Brioche – a ‘must try’ in Port Elizabeth

As my loyal readers know, I am all for mom & pop kind of places, I love visiting the non touristy type places.  So every time I go to Port Elizabeth, I look for such places, even my friends know that if we going for lunch, it must be new, different, quirky and not touristy at all!!

Leely hit the spot when she introduced me to Brioche. This gorgeous Coffee Shop / Bakery is situated in the Walmer area, which is an area I frequent consistently when I am in PE, just somehow have always missed this quaint establishment.

IMG_20130628_122637[1]

The old historical building is such a beautiful site, the house was built in 1884, with the original deed framed and hanging on the wall.  The menu boasts a few great easy lunch time meals (I didn’t get a look at the breakfast menu).

20130628_132001

Tuna Fishcakes, served with fries and caper mayo

IMG_20130628_132343

Homemade beef hamburger, topped with onion rings.  What caught my eye was the homemade bun, you seldom get this luxury at a restaurant, it was refreshing to see this.

IMG_20130628_132044

A variety of pizza, this was basil pesto, olives, parmesan, topped with rocket – thin crusted pizza.

IMG_20130628_132513

Other menu items, to name a few, included soup of the day served with roosterkoek, pastas, salads and a variety of sandwiches. There are also freshly baked breads (the ciabattas looked phenomenal)  and pastries to choose from.

I was introduced to the Vanilla Meringue Milkshake, and let me say, for someone who doesn’t like milkshakes, I was in love.  This is a signature here at Brioche and, in my opinion, a must try when visiting this little gem.

20130628_123335

Other items on the beverage menu included a great selection of coffees and teas, the classic Chai Lattes, however, I settled for freshly squeezed apple & ginger juice…this was just fantastic and refreshing, and the time it took to get to the table was well worth the wait.

With the lovely sunny winter weather we have been experiencing, we decided to sit outside, which is a great option as the garden is well manicured and hosts a jungle gym to keep the kids entertained and ample space for them to run off some energy.

20130628_122528

The food was fantastic, with the perfect setting, I do have to mention that the service was a little slow, yet very friendly. Food and drinks came out at different times and some of us at the table had to wait longer than other however, I can not really fault this as good food is not fast food. I thoroughly enjoyed this find, and will definitely be visiting again.

Brioche can be found at 181 Main Rd Walmer, Port Elizabeth, Eastern .
Tel: 041 581 2136
Open: Mondays to Fridays 7.30am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 7.30am to 3pm

 

 

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by anyone, I was not asked to review this restaurant, I am merely sharing my experience at this establishment.

Food Love at Meade Cafe, George, Gardenroute

Meade Cafe has been around for a while in the Garden Route.  I remember being fresh out of high scholl we all flocked there for the signature “Jamie Oliver Sandwich”.  Since then it has changed hands, turned into a more interior decorating spot, and now recently back into a cafe in its original spot and even more impressive!

Being slightly warmer, we decided to sit outside in the garden, which I absolutely love.  Looking around you would never imagine you are sitting in the middle of George’s CBD, you forget the world outside of those walls.  With Spring in the air, the flowers are starting to bloom, the smells of fresh Spring surrounds you, and you are taken into a magical world.


 

Inside if fit with a few tables, a counter full of wonderful pastries, quiche of the day, and the entrance to the kitchen simple says “the best kitchen staff works here” I absolutely love the positivity and friendliness, and most importantly the warm Meade Cafe gives you, inside and out!

The menu is small, nothing over the top, printed on recycled paper, all so simple and absolutely perfect!  They have a few adverts from different businesses in the close vicinity, so while sitting and looking over the menu, you can book a spa treatment or think about booking a photographer…

The fishcakes were highly recommended, so we had to order these!  Along with the fishcakes, we ordered the grilled polenta.  Both dishes blew me away.

The homemade fishcakes served on a baby potato and leaf salad, homemade tartar sauce and salsa

A mixture of hake & snoek, with fresh parsley and lemon zest gave these fishcakes so fresh and light!

Grilled Polenta topped with Ratatouille & olives and a touch of anchovies just had me squirming with delight.  Such a simple dish and my mouth was watering with delight!

This is a perfect example of the type of food I love.  Often you go to a restaurant and you have the restaurant classics, but nothing excites you…I love the excitement of food, of that something that really makes you think, feel and fall in love!

Dinner with Madam Zingara’s Bombay Bicycle Club

The second restaurant which enthralled my eccentric side is called Bombay Bicycle Club, one of the Madam Zingara restaurants’ in Cape Town.  I have looked many times on the website and lived the experience through the beautiful pictures and write-ups, and it was an absolute given that this would be one of the restaurants I just had to experience firsthand.

It was suggested that we book a table, and I am glad we did!  On a Wednesday evening, we arrived at about 6:15pm to just one table, by 8pm it was full, now for those of you who have not been, let me try explain what the restaurant is like.

Compact and quirky to the max is what first comes to mind.  You can’t miss the restaurant which is situated on Upper Kloof Street, the outside grabs your attention immediately with its brightly coloured umbrellas and the old car on the roof next to the Jollywood sign.

You just know you are in for a treat.  We were welcomed by friendly staff, who reminded me more of  long lost friends who had not seen us in a while as opposed to a waiter we just met for the first time.  Inside, you are greeted with so much your eyes can’t stop wondering.  We were lead to the “new section” called the Love Shack, which I was told we would be in when I booked the previous evening.  I felt like I had been transported into another galaxy where your childhood fantasies have become a norm.

Our Love Shack was a table in the corner which had been cornered off with zinc pannles, painted bright pink and decorated with many different African type memorabilia.  I spent quite some time looking at all the photographs and odds and ends displayed all over the Love Shack.

Our waiter made me giggle a few times with his typical Cape Town mannerisms and slang. Our wine was brought to us, we ordered our starters.

I opted for the deep fried beer battered camembert with a tomato and basil sauce, which was amazing.  The beer batter and the camembert worked so well together with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce to round the meal off.

Justin has the phyllo parcels with smoked chicken, mozzarella and a wild musroom sauce.  Of course I had to taste that too, and it was just as good.  The wild mushroom sauce complimented the smoked chicken perfectly.

After starters, we decided we would relax first and enjoy our wine, and of course have a look at a few more of the odds and ends that were laying around.   I was in stitches when our waiter popped his head into the Love Shake and asked if he could “gooi” (throw) our mains for us.  He had to give me a moment to compose myself before we could order.

The menu is a small menu but a nice variety.  I always um and ah, and for me it was the decision between the lamb shank and the ostrich tapenade, I finally settled on the lamb shank and was definitely not disappointed. The lamb was fall off the bone tender, yet still had the perfect mouth feel. Flavours of a rich tomato base with the rosemary and garlic just always is a winner.  Brings me back to one of my kitchen motto’s, keep it simple!

The waiter suggested that one of us had to try the ribs, so Justin settled on the Surf & Turf, which was a rib & prawn combo.  I tasted the ribs, and let me say, I second our waiter’s opinion.  The ribs were so tender and had a perfect balance of sweet and savoury and just delicious.

Unfortunately we had way to much already and dessert was skipped.

A restaurant I can happily recommend, this is a package deal, the whole experience is something you just have to have yourself.

Enjoy!

Lunch in Woodstock at Jamaican me Crazy

Our trip to Cape Town was filled with what we love to do best…try new places to eat.  My husband always tells me how he loves going to eat out with me because I always want to try new things, and I stay away from franchises / chain restaurants and of course, just how much I love food, even if it’s something simple.

I love the artisan and very much eccentric side of food.  I do enjoy a fine dining experience now and then, for me, I love quirkiness and restaurants that are unique and different.  While in Cape Town, we got to experience two of these kind of restaurants.

The first one on the list was Jamaican me Crazy in Woodstock

I learnt about this restaurant from my good friend, Blossom.  It’s her son’s place, and of course I just HAD to go!  I am freely going to admit I do not know much about Jamaican cuisine except the classic jerk chicken, so I was super excited to experience something so new with my good friend!

We started off with a few cocktails, I have to say I was very impressed with the selection of cocktails, and of course the fact that if you so wish, you could have any of the cocktails virgin style, and this brings me to my number one YES at any restaurant.  Versatility!

The menu has a little bit of everything so you have such a variety which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes be a bad thing.

In my true style, I had to have a platter so I could taste many different things!  And wow, was this a large platter, it was for two so my husband had to help me out!  The platter consisted of a spicy mussel soup, Jamaican flatbread, calamari, jerk chicken winglet; coca cola basted ribs, meat pies and jalapeno poppers filled with feta.  To me, what stood out the most were the spicy mussel soup and the calamari.  So often you go to a restaurant and the calamari is bready and oily, this calamari was absolutely delicious!  I must find out the secret to the great calamari at Jamaican me Crazy.

My husband enjoyed a steak with blackened prawns and calamari. At first he was willing to try the goat curry, which I was very surprised about, unfortunately they goat curry was out of stock for the day.  I think it would have been such a huge accomplishment on my part, I have been trying to get Justin to eat more adventurous things…it’s working!

The waiter, Charles was very friendly and attentive; he had the sweetest smile and looked after the table with great ease.  He knew when to approach and when to rather let us be, which is such a rare treat when dinning out.

All round, the experience was wonderful, I loved the upbeat colours of the restaurant, in my mind, exactly how I would picture dinning in a typical Jamaican restaurant.

I learnt sport events are often on show on the large screen projector, you can have private parties or just spend time having a drink, with wi fi available it’s the perfect place to chill out and  enjoy a easy snack and some quiet work time, or meeting with friends after work.  A great vibrant restaurant which I highly recommend!

The second place I have to mention is Bombay Bicycle.  Watch this space for our experience which will follow soon!

Lazy Sundays and a wonderful lunch at Crossways Country Kitchen

I know I have not been on the blogs much lately, I guess just a mixture of being busy, and for a while I stepped away from the  stoves, I just didn’t have any confidence in my cooking after a rather nasty incident with a patron.  But I am back, and I am feeling again…I have missed food…and most important, I have missed the feeling I have when I create in the kitchen.

Today, we had to do a little celebrating, so my lovely husband and I went to discover a new destination for lunch.  Now this is definitely what I would refer to as a “Hole in the Wall’ type place, which is exactly the kind of restaurants I love.  I am not one for the top 5 restaurants in the country, in my opinion, fine dining does have its purpose, however, for me…I am more the “mom & pop” kind of chef, where food comes from the heart and the creativity on the plate is such a large part of you.  Maybe its the artist in me as well that brings these feelings out.

The Crossways Country Kitchen is exactly what I love about the industry.  Briefly listening to the owner, I am so excited for the ideas he has, and WOW, it will bring so much into the community and more importantly for the “foodie’ community of the Eastern Cape.  I really look forward to his vision.

You can find out more about the restaurant here

We were warmly greeted by the handful of waitresses which are so lovely and friendly, and told we may sit anywhere, as there were many open tables.  I was rather surprised as I thought they would be more busy, however, we were early for lunch, and by the time we left, they were buzzing with people.

Image

We were brought the drinks menu and asked for a wine list, I was slightly confused as there was not an actual menu.

Image

The waitress brought us our wine, and in tow were 2 more waitresses, one with an easel and one with a large blackboard which was set up in front of us.  I absolutely loved this, however not very practical when they got busy as there was only one menu floating around.

Image

We settled on a wine I have never heard of.  Brampton Viognier, which was so fruity. The aromatics are splendid: springtime perfumery, fresh ginger, peaches, apricots and honeysuckle. The palate is waxy and delicate yet with an underlying strength and focus. Aromas follow effortlessly onto the rich palate the wine just set the mood for an absolutely wonderful meal.

Image

We started with the roasted tomato soup with basil pesto and  lovely homemade bread.  The bread was so delicious, beautiful soft crumb texture yet the crust was so crispy and chewy – exactly how I love my bread, with oregano and nuts, this was a perfect companion to this hearty earthy soup.

Image

As always mains are a tough decision as I always want to have so many things!  I finally settled on my old time favourite Lamb Shank with spring onion mashed potatoes with a lovely red wine & onion gravy.  The lamb was so full of flavour and just fell off the bone, definitely country cooking at its best.  The spring onion in the mash just gave the mash such a beautiful uplifting flavour which enhanced the flavours of the lamb.

Image

Justin had the smoked pork neck with rustic butternut mash, when the food arrived I had one of those breathtaking moments.  The sight of this dish made my mouth water!  The roasted naartjies and the beautiful Fall colours on the board  just oozed creativity, I was in love!

Image

I was already so full however when the dessert blackboard was set out for us, and there was a cheeseboard…I had to have!  Very seldom do you find a cheeseboard part of dessert, so we enjoyed cheese, preserves, crackers and a lovely cuppachino for dessert.

Image

Image

The setting was just stunning, about 40kms from Humansdorp, just off the N2, take the Sunnyside turn off,  nestled between cows roaming free.  Open from 9am to 3pm, Wednesday through Sunday, from what I understand the menu changes all the time, and the pork belly is something to look out for!

 Image

Mixed Berry & Granola Smoothie and wonderful ladies night out

I love surprises, and wow did I receive one last night. About 2 weeks ago, myself and J were invited for dinner, I found it rather strange but none the less accepted, last night when we got to our hosts house, I didn’t smell any food cooking nor see any tables set, and when I walked in, a great big SURPRISE was called out. All the ladies decided I needed my first “wives” dinner out. Sadly I didn’t get any photos as I didn’t take my camera with, but it was such a wonderful evening.

We went to Five Elements, and again, I really enjoyed every moment. It is the fine dining restaurant in the area, and given not a restaurant you can go to every week, it is definitely a must for any special occasion ( boy oh boy do I find special occasions!)

The atmosphere is wonderful, do pop on over to the website and have a squiz.

Again, no photos, but I can tell you what I had!

I started with a dish called Fire & Ice – seared Szechuan peppered tuna with Japanese radish and cucumber sorbet. The flavours were a magical dance in my mouth. This dish was definitely a top favourit. The sweetness and the pepperiness was such a wonderful combination, with the cooling subtle cucumber sorbet.

For mains I had a hard time decided exactly what I wanted. So many lovely choices, however, the duck jumped out at me. I had Duck Roulade wrapped in swiss chard with creamed mielies, white mushrooms & duck jus. The meal was very interesting, i have to admit I personally didn’t like the plating, but the flavours made up for it. The duck was wonderful, cooked to perfection with a play of allspice which just brought so many different aspects to the palate, you kind of all over the place, yet your flavour focus comes together in the end.

Dessert, I decided on a rooibos crème brulee, which I have to say was wonderful as well. The hard crack of sugar you break through was perfect, nothing more beautiful than that crack of sugar. Thats when I know I am in crème brulee heaven. The best part is the dessert was not overpoweringly sweet, all the flavours were subtle and worked wonderfully together.

So again, a big thank you to the wonderful ladies, it was exactly what I needed!

Today, I finally got to the Department of Home Affairs and have now officially changed my last name and applied for my new ID book. I have to compliment the DOHA in Humansdorp, what wonderful friendly service which I have never received from any officially government department. I walked in and 20 minutes later, with lots of smiles and laughs, I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s and I am now officially going by my married name, which I love!

And of course, with this, I give you one more Smoothie. I am so excited about the new challenge from Tandy over at Lavender & Lime. I am working on a great rawliciouse ideas!

Mixed Berries & Granola Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 apple roughly chopped
½ cup your favourit granola
1 tbsp chia seeds

Add all into a blender, the berries give a nice tang, just add a little more honey if you want to sweeten it up.

Sunday Lunch at Hankey Hotel

I don’t often write about a place I have eaten at, unless I am completely blown away, or I am horribly disappointed. In this case, The Hankey Hotel just blew me away…I don’t often get the chance to go off the beaten track, so when I do, I grasp it with both hands.

The Hankey Hotel is in the little town of Hankey, in the Eastern Cape, not far from where I currently live. Having heard so much about the Sunday Lunch Buffet that gets served at this establishment, and all the praise it gets, I was determined to experience it for myself. Let me tell you, it’s such a gem.

The owner, Mario, welcomes you shows you through to the bar for a pre lunch drink, the doors to the hall where the food is served only opens at 12:30 on the dot, there is only one sitting, so you arrive a little early and you enjoy a drink in the real small town type bar. The bar is so quaint, with 2L bottles as opposed to the 330ml cans we are so use to, and beer in cans ( I can honestly not remember the last time I saw a beer in a can.) Mario then comes around to each table and tells us that they are ready and we may go through.

The dinning room is exactly that…a large dinning hall, the type that would remind you of your assembly’s in primary school. In the one corner there is a grand piano, and a gentleman on a guitar who gets your foot tapping happily along to the classics. You are then once again welcomed by Mario, who proceeds to explain the way the buffet works. You typical course for course, but all set out in buffet style, with the mismatched plates and service gear…I have to admit, it was absolutely charming.

Starters consist of choices of either minestrone soup or fish soup, served with rosterkook, or a choice of brown or white farmstyle bread.
Mario and his lovely wife do all the cleaning of the tables, they cook and serve, and are just gracious hosts! They know everyone by their first name and make you feel so welcome.

Then comes your fish course with your salads, on offer were a garden salad, curried pineapples, smoked snoek, mussels in half shell with a creamy sauce or crumbed, pickled fish, snoek kookies, fish nuggets, deep fried calamari, deep fried fish, potato salad, beetroot and an arrangements of little sauces.

After your fish course, you are encouraged to the hot mains. Mario knew that my father in law wanted “afval” and therefore brought him a small portion, it is not always available, but he knew we were coming so he made a plan. Other than the afval, which is on my list of “no no’s” there was so much on offer. Creamed spinach, cinnamon pumpkin, cauliflower, green beans, sweet carrots, rice, roast chicken, roast pork, beef stirfry, brisket and roast potatoes, which Mario refers to as His Roast Potatoes, and were delicious!

In the middle of mains, Mario too a break from clearing tables and climbed on the grand piano and proceeded to entertain us with his musical ways accompanied by the gentleman with his guitar, the atmosphere was so friendly, so family orientated, took me back to the days when I grew up in Vryburg and our Sunday lunches which was also such a large affair, with all the food and family. The home cooked meal vibe took me far back into my childhood, my grandparents and how, at the age of 8 I would sit and watch my father cook like this.

Dessert, which is not really my forte, but I had to go and try because of the peppermint fridge tart which I have been told about, consisted of another large selection. Along with the peppermint tart, there was a lemon meringue, marshmallow and pineapple tart, banana tart, fruit salad, sago pudding, jelly and custard and last but not least, poached pears.

This spread of home cooked food sets you back R100 per person. I can say, very well worth it! I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. If you are in the area on a Sunday, I would recommend a visit! Contact Mario +27 (0) 42 284 0325