Thursday, July 26, 2018

Breakfast at Coco Safar, Sea Point

The Adelphi Centre in Sea Point has had an ongoing refurbishment, a name change (that we don’t think will work for Sea Pointers), and many of the old shops have departed. As you enter the centre, you cannot fail to see Coco Safar restaurant, which has taken up space on the left and right of the main entrance and some at the back for their Rooibos brewery. We were invited to go for breakfast last week
Breakfast is held in the Coffee and Patisserie section of the restaurant. Quoting from their website: "Conceived in New York, designed in Toronto and made in Cape Town – Coco Safar has been a 10-year global journey to bring you a luxury coffee café experience that is extraordinary in every way"
This is the Bar in front of their micro brewery, where you can taste their Rooibos fermented beers, which have zero alcohol, and the rooibos teas. Coco Safar seems to be moving into all sorts of different aspects. We chatted briefly with the owner Will Liebenberg and he says they think that there is such a move to healthy eating, vegan and vegetarian food, gluten free, and food without additives that they see this as their market
The owners are Wilhelm Liebenberg and Caroline Sirois, who is French Canadian. Will is originally from South Africa and has lived in Canada for many years. It says on their website that they are passionate food and coffee specialists, having spent the best part of 20 years travelling the world in search of the finest coffee and culinary experiences. They told us that their Spanish chef Carmen Hernandez has worked for Ferran Adrià in Spain, and was head chef for Heston Blumenthal. Wow, to see someone as experienced as this working in Sea Point is fantastic
The restaurant, where we had breakfast
The coffee shop, where you can buy their pods
The breakfast menu. Note that there are only two dishes with meat, and those contain lamb pancetta, cured in house, something we have not tried before. There is chicken with waffles from down South USA too. One of the baked goods is a Lamb bobotie. There are some interesting dishes like Pain Perdu (French toast) made as a bread pudding from croissant with basil infused pineapple; Clafoutis with multiseed biscotti and Granola with Turmeric cashew cream, so we assume savoury?
We had ordered two large black coffees before we saw this menu
This explains the micro brewery
Nice to see a Prix Fixe lunch in Cape Town
And those pastries, so hard to resist
so we didn’t!
Some interesting chocolate bonbons, made with Valrhona chocolate
and the best French style buttery flaky croissants we have had for a very long time
The coffee bar, They use Spirit Idrocompresso machines to make their extraordinary and strong espresso coffees. Dutch designer of coffee machines Kees van der Westen designed these
Small trays already laid with small water glasses, spoons and a little iced madeleine, just waiting for cups of coffee
and then our strong black coffees were served with the iced baby madeleine and a glass of sparkling water. They are very strong; we both had a caffeine overload. And John had a second one. The flavour is good, rather like Dutch coffee, with the slight sourness that Lynne loves
Interesting decor in the pod shop and a window into the kitchen. The staff were friendly, lovely and helpful. Service was a bit slow. The manager Rozalind Agnew was very helpful indeed, answering all our questions and taking us to see all the sections of Coco Safar. The restaurant will open in the evenings in August
Breakfast arrives. They don’t do omelettes, only a frittata (which incorporates mushrooms, with no exceptions) so John asked if he could have scrambled egg. It needed salt and some more butter, but he enjoyed it with the sliced avocado on salad greens and bread, dressed with a berry sauce
Lynne had the incredible buttery croissant with some eggs Benedict nestled inside, and a twirl or two of the lamb pancetta, which tastes of.... lamb! with some salt and some maple syrup. It is a bit chewy but nice. One egg was perfectly cooked, the other a bit over; the Hollandaise was classic and creamy and coated well. Not sure why the tomatoes were there, as they didn’t add anything to the dish, but if you enjoy tomatoes you would have liked them
The scrambled eggs
They have a chocolate factory across from the restaurant
And then it was time to indulge in some of the pastry. We chose this Passion and Thyme pastry covered in a pink gel glaze. It is a fruit bombe! Filled with a passion fruit curd and a mascarpone mousse flavoured with thyme, on a crisp almond base of two or even three thin layers, one of which is a jacond sponge
This is the Chocolate and caramel tart. It is topped with raw chocolate nibs in a caramel, set on a disk of dark chocolate which is floating on a liquid chocolate ganache and below that is a layer of thick caramel toffee. The pastry was crisp, but a bit unyielding to the ice cream spoon which came with it, and you do need a very sweet tooth for this pastry. We suggested to the manager that a cake knife and fork would make it easier to cut and eat
We each had half of each pastry and Lynne ordered some green tea to go with hers. One strong coffee was enough. Another of those lovely iced mini Madeleines. Love the orange centered cup and matching tea pot, which is fitted with an infuser. They bring you a timer, so you don't pour the tea until it has infused for the correct 5 minutes. It was a good green tea
With the tart, you get a disc of melted caramel and a scoop of Balsamic Dulce de Leche (condensed milk) ice cream on a crumb base. You definitely taste the balsamic vinegar with its slight sourness
The tart plate comes decorated with a passion fruit sauce and a Lemon and Thyme ice cream, also on crumbs
Makes a pretty setting!
Inside the bombe
and inside the Chocolate caramel tart
Then it was time to visit the Rooibos tasting bar, a bit of a nightmare for both of us, as we do not enjoy Rooibos. But we put on brave faces and tasted just for you. These are the four flavours of the sparkling fermented Rooibos non alcoholic drinks. If you like Rooibos you will love these, go and do the free tasting. Enough said
The Brewery. Being in the wine and spirit industry, we are mystified as to why they are fermenting Rooibos and then producing an alcohol free beverage. Well, it is a point of difference
The drinks are served from a familiar bar counter appliance
The bar is in front
This was the tasting we shared
The barman is Carlton Zulu, quite a fun character, who told us he is The Boss of the Bar! He can make you mocktails. He began here in January after two months training, and here he is, a success
We were delighted to meet the chef, Carmen Hernandez, and she clearly has a passion for food and what she does. Her English is perfect. We have been invited back for dinner in August so watch this space for the report
Then we had an ice cream tasting. Vanilla lime sorbet, nice lime and vanilla flavours as expected, refreshing
Lemon and thyme gelato was good. SO nice to experience thyme in dessert, it does work. We had in in Toledo and loved it
Chef working in the kitchen with some of her staff

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