Venues

Starlings Café

Starlings Café
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Cost
R85 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Bakery fare, Café fare, Coffee
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

Graham Howe

Food
This is the perfect local spot to do breakfast or brunch, any time of the week. Honesty and simplicity are the keywords of this homely café which calls itself “a coffee shop behind a hedge”. The quality of the fare is based on genuine farm-fresh ingredients - free of preservatives, colourants, antibiotics and hormones. Golden, yellow free-range eggs are cooked precisely to order - whether in their signature solitaire eggs Benedict or Florentine (ask where the free-range bacon, eggs or spinach comes from and they’ll tell you the name of the farmer). Seriously. Many ingredients are ethically sourced from small growers and urban farmers.

They brew damn fine coffee to go with a buttery croissant and they make their own honey-toasted muesli. The sandwiches, salads, wraps and power bowls (with quinoa, fermented cabbage and seasonal fruit and vegetables) are full of honest-to-goodness flavour and crunchy texture as well as a delight to the eye.

Vegetarians will find plenty on the simple lunch menu, from lentil salads and a delicious mushroom risotto and aubergine bake, to a tart of the day. The salsa, dressings and sauces are all home-made. No short-cuts in this slow food kitchen.

Drinks
Unlicensed so BYO. The coffees, teas and juices are healthy and wholesome.

Service
Delightful; always warm, welcoming and well-informed on ingredients.

Ambience
Nostalgic with a charming retro feel - like dining in an old aunt’s home, among rooms that lead into a charming garden for summer lunches.

And…  
Watch out for their new venture, Locale, an espresso and cocktail bar on Klipfontein Road, Little Mowbray.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Priscilla Urquhart

    Food
    This neighbourhood gem has been a firm favourite with the locals for many years, and not without good reason. Boasting fresh, ethically sourced ingredients from around the corner and as far as Elgin for the free-range eggs dished up for breakfast, the Starlings Café owners have remained true to their mantra of sustainable eating. The soft poached eggs with the Parmesan and basil pesto makes for an interesting flavour combination, while the eggs on toast with bacon and Hollandaise sauce is probably the best I’ve had in a while. Looking at orders coming out the kitchen, the eggs Florentine and brioche toast with bacon and cinnamon honey seems to the flavour of the morning. Other breakfast creations include peri-peri free-range chicken livers with poached eggs, avocado, pesto, roasted tomatoes and toast, and the herbed omelette with salmon. It’s worth noting that the bread is also homemade and includes whole wheat, 70% rye and sourdough. For the carb-conscious, they have zero carb bread made with linseed and olive oil. If you happen to pop in for lunch or any time of day, expect a selection of sandwiches, salads and various tarts, cakes and quiches, made that day. Favourites include the roasted vegetable and feta quiche, the salmon tart with crème fraîche and chicken Caesar salad accompanied by a dressing made with anchovies. And there’s even a banting Thai curry served with cauliflower rice and sambals.

    Drinks
    Starlings Café is renowned for their great coffee and their loose tea Dilmah tea and serves a selection of hot and cold beverages. They do not have a liquor licence so don’t expect to order a beer or a glass of wine to accompany your lunch. You can however, take your own bottle, as the management has kindly waived the corkage fee.

    Service
    Overall good, however it can be a bit slow and distracted during a busy morning. The waitrons are friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable about the menu.

    Ambience
    The café is set in an old house that extends into the back garden, making for a lovely, urban alfresco setting when the weather calls for it. A mixed bag of tables and chairs, with interesting art and décor, it can easily pass for boho-chic. The recent mini makeover was just what this grande old lady needed!

    And …
    They only serve up Richard Bosman bacon, which (as they remind patrons), is hormone and antibiotic free, hand salted and air-dried. Worth the trip!

    October 2015

  • Cathy Marston

    Food
    The menu is simple, creative and thoughtful, featuring slight twists on traditional favourites and using top-quality ingredients. Free-range eggs from Solitaire, handmade cheddar from Healys, meats from Ryan Boon Meats – all of these are used in the making of delicious homemade dishes such as mutton curry pie, aubergine bake, mushroom risotto, and smoked salmon, leek and cream cheese tart. They have regular specials – the sous-vide lamb ribs with cauliflower mash, harissa and sour cream is a total winner – and also offer trendy options such as low-carb/high fat and paleo dishes. Portions are big, but try and leave room for the cakes if you can. The melt-in-the-mouth chocolate chiffon cake is the pick of the day every day of the week. Breakfasts are unsurprisingly popular, so getting there early on the weekend is advised. With dishes such as chevin cheese souffle with bacon and honey, and the zero-carb breakfast frittata muffin, you’ll be kicking your day off in style.

    Drinks
    No wine list here, so bring your own if you want some with lunch. There’s a nice list of speciality teas and good coffee though.

    Service
    Staff members are charming and friendly. Because there are a lot of changing daily specials, there may occasionally be some confusion, but management is swift and efficient in clarifying any mistakes and ensuring the food arrives swiftly at your table.

    Ambience
    The café is situated in a converted private house so there are lots of nooks and crannies to cosy up in and enjoy a sinful slice of cake or two. In summer, the outside garden is the area of choice, whilst in winter, efficient wood-burning fires keep the interior warm. Plenty of white paint lends a clean, fresh feel, whilst quirky sugar bowls, mismatched tables and chairs, piles of old books and other interesting objets d’arts make for a homely, shabby-chic atmosphere.

    And…
    Cute little touches like having their logo stamped on the plain white paper serviettes and the delicious-smelling, garden-like loo are guaranteed to raise a smile.

    (July 2014)

  • A quaint, busy little coffee shop with excellent food. It’s a wonderful escape. Order eggs Florentine, the health bread and wheat-free chocolate friandes.

User reviews

  • Love love love this place! Such unexpectedly beautiful surroundings just off a suburban road. Food is delicious and generous (and they can poach an egg perfectly to order!) and the service, which they say on their menu can be slow, we found to be efficient and friendly. Ask to sit outside if the weather's good.
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  • This is a phenomenal little gem.

    The service we experienced was exceptional - we were having a team lunch on a busy Friday, but they accommodated us so well. It was the small touches, like letting us phone our order ahead, keeping a table in a prime spot of the garden, and having our food ready within minutes of us being seated.

    And the food! 8/8 for all our meals. It's rare that you eat out in a group and everyone feels 100% satisfied with their choice after receiving their meals. Every single thing was delicious - no food envy at all!

    These guys also go the extra mile: We needed our receipt, but only realised the next week, and they went to great lengths to obtain a copy from their systems, despite it needing to be dug up in the IT files. Thank you!!

    We will all definitely be recommending this spot. What a treat.
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  • My favourite coffee shop in Cape Town ! ! ! ! !
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  • My favourite local, it's under the radar, a secret gem of the Southern Suburbs. Great coffee, delicious bio-dynamic eggs, love the goats cheese soufflé and the best mushroom risotto I have ever tasted. Friendly staff and a great atmosphere. The best way to start my day.

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  • This little gem is deservedly popular and well-regarded for an excellent breakfast, a light lunch, a sweet treat or just a quick coffee. Had a family breakfast there this past weekend and couldn't have been happier with the service. Every single staff member smiled and greeted us as we walked in. The ambience was unrushed, pleasant and natural with all the foliage surrounding the tables outside. The baristas do a brilliant job with the drinks and the kitchen serves fresh, seasonal and interesting breakfasts. We (and the rest of Cape Town) will always be back.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

Stores and Markets

This small, simple market is all about the produce. Pop by and buy just about everything you need to cook up a home-cooked meal, like fresh fish, free-range chicken and eggs, charcuterie and organic dairy products.

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