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Manna Epicure

Manna Epicure
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Cost
R140 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Bakery fare, Bistro fare
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Katharine Jacobs

Food
Everything on the menu at this Kloof Street café is refined and well executed.
Breakfasts are served all day and feature perfectly poached free-range eggs in a range of interesting guises. Try the Parma-style breakfast with poached eggs, Parma ham, parmesan and pesto, or the gloriously cheesy toasted breakfast croissant with scrambled eggs, tomato, bacon and mozzarella. The Hollandaise sauce is excellent.

The bread selection features the famed coconut bread – a slightly sweet option – along with gluten-free and rye options for the wheat-fearing.

Lunch and dinner heralds calamari salad with chickpeas, chorizo, roasted peppers and pineapple, and a succulent chicken parmigiana in perfectly crisp panko crumbs, with a tasty little rocket salad. The spare ribs are some of the stickiest and most tender in the city.

Peruse the cake counter for pud.

Drinks
Bright, freshly squeezed juices can be constructed from the menu of options. The coffee is good. If the noon gun’s gone, then check out the extensive cocktail, spirits and wine list. Wines are carefully chosen and include some names with a bit of gravitas.

Service
Generally very good.

Ambience
Bathed in white, with suspended driftwood chandeliers, this café offers a quiet oasis on busy Kloof Street. The outside area is glorious on sunny days. Nab a spot at the counter overlooking Kloof Street’s quieter upper reaches if you’re dining alone.

And…
Excellent early bird breakfast and dinner specials offer great value for money.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Greg Landman

    Food
    The owners are French and the chef dabbles in some Argentinian touches. This being a South African restaurant, it means that you will find some really interesting things to eat here. The bread is just fabulous, baked on the premises, and you can even take some home, but try to resist the oink factor and save yourself for more serious matters. Try the excellent moules frites, succulent mussels steamed with white wine, parsley, onion and garlic, served with chips, or the Caesar salad with croutons and parmesan shavings which you can zoosh up with chicken, prawns, a poached egg or streaky bacon, a meal on its own. If you are longing for meat, you’ll enjoy the panko crusted beef schnitzel, served with chimichurri mayo, or the excellent beef burger served on a homemade ciabatta bun, nice and crunchy. The braai features Chalmar beef sirloin, fillet, and rib eye cuts, done to a turn, or venison fillet and sticky pork spare ribs. The daily cakes are a good way to finish up.

    Drinks
    On offer is a good, small wine list with some very good local wines by the glass.

    Service
    Top notch, very friendly and knowledgeable, with just the right edge of treading the fine line between friendly and familiar.

    Ambience
    It’s a nice and light space with an open plan kitchen so you can watch the action. The aromas of freshly baked goodies are enough to drive one crazy. Sitting outside on the stoep watching the Kloof Street parade is great when the weather is fine.

    And …
    Excellent (and very popular) breakfasts are served at half price between 8 and 9am and two (R95) or three course (R125) dinners every day between 5 and 7pm.

  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food 
    A firm favourite with those in the know, the super stylish restaurant Manna Epicure in Kloof Street – always packed during breakfast and lunch – recently expanded their reach by opening for dinner as well.

    The menu is quite straightforward, divided into starters, ‘comfort food’, ‘the braai’ and ‘sweet temptations’. There are quite a few retro nods to the Afrikaans food heritage, with dishes like pan-roasted skilpadjie and braised skaapstertjies (lamb tails) on the starters section. Also on a retro note, the manna ritz of prawns, avocado and lettuce is lent a modern touch with the addition of chimichurri sauce to the mayo. This fragrant green sauce is obviously a favourite condiment here, since it features prominently on the menu, especially among ‘the braai’ section, the red meats of which (the friendly waitress informs us) are the restaurant’s speciality. Bearing this in mind, we order the venison fillet, which comes served medallion size and with a drizzle of, yes, chimichurri. You won’t hear me complaining though, this is some of the best venison I’ve had in ages, and the chimichurri adds a fresh twist to the earthy flavours of the meat.

    The sweet section once again shows retro touches, with the ever-popular malva pudding present, as well as a banana split and a homemade waffle with pistachio ice cream, chocolate sauce and almonds – which sounds so good it may just necessitate a visit of its own…

    Drinks 
    They offer a short but clever selection of whites and reds, including the likes of Alexanderfontein, La Bri and Bouchard Finlayson. A few craft beers and some nifty cocktails round out the list. For daytime enjoyment and non-imbibers, there’s a nice offering of freshly squeezed juices and interesting iced teas.

    Service
    Friendly and accommodating. The waiters are quick off the mark and up to speed on the menu and daily specials.

    Ambience 
    With the soft sounds of jazz music and flickering candlelight luring one in at night, you can’t help but be seduced by the elegant, all-white interior. The atmosphere is congenial and very relaxed. A part of the kitchen extends to an open-plan section in the dining area, which means that you can observe some of the action – but then you may also get a too-close-for-comfort whiff of eggs being cooked for the mushroom ragout on ciabatta …

    And…
    Still regarded as one of the city’s prime breakfast spots, their coconut breakfast is highly recommended: two eggs cooked as per your choice, served with salmon and avocado on coconut bread. It sounds a bit funny, but it really, really works. Also keep in mind their breakfast special: between 8am and 9am in the morning, everything is half price.

    (July 2014)

  • Creamy-coloured interiors, a relaxed and homely atmosphere and the smell of the bakery make Manna Epicure really appealing. Sit at the counter facing the pavement for some crowd watching. The coconut breakfast is a long-standing favourite and the Caesar salad is huge and comes in a beautiful bowl.­ They have some very good bubbles and wine by the glass and their fresh veg and fruit juices are instant pick-me-uppers.
  • Food
    The Caesar salad, while quite unorthodox, is delicious with either chicken or ham. Try the various tapas, smoked salmon, Parma ham and famous Manna bread. The open sandwiches with various toppings and hake, potato and sundried tomato fishcakes (with poached egg and minted pea puree) are all very designer-style.

    Wine
    Adequate for most tastes and pockets.

    Service
    Friendly and smooth.

    Ambience
    Very white and bright in an old house right on trendy Kloof Street, with the occasional quirky touch. A place for the ladies who like to lunch and for those who like to watch them doing it.

    And...
    Take home some of the baked goodies. (GL, October 2011)

User reviews

  • Manna has been my first choice for breakfast on the weekend, however now that I have discovered the amazingness that is their dinner menu- I shall be there 3 times a day. Every element of the meal was perfectly put together and each ingredient appreciated. I true testament to the love of food.
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  • Great juices - love how they're served in tall glasses. My bright pink beet, apple and ginger one looked very exotic next to my partner's apple green one. Liked the all-white theme inside. Our eggs Benedicts were great.

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  • Being a breakfast floozy I especially enjoyed the half price breakfast special between 8-9am! The food is minimalistic, beautifully presented and they are one of the few places that knows how to properly poach an egg.
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  • Manna Epicure refused to accommodate a table of more than 6 people. Inhospitable and inflexible. I will not be recommending Manna Epicure to anyone.
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  • Wow! We've lived within walking distance of Manna Epicure for a number of years but for some reason have always looked over it as a breakfast option. Oh, how things have changed! The French toast with fried banana & crispy bacon is delicious, and an ample serving for a hungry man - the banana could have been slightly more cooked, but this is more of a preference than a short-coming. The eggs Florentine is a simple combination of the classic elements, each with superb flavour. The gluten-free bread is some of the best we've tasted. The slices are a decent size, with great flavour and texture. The service was good - although the waiter seemed distant, he was quick to serve us, efficient, and we never felt neglected nor over-attended.
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  • Love this beautiful spot, bathed in white. It's perfect for breakfast - I've yet to try their famous coconut bread - it always seems to sell out before I wake up. The other breakfasts are great, though. Everything perfectly prepared. My only quibble is their style of plating: everything comes separately, so you have to assemble your breakfast - butter your toast, maneuver the poached egg on top, try and squeeze some avo in there and layer the whole thing with salmon at the end. Perhaps I'm just lazy - but not having to lift a finger is part of the reason I go out for breakfast on the weekend. Never mind: the food itself is delicious - and the waiters I've had in the past have all been courteous and eager to help.

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  • Manna Epicure was recommended to me on Twitter after I asked my followers where they would go for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. I was specific about wanting to try restaurants in Kloof Street, but recommendations came fast and furious and not only limited to Kloof Street. After a little help from Google, I settled on Manna Epicure. When I sent a tweet to a friend saying she won, I have decided on her choice, she sent me back a message saying ,“Corrections, you WON” and was she was right. I liked the restaurant from the moment I walked in. It’s cosy but the tables are not too close together, so you can have some privacy. I liked our waiter. He was friendly and knew the menu well. He even said he didn’t like how the pulled pork turned out. I sat there thinking should he say that? The answer is yes. It simple means that he wouldn’t serve anything less than perfect. I was quite impressed by that. I ordered my chicken ceaser sandwich at ease because I knew it would look and taste great. My friend couldn’t resist sirloin which came with chips. She didn’t leave a piece on her plate. The food was delicious. I made a mistake of not reading all the stuff that was on my sandwich and unfortunately there was bacon. Taking the bacon off was no trouble and the waiter even apologized for that, twice. I just cannot fault Manna Epicure at all. I would go back any day. 151 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 021 426 2413
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  • Cape Town restaurants are prolific, and some quite awful, so a very careful assessment of our dinner options was made going on recommendations and reviews. We booked at Manna Epicure for a special Sunday evening, while visiting Cape Town. Pity. We may as well have taken our chances at a fast food joint down the road. We were shoved into a tiny dark table opposite the kitchen and next to the waiters station. We requested to be moved and were told it was not possible. Using our cellphone torches, we read the menu, and ordered rib eye steak. The waiter returned to say that there were was none left. Also no T Bone or one other on the bone option. He informed us that they had a very busy weekend, so they had run out of a lot of options. The fish of the day was Hake. Interesting offering for a city on the edge of an ocean? The steaks we had were tasty and well prepared. Unfortunately, they couldn't quite make up for the indifferent service and poor attitude of the staff, and particularly, the Manager. Despite being within touching distance throughout the evening, he never once bothered to ask if all was satisfactory, or to even attempt to move us, even though two table became available next to us through the course of the evening. On requesting our bill, we explained that we were not going to prolong our very uncomfortable stay and order dessert or coffee. We also advised him that it was unacceptable to expect patrons to sit at the ridiculous table we had been given. He justified it by telling me that he had taken my booking on the phone, and that he had told me they only had that one last table left. Unfortunately, that was what he had said to "Bernadette" My booking was for 'Patricia' A very disappointing experience. Proceed with caution.
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  • Come here if you want to overpay for stale cake and condescending attitudes.

    - Upon simply asking if they had regular canned iced tea, we were told, patronisingly, that they don't have "any of that Lipton stuff", but they made their own iced tea. They're too good for Lipton iced tea (which isn't even what I wanted or was enquiring about), but not for appletizer and passion fruit cordial in their "custom" iced teas? Give me a break.

    - I ordered iced water, mineral water, whatever, and was given a glass that couldn't have held more than 180ml. This is the first time somewhere I went has actually cheaped out on tap water.

    - The red velvet cake I ordered had been sitting out for what felt like days and was completely hard and stale.

    - The drink my friend ordered, passion fruit with some kind of tea and mint, was undrinkable - passion fruit cordial was 'dressed up' as real passion fruit by dumping a bunch of pips in it, while mint leaves, uncrushed, floated pointlessly at the top of the drink.

    - After waiting at least 10 minutes for the bill after asking for it, watching the guy I had asked do nothing particularly important during that time, I finally asked for the bill a second time, and then got the hell out of there.

    R117 for a stale piece of cake, an undrinkable drink, a waffle with some bacon, and some surly hipster waiter. Never setting foot in there again.
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  • The same love for food that brought Agnes and Jonny together has also made their restaurant, Manna Epicure (“heavenly food”), such a success.
    For Agnes, who grew up in a food-loving family on the island of Corsica, it’s about French styling and flair. The restaurant has a warm and inviting atmosphere, with design that’s simple but elegant. And while certain fine dining establishments turn sophistication into pretentiousness, Manna Epicure’s creamy décor and soft lighting make one feel relaxed and at home.
    Our waiter, like the rest of his colleagues, was attentive without being overbearing. And I especially like the fact that Agnes, despite being the boss, took the time to personally welcome us and a number of other guests as we arrived to fill out the intimate space, and even helped her staff by serving food with a friendly smile.
    To experience the best of what Manna Epicure has to offer, my friend and I decided to order different items for each course. Being a bit under the weather, he opted for the cream of slow roast tomato soup as a starter, followed by the shelled mussels in white wine sauce for his main course.
    Given that his dish was a lot bigger than he expected, I was happy to share his food once I’d already enjoyed my smoked salmon trout salad and quail breasts with broccoli on the side. (Manna Epicure serves all main courses without distracting garnishes, leaving you free to choose the side dishes you’d like.)
    The total for our meal (including two drinks, a coffee and a dessert) came to just under R450, although the restaurant currently has a few specials, including 50% off all breakfast food items before 09:00 as well as two- and three-course set menu dinners (at R95 and R120 respectively) from 17:00 to 19:00.
    For Jonny, who grew up in the small town of Citrusdal in the Western Cape, it’s about more than just the cuisine. The menu at Manna Epicure is primarily about combining French and South African cuisines but his inspiration from acclaimed food scientist Harold McGee (and his passion for world flavours) recently led to the introduction of an Argentinian twist.
    Unfortunately, while I was lying in bed and mentally writing this review, I realised I should have probably opted for one of the Chalmar beef steaks, which include Jonny’s reinterpretation of the Argentinian chimichurri meat marinade as a fresh and versatile sauce. Perhaps this new addition to the menu is something the restaurant should be more vocal about?
    Nevertheless, I now have even more of a reason to go back to Manna Epicure again and again. Given the wonderful experience we had (and the consistently high ratings on Tripadvisor), I suspect that whatever Agnes and Jonny come up with is bound to be another match made in heaven!
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  • My family took me for lunch on Father's Day. We had all been there before but never together. I thoroughly enjoyed my fish burger, the Ossi Bucco which replaced the lamb shanks were rated as a great alternative. The service was attentive but not intrusive and the wine list had a nice variety at reasonable prices which is how it should be. We'll be back.
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  • Be warned. This place has changed hands. Effectively it is now a steak house that also does all day breakfasts. The wonderfully innovative and creative former menu is no longer.
    Having said that, the burger was lovely.
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  • I visited Manna epicure by chance last night. My friend and I were cruising Kloof street looking for somewhere different to eat. We came across this gem! Loved the cosiness of the place and the decor was pretty too. Our waiter was a bit shy and probably new on the job but the food made up for it. I liked the fact that the manager/owner came to our table twice to ask about our meal. Would definately try it again.
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  • After a long absence, we went back to Manna for their tapas, but unfortunately, they no longer offer this. But, they do serve breakfast all day, and ended up with a delicious eggs Benedict with crispy bacon. I asked for my eggs to be soft, and they were, with that slight hint of vinegar so you know it's done properly. Great place for a chilled out breakfast.

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  • Was at Manna last Wednesday evening for a wine pairing evening. Total equivalent of one glass of wine, stale tapas and chaotic service, topped off with a monster slice of cake at the end to satisfy our mounting hunger! All this for an exhorbitant price of R250 as the wine was on promotion! I ended up at McDonalds! Much nicer!

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  • Hugely overpriced, really poor service and seemingly unable to manage a poached egg in 3 attempts. Reminds me why I hadn't been here for years - won't be back.

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  • Very popular eatery on trendy Kloof Street, Cape Town. Delicious tasty breakfasts with unusual breads. Coconut bread, rye with walnuts and dates, rye with macadamia and cranberries. The bread is sublime and I always have a warm loaf under my arm on departure! The service can be erratic especially during the breakfast run/lunch run. A lovely clean, pretty space to have a coffee/breakfast. Did I mention the bread?

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  • I was truly surprised that a sandwich consisting of one slice of their bread with some salmon costs R80. And, what is essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, costs R60. It did taste good, but the portion size offered little value and I was left feeling very ripped off.Is this a new menu? is this perhaps a menu for foreigners during the world cup? The menu looked different from the last time I was there.I wont be going back. I really cannot believe that any restaurant can justify the cost of the meal they put in front of me.I honestly got better value when I was at La Colombe last month.
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  • After a couple of months, my husband and I decided to return for lunch to Manna yesterday and found out it was under new management. Etienne, the new owner is very passionate about food and a very good host. We had the risotto, which was AMAZING, I have to say weve had risottos in fine dinning restaurants in Cape Town and none of them came close to what we experienced yesterday. We also had a beef filet with vegetables that was very well cooked and seasoned to perfection. Both the risotto and the beef were specials of the day. Theyre still doing the same formula, sandwich, salad, pasta, etc same decor, which we love, but so much better food. Coffee had never been good at Manna before and I have to say I enjoyed my coffee as well. We had no room for dessert, but I hope the chocolate flourless cake and the brownies are still on the menu for next time, which will be very soon.
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  • I had lunch today at what use to be one of my favourite restaurants in Capetown, I was excited to share your restaurant with a friend whos visiting from france. My excitement was very short lived tho... I had a caesar salad, and Ive said many times in the past that you make the best caesar in town, That sadly has changed, And clearly so has the chef and many of the staff on the floor... I found the service not up to standard and the food mediocre at most!
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  • I had lunch today at what use to be one of my favourite restaurants in Capetown, I was excited to share your restaurant with a friend whos visiting from france. My excitement was very short lived tho... I had a caesar salad, and Ive said many times in the past that you make the best caesar in town, That sadly has changed, And clearly so has the chef and many of the staff on the floor... I found the service not up to standard and the food mediocre at most!
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  • Ive been frequenting Manna for a while now. I love the stark interior that somehow manages to convey fresh appeal rather than an air of pretentiousness. The food has always been deliciously exotic and yet wholesome, and the wine list, although small, caters to all palates. However, the service has been positively shocking of late! I can understand that everyone has an off day once in a while, but I am now convinced that the service has been on the downslide for a while now. From orders being forgotten or messed up, to lengthy waits for a simple meal. Guys, lift your game, your food and vibe is delicious, bring the service back up a notch or two.
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  • The vanilla cup cakes are seriosuly good. I had one with black coffee (which was very good too). Which leads me to ask why people call black coffee an, Americano? I have taken to asking for an, Africano. Thank you.
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  • I was disappointed by the fact that Manna Epicure (151 Kloof Street, CT) lists a buffalo mozzarella caprese salad. We asked as to the origin of the mozzarella and we were told, after enquiries were made with the chef, Francois, that it was Zandam buffalo mozzarella sourced from Mousetrap. I pointed out that Zandam does not have buffalo or make a buffalo mozzarella and that their menu was misleading. The chef insisted that Zandam is buffalo mozzarella.Buffalo Ridge is the sole local producer of buffalo mozzarella and we would like to warn fellow diners to be vigilant against such misleading conduct.
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  • An utterly dreadful waste of time. Terrible service and mediocre food. What keeps this place a float is the pretty decor and position on Kloof street, but nothing more.
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  • Had my first experience of this establishment yesterday. As we sat down infront of the industrial baking oven a tray of fresh loaves were being hauled out which made me very interested in the what else they had to offer. Limited wine choice but was not the focus. The fresh clean menu was interesting and I was spoilt for choice. Decor very simple but classic. Enjoyed my brunch and the relaxed feeling not found often in the City. Thank you Lee and Hannah
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  • I went to Manna on Saturday a couple of weeks ago and was extremely disappointed. The food took at least 1 hour and nothing arrived at the same time. Definitely not worth it.
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  • If you like pretentious food, that looks pretty on the plate but doesnt taste too great, bad service, and non existant atmosphere...youll fit right in with the nipped and tucked, snooty clientele...I tried this place twice, and I will not be back.
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  • Everybody said that brunch at Manna was the thing to do - so we tried it. My scrambled eggs were watery and the croissant was tough (yesterdays?). The bacon was tasteless. The other three meals were somewhat better but still rather pedestrian.
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  • Always a pleasure to have breakfast with Jacques. It is inspiring to have such clean food. Keep up the fabulous work.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Cocktails
  • Dog-friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Takeaways

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