5 great ways to spend a full day in Bloemfontein

Run by passionate pioneers of the Bloemfontein food scene, these five spots will have you taking in the best of the Free State capital in 24 hours.

Breakfast at Jack & Jill Food Co. ?

Jack & Jill’s move to the Loch Logan Waterfront last year means a bigger and better eatery – now with a gin bar. Owner Jill Nowers brings her obsession with fresh produce and well-sourced ingredients (many from local suppliers) to dishes like Mickey’s Brekfis Papino filled with homemade granola. With the help of Moses the baker, the hand-shaped artisanal loaf, 100% rye and white breads have become city favourites, while the tres leches French toast (made with coconut milk, condensed milk and ideal milk) is a menu staple. Grab a sweet treat from the tempting display table for padkos.

Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app

An eggy breakfast at Jack & Jill Food Co. Photo supplied.

Coffee at Stereo Café

When former music compiler James Kilbourne opened Stereo Café in 2014 (after training at the London School of Coffee), it was a tiny 12-seater roastery. Last November he relocated to a house that seats 30, with a patio on which to enjoy your morning brew. The menu, displayed on a CD cover with prices listed as track lengths, keeps to the music theme, as do the record posters and curated playlist. Bags of beans from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uganda are available for purchase and ground to order according to your method of preparation at home.

Lunch at Bella Casa Trattoria

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, this trattoria is a cosy home-away-from-home, known for friendly, top-class service. With dishes that change annually, and a chalkboard menu of seasonal, experimental dishes, there are enough reasons to return often. Each room of this converted house brings its own vibe: upside-down lampshades, mirrors covering a ceiling, and pizza paddles and bicycle wheels. If in the mood for wood-fired pizza, order The Kitchen Sink – spinach, feta, bacon, peppadews and olives – or choose one of the speciality pizzas on a thinner base, with more tomato and less cheese. For something heartier, opt for chicken curry or the brandied Black Beast fillet.

The cosy interior at Bella Casa Trattoria. Photo supplied.

Dinner at El Jefe

A ‘mi casa es tu casa’ sign welcomes you to this colour-loaded Mexican cantina of mismatched chairs – and it couldn’t be more accurate. A happy, homely experience awaits at El Jefe, with Spanish music, skull motifs and cacti sealing the deal. The chargrilled corn is served as it is on the streets of Mexico, with lime, parmesan, butter and chilli salt. Besides the usual options of tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas, there’s a tasty chicken mole worth tucking into. If choices are too much, go for the Mexican Feast – a set menu for two, which includes a naughty shake doused with tequila.

Drinks at The Staffordshire Pub

Named for Bloem’s most famous Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Waska, the owner’s dog, this newly opened pub is the place for live local music from Wednesday to Saturday in the city’s rapidly developing Langenhoven Park neighbourhood. The Staffy, as it is affectionately called, has an array of beers on tap, to be enjoyed around the designer copper-clad bar, alongside the quirky frame-filled wall, or amongst the trees outside, under fairy lights. Create your own platter from the tapas menu – you can’t go wrong with beef strips, mushrooms and halloumi – or opt for a burger named after the most common staffy names. There’s a pizza oven coming soon, and rumours of a very unique gin bar.

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