De Oude Bank Bakkerij’s Fritz Schoon has added his wildly popular bakery to a collective of artisans under one roof offering ice cream, a boutique butchery, freshly roasted coffee, a wine cellar and craft beer bar. A must for lunch of charcuterie, local cheeses and fresh breads. (EO mag 2014)
This Stellenbosch darling in its new guise is a one-stop shop that harks back to the good old days. Fritz Schoon has added his wildly popular bakery to a collective of artisan producers under one roof and dubbed it ‘Schoon de Companje’, to incorporate the family name. Fittingly so, as Fritz’s sister, Katryn, and his wife, Chanel, head up the boutique butchery (Nice to Meat You) and artisan ice-cream brand (Fanny Chanel) respectively, alongside the award-winning breads and pastries (De Oude Bank Bakkerij), freshly roasted coffee (Het Roosterij), wine cellar (Het Wijnwinkeltjie) and craft beer (De Brasserij). Breakfast is served from 7.30am until 11.45am, offering exciting options like wild mushrooms on toast with sour cream and sage spread, and croque madame for the hungry, with herb-smoked pork loin, mustardy béchamel, a poached egg and gruyere. But the highlight has to be roasted bone marrow on toast: a DIY affair, the bones are delivered on your (slightly wonky) wooden board with their rich contents ready for spreading. (And slurping, if no-one’s looking/listening.) Served with caramelised onions and blue cheese butter, it packs a flavour punch. Lunch options may test you: do you go for the hotpress sandwich with smoked bacon, caramelised onion, feta and balsamic glaze; the Nice to Meat You burger pattie with homemade tomato smoor, triple-cooked chips and homemade aioli; or the frikkadel sandwich with basil pesto cream and parmesan crisps? If that isn’t enough to deal with, you can also order portions of their famous bread (baguettes, rustique, sourdough, rye) and top them with Hijke cream cheese or Dalewood Huguenot; portions of Neil Jewell charcuterie (coppa, salami marinated in chardonnay or chorizo); and condiments like roasted garlic and sage butter, dukkah, peanut butter and organic basil pesto (all made in-house), Honest raw chocolate spread, or Pronto Mama’s slow-roasted tomatoes. For dessert, spoil yourself with a stick of bread dough ‘held together’ by dark chocolate or one of the latest crazes, a cronut. Fanny Chanel’s ice-cream has a charming counter inside, so you can order scoops of the flavours of the day to accompany your dessert. At 3pm the main kitchen closes and the pizzas from De Brasserij take over, topped with local produce and finished in the wood-fired oven.
Het Roosterij roasts coffee beans (displayed in sacks near the entrance) on site, their heady aroma – and the punctuating hiss of the milk-steamer – filling the air. The thirsty could go for homemade lemonade or ginger beer, or the highly recommended juice of fresh beetroot, mint and pineapple and apple. In cooler weather you might want to try a fancy tea like crème caramel rooibos, Moroccan mint or vanilla, or a hot chocolate with a chilli kick. For something stronger, Devil’s Peak and Darling craft beer are on tap at De Brasserij; else order a glass of wine on the neat list (one of each varietal). After lunch, you can also buy a bottle of your favourite local wine from Het Wijnwinkeltjie, the stained glass-paned cellar upstairs, which is open from 12 noon until 7pm.
Friendly waiting staff keep things moving and the different areas are manned by their resident experts, adding a comfortable familiarity to the place. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed and warm, so don’t expect lightning-quick service. It’s all about taking your good time – just like the produce made and sold here.
Rustic and comfortable, with beautiful golden light streaming into the various rooms, nooks and spaces, Schoon de Companje looks like a sepia-tinted picture. Corrugated iron panels and repurposed wood add a farmhouse feel, with worn books, a carpeted staircase and glass bottles for a touch of old-world character. A big calendar downstairs has events handwritten on red-letter days. These may include the shows of musicians like Koos Kombuis and Albert Frost, which happen on Saturday nights, hosted by De Brasserij. (Bookings are essential.)
It’s always buzzing, and they don’t take bookings except for specific Saturday night events, so arrive early.
This place has a seriously stinky attitude to service. Visited as a family (only two of us had been before) and the waiter couldn't wait to rush through our orders even though none of us had a chance to read the menu (no doubt the rain outside and the long queue contributed to his demeanour). In the bathroom I was greeted by a very unpleasant smell and a waitress who looked me up and down while I washed my hands. At one point during our meal a waitress swooped past and leaned over us to pull a cup of sugar/sweeteners off the middle of our table, without saying a word. The best part was when we paid our bill, dawdled for 2 minutes and were asked to leave by a waitress (apparently on behalf of the manager). He/she obviously didn't have the guts to ask us personally. Will never return. Pity because the coffee was nice. The owner needs to go back to Ile de Pain in Knysna to remember what service is about.
This is 100% in contradiction to our experience. The waiters and owner was exceptionally friendly and the service was wonderful. The food is unmatched and the restaurant is great. We were met with warm friendly waiters, the owner and his wife is such great hosts. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!! - Ruan
De Companje is a platform where real farmers and real artisans meet. De Companje is all about going back to the old way of doing things. Where time and effort is the core ingredient to producing a quality product. de Oude Bank Bakkerij, as many people know it, together with with the new butchery, Nice to Meat You, the exclusive wine shop, Het Wijnwinkeltjie, Fanny Chanels Artisan Ice Cream, De Brasserij and De Roosterij have joined de Companje family.de Oude Bank Bakkerij is all about putting bread back on the table at every meal emphasized by Fritz Schoon. Schoon de Companje is a family business run by Fritz and Chanelle. This beautiful couple live for unpretentious gatherings and enjoy the simple delights in life, have made this the foundation of de Oude Bank Bakkerij-and you can feel this as you enjoy one of Fritzs freshly baked Schoon Sourdoughs with farm butter and a good cup of coffee.