It has been accepted for some years now that Cape Town is one of the leading coffee culture cities in the world. In fact, in 2015 Truth Coffee Roasting, the popular steampunk café in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, has been recognized by UK news agency, The Telegraph, as the best coffee shop in the world. But a coffee shop in Bonteheuvel…….?
True, this may be the last place you’d expect to find an actual coffee shop. Its reputation of being rife with gangsterism and ridden with crime would keep most outsiders away. This is partly why Aneesah Seale, a married mother of 4 decided to realise her dream and open up a coffee shop right in the heart of this troubled neighbourhood. Having been born and grown up there, this is her way of giving back and uplifting her community.
An ex wage clerk in various factories, Aneesah eventually became a stay at home mom. She started a cake business from home called That Cake Lady, which took off beyond her expectations. Barely a year later, in February 2019, she took the plunge and opened up That Coffee Shop from the front courtyard of her own house. The space has been enclosed with a canvas marquee and drapes are hung to soften the effect. Rustic wooden tables which were made by her father are adorned with a cheery plastic floral centerpiece. A vintage looking sideboard sports the cakes and treats of the day and the menu is written on a large chalkboard against the wall.
I chatted to her about her inspiration for the coffee shop. She explains that she grew up helping her dad in the bakery that he managed from when she was nine years old. And her love for cooking and baking took roots then. She is a self-taught cook who is inspired by her mother’s home food that she grew up with. Her motto is to keep things simple and use really good ingredients. She keeps up to date with the latest food trends watching cooking shows like Jamie Oliver.
Running a small business is not always easy and she has found a mentor in the Ward Councillor of the area, Angus McKenzie. He motivates her to always push her boundaries and do better. She has found a lot of support in the people of the neighbourhood who are just too glad to have a nice place they can go have a cup of coffee and slice of cake without having to go to a nearby mall. Even tourists from out of town who have seen articles about her on news sites have come to visit wanting to experience an authentic slice of the Cape Flats culture. This is very much part of her vision as more tourism in the area will bring more visible policing which in turn will create a better Bonteheuvel for everyone.
I’ve already had 2 coffees that morning but it’s almost 12pm and I decide a light lunch would be in order. I forego her popular Red Velvet cake and Carrot cake as well as the breakfast items which include a breakfast quesadilla filled with scrambled eggs and topped with cream cheese which looks good on another patrons table and opt for the recommended sticky dunked chicken wings and chips. Aneesah tells me she cooks from the heart so the menu will change on a daily basis.
The wings come in a luscious pile served on a wooden board with a sprinkling of chives and a side of chips. These are proper homemade chunky chips, not the frozen, out of a bag kind you get at many other places. The deep-fried wings are deliciously crunchy under the sweet and hot sauce they have been dunked in. I found them a tad sweet but the heat was spot on. These are not an option if you don’t like hot spicy wings. The serving was generous for R65. Aneesah is mindful of where she is located and keeps her prices affordable for the community. I ordered a juice to go with it and was offered a guava juice. Of the type that I had as a kid growing up. Not something you find on many restaurant menu’s. I loved how refreshing it was in the midday heat.
There was only one other table occupied by two ladies talking business. The neighbourhood was quiet. And there was no music playing to cut the stillness. It was peaceful and serene which is the antithesis of what you’d expect in Bonteheuvel. That Coffee Shop is a beautiful initiative by Aneesah in this area. One that is sure to give another dimension to this notorious piece of the Cape Flats.
Breakfast, Casual Dining, Dinner, Lunch,
Cheap | Under R100,