Vredehoek eatery offers food, fashion and flowers

Raw has, unfortunately, recently closed.

I like having a local. Somewhere around the corner or down the road from my place, somewhere to go when I’m too lazy to cook, too hung over to think, too happy to do anything but enjoy myself, or too busy to do anything but combine work, rest and play. The one in my area is already well loved by many, so I think I’ll go to Raw.

If you’re in the suburbs above the city bowl, each area seems to have a special spot to meet and eat at. Melissa’s on Kloof, Daily Delhi in Tamboerskloof, Yum and Deer Park Cafe near Deer Park, Lazari close to Gardens centre, Narona on the way to the East precinct. Now Vredehoek has new friends, in the form of Durbanites Tyrone Rawlins (hence the name ‘Raw’) and Victoria Jackson.

The couple saw opportunity to open a rustic daytime eatery that does a little more than fill your tummy. In fact, a lot more. Their mantra is food, fashion, flowers; their mission to create a lifestyle space that will host, feed, and, in weeks to come, offer guests a selection of local fashion, gifts, art, and designer goodies.

This is a secret, however, and perhaps that’s the secret of their instant impact on the area. They’re still  in the first fortnight of being unofficially open, and already the venue enjoys rushes from residents intent on grabbing a take away coffee, a sit-down breakfast, a lunch with a view.

Food, flowers and fashion

We sat down and let Tyrone sketch the plans for the display and sale of flowers in buckets.  Victoria explained that the space will host select clothing because she feels “there is no open space for Capetonian fashion.”  

I popped inside to explore the interior. The place has an inviting, minimal feel. Chefs Megan and Darren are busy. They’re experimenting with cupcakes and I’m a happy guinea pig. Not a very bright one, though, because by the time I return to the table to pick up on strands of the Raw story, I’m quite full from it. We scan the menu and the debate begins. Wrap or, mini burgers? Bruschetta or quiche? We succumb to gluttony, order four dishes, and ask more questions.

They get their Parma ham from Peacock and got their chefs from Gumtree, of all places. Mind you, these are fine dining graduates from the Silwood School Of Cookery, and the dishes look the part, coming out in an array of bright colours and simple, beautiful presentations. The couple enjoy giving young talent a chance, and keep the menu flexible.

“The emphasis is on fresh, quirky, fun foods” says Victoria.

Tyrone elaborates a little: “We wanted to offer fine dining look and taste, but with substantially sized meals.” 

The prices are competitive, in fact I’m not sure I could make the same dish at home for the same price. If I had the imagination, I mean.

Tasty, light and fresh

The sesame prawn noodle salad has shredded cucumber and spring onion, is tasty, light and fresh. Antonia picks at mine, and I’m impressed at her lack of bias against vegetables. We mistook the poached pear in her Parma ham salad for plum until we tasted it. We enjoyed the combination of savoury and sweet caught between walnuts, dried cranberries, rocket, brie and Parma ham skewers. When it came time to wrap it up, we dug into each others’ dishes, polishing off a Moroccan chicken wrap with basil and roast baby tomatoes.

The salmon wrap has an orange blossom dressing, a delicate combination for a mild mannered wrap. Tyrone suggested we try a bruschetta with brie, native blueberry relish and Parma ham. We thought it was rather a good idea, and so did our taste buds. And we thought we were full until the carrot cake arrived all lathered in icing, and along with it, a secret spot in my stomach opened up and said ‘feed me’ in a quiet voice only I could hear.  I obeyed.

Breakfasts are equally interesting, savoury croissants with fillings; the ‘model’ breakfast has homemade granola with fruit, honey and Bulgarian yoghurt. Lighter options include smoothies and waffles to die for.

The restaurant doesn’t own a deep fryer and favours fresh, healthy proportions. The couple claim it’s “food made with effort and care.” I beg to differ. It’s food made with passion and love. And at this rate, it looks like I may just have to move to Vredehoek to be closer to my new local.

Raw is open

07:30 for coffee
08:00 – 11:30  breakfast
11:45ish – 17:00ish for lunch
7 days a week.

Handy: a DVD rental shop next door.
Notable: Victoria has previously managed Pepenero, Chilli n Lime and others.
Interesting: Tyrone is a former professional kite surfer and Victoria a qualified psychologist who runs an events company on the side.

By Jess Henson

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21 Derry Street | Vredehoek

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