Where to go for foraging, fynbos tastings and apothecary workshops
Mango Ginger coffee shop - spice and sprouts
A daytime, boutique bakery-cum-eatery makes eating out healthily a treat
Fiona knows that the lowly sprout has a destiny greater than garnish. She acts on it decisively, using it as a tool to invest in her guests’ good health. A London trained pastry chef, this Southbank University graduate also knows which flour is gluten free, and which one won't flop if you're trying making a wheat free birthday cake. She specialises in preparing meals and treats for those on "allergy and exclusion diets" that are as delicious as they are healthy. This low priced, high quality Cape Town eatery injects love into every fresh dish, whether it's baked or braised. If you're focused on freshness and taste, this is your breakfast/lunch/pop in place; the quality is in the ambience and the details.
Its quaint, sidewalk-cafe style invites you outside on sunny days and inside on chilly, rainy ones. The small room buzzes busily at lunchtime with a mix of coffee drinkers, professional creatives armed with apples, and friends from far and near gathering to guzzle the goodness.
I first came into contact with Mango Ginger when Fiona made my friend's wedding cake on special request. She'd opted for a cascading waterfall of cupcakes (pictured above) smothered in baby pink icing. Clever, I thought, grabbing one for me. Low sugar, gluten free, it was delicious and, I dare say, nutritious. Glitter and gilt you want at a wedding, yes; not guilt.
Mango Ginger is low GI - "simple and honest"
We read health warnings about gluten in magazines, on the back of cereal boxes and bread packets, sometimes uncertainly. "Gluten is a substance in cereals like oats barley wheat and rye that we are technically resistant to" says Fiona Sleigh the owner and inspiration behind this sunny spot on the cuisine carpet. "Those with sensitive stomachs tend to feel bloated and sluggish after eating." I'm one of those who actually falls asleepaftera pasta alfredo or a pizza, and others I know suffer from gluten related conditions like Coeliac disease and Candida, both of which have seriously co-dependent relationships on substances prevalent in most processed foods (sugar, wheat, dairy). All the more reason to source intelligent eateries that can cater to awkward eating plans. Who wants to fall asleep over a bowl of Chow Mein in public, anyway?
"I feed a niche market" Fiona says. Mango Ginger prepares wheat free cakes and gluten free goodies. The chocolate brownies are heavenly. The upmarket eatery with down to earth prices specialises in cost effective daytime dishes and substitute short grain organic brown rice for processed white rice. You don't need to be a health nut, either.
Try a wheat free, chicken and leek pie, wheat free lamb, butternut and chickpea pie, salad meals that will fill you up and wraps made to share. The chef's selection from the specials includes the irresistible Aubergine involtini, super steak sandwich and the aromatic chevin (goat's cheese), asparagus and sage omelette.
The low-down : feeding your desire for wholeness
The wraps are big (28cm, and filled to overflowing). Try to finish one with Teriyaki marinated beef cubes with chilli butternut, mange tout, spring onion, rocket and homemade chilli mayo. Or a share a vegetarian version with gorgonzola, ricotta, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato slivers. The bakery's decadent delicacies are sweet or savoury.
Using only unbleached, organic flour, the bakery presents spinach and feta, choc& hazel, almond, plain croissants. The chocolate cake smothered in ganache (50% choc 50% cream icing) is a winner, as is the wheat-free carrot cake with cream cheese icing. The gluten free chocolate and ginger cake has a fine following. Try the muffin of the day which might be wheat free, or even sugar free, or both; keep your eye out for chocolate and pear. Whilst modest, Mango Ginger isn't shy, and they claim to make the best lemon tart on the planet.
No, Mango Ginger does not have an alcohol licence, but it does have a juice bar. Try a mix of freshly extracted apple, orange and beetroot with a twist of ginger. Or make your own combination. You won't miss out on shots, because, like most discerning establishments who take themselves and you seriously, they also serve speciality beverages such as the red espresso made from Rooibos leaves. Have a double, why don't you?
If you follow a demanding diet, you can still be part of the Cape Town discerning cuisine culture. The tasty, low-Gluten, low-sugar eat-in and take away treats and eats at Mango Ginger are in demand and on order.
27 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2500 | www.mangoginger.co.za
Monday - Friday: 7.30am - 5pm andSaturday: 8am - 3pm.
Mango Ginger does medium sized catering (functions, conferences, corporate training) – 3 days notice with deposit. Cake orders require 2 days notice.
image of wedding (cup)cake courtesy is www.hallucinarium.com