Four & Twenty Café in Cape Town

A touch of Parisian charm in the Mother City’s Southern Suburbs

The little seed that blossomed into Four & Twenty café, a delightful eatery and pantry that sits sweetly in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, couldn’t have been planted in a more appropriate place.

“We were just sitting under the Eiffel Tower enjoying our first box of Ladurée macaroons when we thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to open our own place’,” says Mother City local Marijke Duminy, fondly recounting the story of how she and friend Tracy-Leigh Genricks first cooked up the idea for the Wynberg-based patisserie while on an eating escapade through the utopia of fine food, France. “We made a spur-of-the-moment pact, because Europe just invites spontaneity, and shook on it there and then.”

After a month spent indulging and scribbling down ideas, the two Cordon Bleus chefs – they met at Cape Town’s renowned Silwood School of Cookery – returned home to set up a spot that harnesses the magic of the city that inspired it. Needless to say, what’s evolved is a small pocket of chic Parisian elegance: café chairs sit scattered throughout the open-plan space, black-and-white silent films screen on one wall, a soft, muted palette balances splashes of hot pink, melodious foreign music flows in the background and the heavenly scent of homemade cakes rising dances on the air.

Though, fare-wise, the young founders are far less concerned with mimicking the Mediterranean republic’s culinary offering and far more interested in simply cultivating the same sense of appreciation that the European nation holds for a good meal.

 “We’re not trying to bring France to South Africa; it’s more about just recreating the feeling you get in a place that’s so fascinated with food,” explains Marijke, adding that they view the little pastry shop as a tiny slice of the way life should be: sweet and gentle, warm and exciting.

It goes without saying then that though the menu isn’t all traditionally French, the two charismatic cooks prepare every dish with the same hefty dose of passion that dominates the kitchens of the charming cheese- and wine-loving country. Holding seasonality and locally sourced ingredients as key, they attempt to strike the perfect balance between paying homage to classics and crafting new innovations.

Thus, the all-day breakfast and lunch menu – it evolves organically depending on what’s fresh and available on that day – often boasts both old favourites, like eggs benedict (there’s a healthier Eggs Be-lean option with a light yoghurt hollandaise sauce) and osso buco, as well as fresh twists on standard items, like almond and candied orange peel granola, vanilla bean scones, bruschetta with apple and fennel hummus and linefish served with a white bean, tequila and thyme purée.

Though, the ladies penchant for playing with flavours and conjuring up unconventional combinations is most evident in their pastry and pantry offerings. The confectionery counter is lined with divine, imaginative delights like Pear, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Puff Tartlets; Chocolate Espresso Éclairs; Sour Apple and Hazelnut Cupcakes; Peanut Praline Cheesecake and Lime and Basil Macaroons.

Similarly, the shelves of the pantry section are piled high with a treasure trove of unusual, covetable treats to take home, most of them hand made by the owners. Visitors can expect everything from Fig and Ginger Preserve, Rose Water and Pistachio Meringues and Paw Paw and Chilli Chutney to Rooibos Chai Toffees, Pistachio and Blackcurrant Biscotti, Grapefruit and Raspberry Curd, and Pineapple and Toasted Coconut Marshmallows (“they’re like a beach holiday in your mouth,” Marijke says of the latter).

Not to mention, there’s also an out-of-this-world selection of homemade sorbets and ice creams on the bill: think flavours like pecan pie, fig and hanepoot, and sweet melon and vanilla.

All crafted with love, and all rich with integrity and taste, every item on offer at Four & Twenty café goes some way to making this Southern Suburbs bakery almost as much of a must-visit as, dare we say it, pretty Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

Tip: Four & Twenty café and pantry serves up a few gluten-free options for those with intolerances and also offers free Wi-fi for patrons looking to surf the Net while nibbling.

The Bill: Expect prices that reflect the quality of the food served. Breakfasts range from about R58 to R94, lunch options hover between R72 and R125, ice cream and sorbet scoops go for R20 each, and pastries and confections cost between about R20 and R48 (for mini cakes).

Note: The eatery only takes bookings for groups of five or more.

Opening Hours:  Tuesday – Saturday: 8am – 5pm (hot kitchen opens at 8h30 closes 15h30) ; Sunday: 9am – 4pm (hot kitchen opens at 9am closes 14h30)

23 Wolfe Street |Chelsea Village | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 762 0975

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Looking for other Mother City spots to pick up a delectable pastry? Have a gander at our overview of bakeries in Cape Town.

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