Virtually every little town on the West Coast has a unique establishment that serves the freshest cake and finest coffee. Try some of our handpicked favourites.
Whale Tale Studio Café, Yzerfontein
Chadé Laudien had a dream and now she’s living it. She’s a pastry chef with a passion for baking and that’s what she now does at her extremely popular studio café. Every day, while she overlooks 180 degrees of Atlantic Ocean, Chadé creates exquisite cakes and breads.
Towering carrot cakes, baked cheesecakes, red velvet and hummingbird cakes, beautiful cupcakes and her pièce de résistance, a Lindt mud chocolate cake, are on offer.
Coffee comes in many permutations and the Whale Tale blend can be bought and brewed at home. Breakfasts, including Eggs Benedict, and delicious light lunches are accompanied by freshly baked breads and Chadé’s home-grown veggies. Her little café is wildly popular, even though it’s only been open for 18 months.
Always sundrenched, it’s the perfect spot to watch whales in winter while you sip your soup. “Who wouldn’t want to live here?” asks Chadé, as she hands me a slice of carrot cake. Oh, and don’t feed Freddie the resident Yorkie, because he already has too much energy.
Closed Tuesdays, booking essential, catering for functions large and small.
153 Dassen Island Road; 022 451 2292
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Cup of Cake, Saldanha
When you meet Sanet Eigelaar you’ll see baked creations almost too beautiful to eat. Sanet was an accountancy teacher but gave it up for baking. “I started selling my little cupcakes at markets,” she says, “and baked them all in espresso cups, to be a real cup of cake. It’s how the shop got its name.”
Sanet’s marbled cheesecake looks painted and her cupcakes are simply delicious. Catch a whiff of the feather-light red velvet and black velvet offerings and you’ll need a seat. The rainbow cupcake has the colours of the rainbow running through the cake and icing, and has to be tasted to be believed.
Sanet also draws on coffee and whatever you choose, from an espresso to a macchiato, it has a personalised picture on top. Light lunches are served and there are different daily specials like Sanet’s gourmet burger with camembert and figs. She says her menu is “small, simple and fresh”, but ‘divine’ should really be added.
Closed Sundays and Mondays; catering done for functions too.
Die Leef Sentrum, Saldanha Road; 022 714 0696
The Marmalade Cat, Darling
While Sandi Collins was painting the floor of her still nameless coffee shop in Darling in 2005, a marmalade cat sauntered in for a look around – and in the process christened the shop. These days The Marmalade Cat is the darling of the town.
Everything from traditional milk tart and apple crumble to lemon meringue and baked cheesecake is served with, quite coincidently says Sandi, Caturra Coffee – even the coffee is an ode to cats. For sale are comical knitted marmalade cats, cat mugs and a wide range of wondrous gifts. There are even knitted cupcakes, although the real thing is still first choice.
The Marmalade Cat is also a prime example of coffee shop comfort. Tables and chairs are all different, so take your pick. Beautiful presentation and home-cooked favourites epitomise this much-loved eating spot that also serves a range of breakfasts and other light and local meals – like snoek fishcakes.
Open every day except Christmas and New Year; Friday night is pizza night, but book well in advance.
19 Main Street; 022 492 2515
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Albatros Tea Garden, Velddrif
Tucked away in an enchanted garden are nooks under tumbling bougainvillea and shady trees, where a cup of coffee and home-baked apple crumble has never tasted better. Chocolate cake squares, tipsy tart and scones await the hardcore sweet-tooths. Breakfast is served all day here because owners Terry and Jacqui Hattingh believe this meal tastes good any time. Even simple toasted sandwiches have a special twist, and are served with fruit, salad and crisps to include all the food groups.
There’s also a deep veranda, just the spot for a light lunch or afternoon tea. A thoroughly West Coast gift shop, crammed with once-off creations, occupies a special spot in the garden, and inside is seating for visitors wanting to shop and dine simultaneously.
Albatros Tea Garden has been a Velddrif favourite for more than a decade and has hosted plenty of happy occasions, even weddings. It’s a slice of West Coast soul with an atmosphere that’s cosy and welcoming, and Kuli the collie is always in attendance to keep you company as you enjoy your refreshments.
Closed Mondays, but always phone ahead.
In Voortrekker Road; 022 783 0676
Beans About Coffee, Riebeek Kasteel
If you drink only one cup of coffee in Riebeek Kasteel, do it at Beans About Coffee. On the edge of the town square, the establishment is a truly remarkable find in this small Swartland town. The décor is ingenious, with cushions stitched from real coffee bags, but owner Thomas Jamneck is the real genius behind this freshly ground coffee concept.
Here you can choose your beans and they will be ground and brewed to perfection for you. Or tell Thomas what your coffee tastes are and he will whip up a storm. If you can’t decide, the Sidewalk Blend is exceptional, even more so when complemented by a hefty slice of baked cheesecake with berry coulis. There are many more sweet treats to choose from and breakfasts are also wildly popular, especially the unique bacon and egg nest.
Take home a bag of your favourite beans, and when they’re finished, Thomas will arrange to send you more. If you’re serious about coffee, Beans About Coffee is an essential stop. But pace yourself because there’s a lot to taste with beans from Honduras to El Salvador, Ethiopia to Burundi, as well as Peru, Uganda and Kenya. The list is long.
Fontein Street; 082 901 2113
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- Café Graze, Vredenburg, 022 713 5085. For an excellent variety of cakes and light meals. Located near Pick n Pay, open daily.
- St Helena Nursery Coffee Shop, St Helena Bay 022 736 1564. For snoek quiche and moist red velvet cupcakes, with a full sea view. Also a wonderful nursery, open daily.
- Leoni’s Coffee Shoppe, Strandfontein, 027 215 1522. For sublime and freshly brewed coffee and cheesecake. Phone ahead.
- Abalone House, Paternoster, 022 752 2044. Not a coffee shop, but elegant high teas are served in the sun-splashed Orchid Room, surrounded by indigenous gardens and with the Atlantic on the horizon. Booking essential.
Words and Photography Keri Harvey