you can’t help but somehow enjoy getting lost in the bustling mix of Cape Town’s enthused clientele.
If getting something particular is high on your pastry list then get to Jason’s earlier rather than later as they tend to sell out fast!
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Famed for its amazing pastries, Jason on Bree is a Cape Town foodie institution. Breakfast highlights include the toasted homemade sourdough bread with a selection of toppings, such as bacon, chorizo, salmon and avocado. The delicious, flaky, buttery croissants served with seasonal jam is a must to accompany a morning cup of their superb coffee, or try one of the flavoured croissant variations which come in a variety of ever-changing flavours – the most frequently available being almond, bacon or cheese. Other notable pastries such as pain au chocolat, muffins and tarts are also made on premises, and if you enjoy a savoury taste in the morning, try the miss piggy – a cheese griller wrapped in a mustard-coated puff pastry casing; an absolute treat for any cheese lover.
Lunch offers a selection of sandwiches, but don’t expect your ordinary white bread, cheese and tomato toasties here. Think more along the lines of fillings such as pulled pork with pickled cabbage and mustard mayo combinations, all made using fresh artisan bread baked daily. The “kick-ass” pies are delicious morsels of light, crisp pastry packed full of meaty goodness. Dishes such as the coconut rice bowl with braised pork belly and crisp green vegetables offer the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
Jason Bakery is also renowned for its Saturday morning special of doughssants, a hybrid pastry cross between a croissant and a doughnut. Every Saturday they make a set number of the pastry treat, each week being different and never repeating a flavour. Some past doughssant combinations include chocolate fondant, milk tart and koeksister. Make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment.
Drinks include a selection of fresh, seasonal juices, soft drinks and a coffee menu – be warned, Jason does not serve cappuccinos so be sure to order it as a flat white.
There is a small selection of wine available on offer – a red wine blend and a dry white wine blend, both available by the glass or bottle.
The service is quick and efficient. The restaurant gets very busy, but the table turn-around is quick so it's worth it to wait (usually about 10 minutes).
Most of the seating at Jason Bakery is outside – inside there are only a few high stools – so be sure to bring a jersey or warm coat if dining early in the morning. The restaurant is busiest during weekday lunch times, so plan accordingly or get a take-away from the hatch.
The newly opened second branch in 33 Loop Street is heaven-sent for office workers.
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Drive down Bree Street on any given morning (except Sunday or Monday, when they’re closed) and you’ll see a queue of people outside this bakery, hovering in hope of getting a table. With so many places to indulge in this stretch of town, it might seem a little odd that people are prepared to wait, but Jason is the captain of all things decadent. The offering changes daily but might include broekies (the world’s most delicious brownie cookies) with a soft gooey inside and a crisp outer crust, or peanut butter chocolate chip cookies stuffed with homemade marshmallow. A croissant might be heavy with an inner core of peanut butter, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with maple syrup and a pie might be loaded with crayfish and mac and cheese. The sweet treats might be a bit much for some – but if you’re not planning to nap for the rest of the day, even the sandwiches are pretty special. The Chuck Norris is made with slow-roasted chuck from Frankie Fenner Meat Market, Colby cheese and deep-fried shallots and served on a peppered brioche roll; the Marie Brisket with Frankie Fenner brisket, coleslaw and pickles on the same, inspired form of carbohydrate.
The Deluxe coffee comes standard as a double-shot, and there are &Union beers and a small selection of wines (Alphabetical red, Teddy Hall white or Groote Post bubbles). A freshly squeezed juice might help offset the guilt you may be feeling after eating Nutella-filled doughssant holes.
Waiters do their best to seat everyone in a fair and orderly fashion – and the kitchen manages pretty well given the occasional overcrowding.
Gun-metal grey, wood, chalkboards and golden vinyl croissants, turned upwards in an irreverent, rock gesture: the décor mirrors its tattooed, Harley-riding creator. The majority of the seating is outside, with a great city view of Lion’s Head. Fitted window sheets come down on rainy days to make things slightly cosier – alternatively you can perch inside at the bar counters.
Follow @captainbreadza on Instagram for a tip-off on what he’s baking, and to find out what flavour of dough-ssant (Jason’s interpretation of the cronut) is available that Saturday. They’re also open in the evenings on First Thursdays.
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.
When I hear someone talking about a bakery, I involuntarily think of an old German bakery. A bakery that is located at the town square in a small village behind the seven mountains in the homelands of the seven dwarfs, covered in snow. I don’t imagine a cartoon bakery though, but rather one just as cosy, warm and comforting as a Czech fairy tale movie that they used to shoot in eastern Europe back in the 50s. Those that I used to watch as a child with a hot chocolate on a Sunday afternoon on the couch and it’s snowing outside and where the world is stilling in order. Does any of you know the German fairy tale about the troublemakers “Max and Moritz” that got caught in a bakery and were cooked into bread for their mischief? That’s exactly how I imagine a banking-house.
But I am not in Germany anymore, we are living in rather futuristic circumstances and I don’t live behind the seven mountains. I live just behind between Lions Head and Table Mountain! Although the world has changed, my imagination which restores most of my memories from childhood has not.
Be that as it may. It is about time to introduce you to a new food spot in Cape Town. A food spot that I can’t leave unmentioned when I am talking about “Sharing one Food Philosophy” in Cape Town.
I have to admit, I was kinda honoured to meet self-taught captain bread, Jason himself, for a chat a couple of weeks ago.
I watched him talking excited about his home-made sour dough and about its carefully selected ingredients. I was smiling by myself, looking at him and was thinking that it is kind of interesting when people live more than 6000 miles apart from each other but have so much in common. I can’t help telling you who Jason reminded me of. As a teenager, I used to work in a tiny sneaker-shop in Frankfurt. He reminded me so much of my Ex-boss “Pomo”, a German Ex-Hooligan, full with tattoos – super tough from the outside but with sparkling eyes when talking about what he loves most. Pomo loves old-school sneakers just as Jason loves baking bread for him and others.
And the funny thing is that they even look a like. But I know you can’t look into my head, so let me rather tell you about the food.
Jason’s Bakery offers quite a wide range of different exclusive food selections. Others might offer a lot but sacrifice on freshness or quality of the ingredients, whereas some go save, offer exclusive high quality food but keep the menu simple and small. Not at Jason’s bakery though. The menu that Jason gave me to take home with is 4 pages long and all what is offered is the real stuff – It’s what I call a decent menu that shows thought and passion and doesn’t hint at any hidden compromise. The wide range includes the local juice box, local beers, Pannier Champagne Brut selection and herbal tea, tempting egg & chorizo tartlets, amazing kick ass pies (named by Jason himself) and the freshest blueberry and apple crumple muffins. The selection of bread is not simple but classic, Brioche loaf, baguette, sourdough rye, focaccia and more. The nice thing is that although the choice of products is big for a bakery, I was not disorientated browsing through the menu. I liked it’s simple structure.
All of the products are free of preservatives. The bread is baked every day fresh, without enzymes. Jason developes the cultures himself and applies his own pre-fermentation to the dough. He uses 100% Jersey cream butter and organic flour from Swellendam.
Jason the baker runs the baking spot in Loop street, Cape Town, together as a team with his sister as the business woman. It’s funny because people often talk about how unwise it is to start a business with a family member. They never really convinced me and Jason’s bakery, Frankie Fenner or Pizza Vesuvio are living proofs that succesful family businesses can work.
I really enjoyed my breakfast at Jason’s bakery – a super nasty deluxe bacon, Emmental cheese, medium poached egg croissant and Shakshouka with fresh coriander. Shakshouka is apparently an oriental dish with eggs poached in tomato sauce and it is believed to have Tunisian origins. It reminded me a lot of a dish called Ejja, which I used to eat a lot with my Tunisian friends in Germany and during my stay in Tunisia. The Shakshouka seemed to be the more sophisticated version of the Ejja, that I used to make out of some tomato puree, harissa, cumin, egg, salt and pepper. I actually think it is the same, but I couldn’t find a proof for that. Anyway, I liked it, especially with some fresh coriander. But to be honest – nothing beats this croissant with a warm and soft poached egg and runny egg yolk!
I liked his story about the pies he is making for “The Meat Merchants”. They would pass by, drop off some good pieses of meat, yet they would never tell him how to make the pies because they have full faith in his baking skills.
Review by Dennis Molewa
Heard lots about this bakery, so had high expectations.
Croissants really let the place down. The shape was right, the texture was mostly right (good enough for outside France), but the weight of each croissant! Each weighed about 4-5 times of what you'd expect from a nice, buttery, airy croissant. Very disappointing.
I usually love going to Jason’s, but won't go back again after this experience. I can understand if you are sold out of your top selling items on the menu, but when you have a menu that consists of only about five breakfast items and you are sold out of those, you should be more accommodating. Due to the fact that they were sold out of croissants, I asked if I could substitute one of the breakfasts with rye toast. I was told that they wouldn’t be able to ring it up as that, but could ring it up separately. A breakfast that costs about R35 now came to R65, all because they couldn’t replace a croissant with rye toast. As far as I am concerned a croissant is more expensive to make anyway. In my opinion, I think the owner needs to get off his high horse.
Opening times: Monday to Friday 7am-3:30pm, Saturdays 8am-2pm (closed on Sundays & Public Holidays)
What used to be Jardine Bakery is now Jason – but never fear. The bacon croissants that made the Jardine Bakery hatch so popular are still around, as are the best chicken Caesar sandwiches in town, and an array of other delectable baked goods. This cosy corner café with stools looking out over busy Bree Street is the haunt of hipsters who appreciate an excellent coffee, but don’t let that put you off – the coffee and baked treats really are that good.
Smart shopper tip: The bacon croissants sell out faster than hotcakes, so call first thing in the morning to reserve yours.