08:30 - 17:00 Mon to Sun (Breakfast until 12h00)
Price Range (p/p)
There’s a new halaal coffee shop on the block. Café 51 is situated on Roodebloem Road in Woodstock and is a beautiful property converted into a spa with an adjacent coffee shop. We were invited to try them out recently for a leisurely Saturday brunch.
There is ample road parking on both sides, I managed to find a spot easily right at the entrance where there is a lovely garden area as you walk into the café.
On entering I was pleasantly surprised by the setting, which was light and airy. Almost giving me the feel of a high tea seating area at a hotel. The high ceilings, clean lines with white accents and black floral wrought iron as well as the plush colourful chairs created a space that was both welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. The space also gets heaps of natural light- which is always a big plus for me.
My friend and I were seated near the back and were greeted by our friendly server, Herby. After spending a few minutes perusing the menu and getting some guidance from Herby, we decided on the salmon avo salad to start. For mains, I chose the crisp warm salmon on toast and my friend chose the legend beef burger with fries. We ordered the Oreo milkshake and the Pina Colada frio for drinks.
The seating area is on the small side and can currently accommodate up to about 40 people, however they were working on expanding the area. While we were seated inside, they were putting up a tented covering for the outside patio area. The owner, Mr Khan, came and chatted to us for a few minutes while we waited for our food. He explained that he acquired the property during 2020 and intended to use it as an Air BnB. However, with Covid-19, he needed to create a new vision for the space. He decided to open the spa in May 2021 and realized there was an opportunity to utilise the remaining space for a coffee shop.
Mr Khan also discussed his plans to expand the menu offering in the next few months and aims to include some Indian fare, he says a restaurant menu feels incomplete without a good curry. He also wants to include some steak and pasta options. Their trading hours will also change from September, they will be open for dinner on weekends.
Café 51 also offers their space as a venue for events such as bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties and wedding functions. While we were there, they were setting up for a baby shower. They offer packages for these events as well as offer a High Tea menu for 10 guests or more.
Our drinks arrived first, I enjoyed my Oreo milkshake which was not overly indulgent and topped with an Oreo biscuit which I thought was a nice touch. My friend enjoyed her frio but we both felt the pineapple flavour was a bit too subtle for a Pina Colada. Our waitron had suggested the Kiwi frio as their most popular option. The salmon and avo salad was fresh, crunchy and delicious. We added Balsamic vinegar and this really added more depth to the flavour. I loved the addition of sunflower seeds which added extra crunch. They used Norwegian smoked salmon and not trout which many restaurants use instead.
Our mains were served soon after. My breakfast meal was simple but tasty with the flavours working well together. The health bread was right up my alley. It was topped with avo, scrambled eggs, crisp warm salmon and dill. I was a bit skeptical about the warm salmon as I usually have the smoked salmon with my breakfast orders, but this definitely gets a stamp of approval from me. The serving was generous and I ended up taking half of it home.
The burger came with a very unique item: a pair of black plastic gloves to eat with. We had a good chuckle as this was innovative but also interesting and a first for us. She decided to ditch the cutlery and use the gloves to eat her burger instead. The fries were warm and crispy outside, fluffy inside, with a nice seasoning. The burger itself was tasty but we felt the slice of cheese as well as cheese sauce was overpowering the flavour of the actual burger patty.
For dessert we ordered the Moroccan mint tea, hot chocolate, french toast and almond croissant. Herby suggested the Moroccan mint and boy, I was not disappointed. The TWG tea brand is always such a winner. The hot chocolate was also good with little mini marshmallows adding some extra flair. The almond croissant was pretty standard as far as croissants go. The real piece de resistance was the brioch french toast with caramelized banana, mascarpone, fresh cream and maple syrup. Yumminess in every bite!
The menu offers a range of breakfasts, wraps, toasties, bagels/croissants, salads and burgers. For dessert they have a selection of pastries, scones, croissants and muffins. The drinks menu consists of a range of coffees, teas, cooldrinks, juices, frios, smoothies and milkshakes. The prices range from R80-R145 for the breakfast or light meals. Drinks range from R22-R60. A meal on average would cost about R140 per person.
Overall, we had a delightful brunch experience in a beautiful space. All the staff were welcoming, and Herby was terrific – she truly gave us service with a smile. She had thorough knowledge of the menu and was incredibly helpful in advising us, particularly when everything looked inviting, and I was indecisive. The food was delicious and fresh. If I had to choose: my favourites were the crispy warm salmon on health bread breakfast, the brioche french toast and the Moroccan mint tea.
If you’re after a quick cuppa, a leisurely breakfast or light meal with friends and family this would be ideal.
By Rafieka Banderker
Accountant by profession, writer at heart. Avid traveller, adrenaline junkie and bookworm.
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life”- Rumi
The above quote pretty much sums me up. I live life to its absolute fullest!