CAFÉ ROYALE: Coffee shop fare in Parisian style
Review by Bianca Coleman
The strip of restaurants beneath the Cape Royale in Green Point turns over with alarming speed. Café Royale is the latest incarnation of the hotel’s own space, having previously been the 1800 Grill and the Banting Kitchen.
The space has been drastically reduced, and the little coffee shop is Parisian in style. My partner in wine, Diva, has visited the City Of Light and she confirmed this, particularly with regards the décor style. There are murals on the ceilings, marble table tops, and those distinctive wicker chairs you see at every pavement café in Paris. The menu is in French and English, and many of the dishes have a French influence.
Breakfast is served all day, and options are extensive. You can pop in for a Hausbrandt Coffee (one of the oldest original Italian coffee roasters, dating back more than 120 years) and a croissant, or a slice of magnificent chocolate gateau. Healthy options include homemade granola muesli with Greek yoghurt, honey, cinnamon and toasted nuts; seasonal fresh fruit with rosemary syrup; ciabatta toast with anchovy; and hot oats with cinnamon. Diva loves porridge so she ordered this to start, with butter and cold milk on the side. It was brunch so technically we were allowed to have a combination of breakfast and lunch dishes. I decided beginning with something sweet was my Friday prerogative so I had a pain au chocolate with a cappuccino. You can be truly decadent and add Nutella if you want. I balanced this with a cold pressed green juice – apple, mint, and cucumber.
Hearty breakfast specialities include eggs in many guises – poached on an English muffin (yes I know the French bit isn’t really apparent yet, but bear with me), in an open or closed omelette, scrambled plain or with extras like chorizo, peppers and cheddar cheese, or smoked salmon, chives and cottage cheese; or done any way you like with bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, and toast. Another choice is a Croque Madame topped with a fried egg. Madame is the same as Monsieur except for the egg, and is basically a toasted ham and cheese sarmie, but better.
On the flip side of the menu are the light meals, baguettes, quiche of the day, salads, and desserts – crepes, crème brulee, and apple tart tartin. You don’t get much more French than that. I chose the smoked salmon and artichoke cream on a savoury waffle, and Diva had the Caesar salad, but asked them to hold the chicken. It was well dressed and delicious. My dish was rather rich and the waffle was crispy. We cut through the creaminess of our meals with a glass of bubbly and a glass of wine. These are not on the actual menu, but it is a hotel and you can order whatever beverage you please.
Besides the main menu, there are daily lunchtime specials. Café Royale is open to the general public as well as hotel guests, and there is a small outdoor courtyard for al fresco dining. The press release stated the venue is “equipped with fibre optic internet for seamless, high-speed, uninterrupted online experience” and “positions itself as an ideal drop-in destination for business meetings and corporates, or for visitors from abroad with an acquired taste for faster internet.” However, we found the WiFi to be slow to the point of don’t bother. The staff are wonderfully friendly, and the service was excellent.
* Where: 47 Main Road, Green Point. For reservations, call 021 430 0500.
When: Open daily from 7am to 5pm.