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Breaking Bread at Loaves on Long Cafe in Cape Town
Munch on freshly baked bread and other delectable goods at this new city centre-based bakery and eatery
In ancient Greece, bread bakers were held in the highest regard because it was believed that the process of making golden loaves was a great art fuelled by passion and hard work. Fast forward to the 21st century and as I watch passionate baker Ciska Rossouw, one half of the team behind Loaves on Long, a new artisan eatery on Long Street, kneading dough, I can see that the Greeks had the right mindset.
The experience of stepping into the bakery-cum-deli, being enveloped by the warm, delicious smell of bread in the oven and seeing the delightful display of handmade goods before me (think croissants, ciabatta, jam and everything in between) has convinced me that bakers are God’s gifts to earth.
Ciska and her teammate, Lyndal Wakeford, who whips up the scrumptious eats for the restaurant side of the space, met in Stellenbosch while they were both studying towards a hospitality and cheffing qualification, after which they went their separate ways until fate, and a passion for food, bound their journeys once more. It turned out that both women wanted to open their own stores, and so, after a conversation that included the words “business partners” and much planning and preparation, Loaves on Long was officially introduced to the public in April 2015.
And why the focus on bread? “My grandma baked a lot, and from watching her I just fell in love with the idea of creating something from scratch from such simple ingredients – flour and water,” explains Ciska. The science behind it all is quite fascinating: kneading the combination for a certain period of time allows the gluten and the flavours (wild yeast) in the dough to develop so that the concoction can rise. There are many alternatives available, all made with stone ground flour, and visitors can opt for ciabatta, rye, whole wheat or even gluten-free loaves. All of these can be taken home or enjoyed in the cosy shop itself.
The bread features in many of the restaurant’s simple, honest breakfast and lunch items, which are all inspired by personal stories. “I remember my sister waking up and insisting on having mince on toast each morning. And now, this dish is on the menu,” says Lyndal, shedding light on the tale behind the minced meat and fried egg on sourdough option. What’s more, all these dishes are made from ingredients that are hand-picked (Ciska and Lyndal go mushroom picking at Newlands Forest, for example) or sourced from suppliers that place huge emphasis on freshness and quality.
So needless to say, I’m eager to have a first-hand experience of the menu. I’m sitting on the bottom floor of the double-storey building at a corner table near the oven, and am thrilled when Lyndal treats me to bite-sized versions of some of her favourite sandwiches on the menu: the slow-roasted pork belly with caramelised onion and apple on ciabatta, the rare roast beef loaf and the roasted veggie option with feta and balsamic dressing (visitors are able to choose what type of bread they want with their sandwiches). In addition to these, guests can also enjoy salads, soups (I've heard great things about the wild mushroom option) and sweet eats like croissants, muffins and brownies.
My time here draws to a close as Ciska finishes preparing a batch of pain au chocolat and Lynda puts the fresh sirloin in the oven to roast. After speaking to these women and seeing them in action, I’ve developed a deep sense of respect and admiration for all the hard work and passion that they put into everything they do. While we’re no longer in ancient Greece, it’s good to know that there are artisan bakers and chefs out there who are worthy of great praise.
Tip: Loaves on Long offers a range of other services too: folk interested in food can take part in the eatery’s interactive, hands-on bread-making and cooking courses; those wanting personalised bulk orders of baked goods or eats can just chat to the owners; and those keen to book the venue for a private event are more than welcome to do so. For more information call +27 (0) 21 422 3353 or email email@example.com.
The Bill: Loaves on Long is reasonably priced. Breakfast items range between R45 and R65; lunch eats are priced from R65 to R85; gourmet sandwiches go for R45; and toasted croissants ring in between R30 and R35. Sweet treats like muffins, brownies and croissants cost between R12 and R30, while hot beverages (coffee, hot chocolate and tea) are priced between R12 (espresso single shot) and R25. Cold drinks sit between R10 and R18. Deli items, like homemade jams and dips, ham, salami, chilli, free-range eggs, mushrooms, cheese and more, cost between R10 and R225.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 6pm; Saturday: 8am – 4pm
33 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 422 3353
by Dudu Luthuli
Master the art of baking with Loaves by Madame Baker’s masterclass.
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