It was the name that first attracted my attention as I drove past – Chocolat. I blame Joanne Harris, but visions of the delightful café from the novel filled my head, and I knew that I had to stop and have brunch. I mean, how could I pass up a place named after one of my favorite foods? On the chocolate front I was somewhat disappointed, as the chocolate themed items on the menu were limited. Chocolat Café and Décor (to give its full title), styles itself as the place “where ladies meet for tea”. Well it certainly seems to be the place for ladies who brunch. There are several women conducting business meetings, laptops out, discussing what would look better on the website, or the state of sales. Housewives and friends where scattered at the various tables catching up on the local gossip, and toying with delectable looking salads.
Chocolat Café is designed in the style of an up-market Parisian café, with a series of sumptuously decorated rooms in which to dine. Alternatively, you can sit outside on the sidewalk, surrounded by topiary pot plants pretending you are on the streets of Paris. A main feature of the café is the decor; the most striking papered with monochrome wallpaper, and has an elegant gold sofa. The tables are tasteful, with silver sugar pots with sugar cubes on the table, something that I haven’t seen around in years.
I ordered a Latte, my drink of choice at this hour of the day, and had a look at the extensive menu. Deciding that it was closer to lunch than breakfast, I skipped their extensive breakfast options and had a look at what was on offer for lunch. Open sandwiches, with bacon, avocado and feta caught my eye, as well as a range of Tramazini’s, filled with chicken, or a number of fillings, all light and refreshing. There was pasta Alfreddo, or a choice of pancakes. The chicken salad that was delivered to the table next to me looked fantastic. I was in a quandary. So I asked my friendly waitress for advice. She recommended the pot pie, either the chicken and broccoli, or the beef and red wine. Knowing that my waistline would not thank me, said I’ll have one of the chicken pies. The waitress warned me that they are made to order so take a little time, but I was willing to wait.
When it arrived, on my plate was a terracotta flower pot, capped with crisp golden puff, accompanied by chips and a French salad. I scooped off the cap and the pot was filled with succulent chicken and broccoli pieces, in a creamy white sauce. There was perhaps a bit much sauce, but overall it was most enjoyable.
The atmosphere in the café was busy, filled with friendly conversation, and the service was good. I let the waitress talk me into dessert. There are many daily specials, which you should ask about. That day there was cheese cake, carrot cake and warm apple tart. A new addition to the menu is chocolate banana phyllo parcels. However, in tribute to the café’s name, I had to have the Belgian chocolate nougat cake. A dense, rich hunk of chocolate cake duly arrived. Sadly, it was very heavy, and the icing a thick cement that you could feel clogging your arteries. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, and I stopped eating after about four mouthfuls. My chocolate craving unfulfilled.
I can see why Chocolat is so popular, the décor I lovely, and this is clearly one of the trendiest places for housewives in Durbanville to meet. That’s not to say that the odd business man doesn’t pop in too. The food is good, bar the dessert, and the atmosphere great. After brunch I had a quick browse of the attached design studio which sold all manner of items, some of which would make great gifts.
Address & Contact Details:
Chocolat Café can be found at 33 Oxford Street, Durbanville, Cape Town.
Contact them on + 27 (0)21 975 2426.