A fluffy soufflé pancake (or two) at Torii at Tjing Tjing House
Supper Club at The Larder Café in Claremont
Enjoy expertly created home-style dinners at this quirky Southern Suburbs haunt
The first thing I notice about Sonja Edridge is her infectious smile as she greets my partner and I at the door. Tonight we are at The Larder Café in Claremont – a quaint and well-established eatery tucked neatly away in the Southern Suburbs, known for its homemade and wholesome baked goods and daytime menu options. Ushering us to our little table located in the cosy front outside section of the restaurant, the renowned chef and owner’s warm welcome is inviting and we instantly feel at home.
Although The Larder Café has been around for a while – its first branch located at Block & Chisel in Diep River officially opened its doors in 2011 while its Southern Suburbs outlet hidden behind the hustle and bustle of Cavendish Square was launched in 2014, it is the eatery’s new Supper Club (which began in April 2016 at its Claremont branch) that truly has the neighbourhood – as well as the rest of Cape Town – talking.
“We started the Supper Club as a way to take the work out of weeknights, by offering a fun dinner solution for busy families and friends who like to eat delicious, healthy food”, explains Sonja. “It also allows our chefs to be a little more creative in the evenings. They can make dishes just for the night from whatever is fresh, in season and wonderful from the day’s goods. Our chefs have the opportunity to be whimsical and inventive crafting one dish at a time.”
The Larder Café offers three Supper Club options; Monday Roast Chicken Dinner, Thursday Curry Night and Friday Burger and Pizza Evenings. In addition to the stable main meals on offer every evening, there will also be a selection of starters and desserts to choose from (at an extra cost). Appetizers will include roast tomato soup (served with toasted sage and chilli oil) or vodka smoked salt cured local trout (served with lemon cream cheese, beet hummus and radish and rocket salad) whereas puddings include salted caramel and dark chocolate tart or millionaire shortbread with dark chocolate and pomegranates, to name but a few evening-time delights.
Today is Thursday, which means tonight is dedicated to all things curry. Although the overall theme of the evening will stay the same each week, the style of dish will change weekly owing to what is available at the time. Tonight my partner and I have an assortment of starters – there is a delectable creamy mushroom and thyme soup catching my eye, a vegetarian or chicken butter curry as well as an array of desserts (the raspberry bon bon cheesecake sounds right up my alley) to choose from. Other curries served in the past include Thai massaman curry (a Malaysian inspired dish) as well as a Vietnamese-style curry. Accompanying the main meal will also be a side order of rice or noodles as well as all the necessary sambles.
Moving onto Monday nights, diners can expect a whole free-range Elgin chicken – every week the flavouring of the bird will change, served with a carb (think roast or hassleback potatoes or thick-cut chips), a side of vegetables (whatever is fresh and in season at the time) as well as a homemade sauce (such as a mayonnaise or tasty gravy) – made for four people. In addition, the table will also receive a bottle of Spier wine (red or white) to enjoy with their meal. “Whatever the vibe is that week, we will always try and accommodate around it”, says Sonja. Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and banting foodie options are all available on request.
Friday nights are a little more relaxed and as Sonja describes is the perfect “dude food”, where free-range, pasture-reared burgers – there is a vegetarian option too as well as rectangular thin-based meat or vegetarian pizzas will be the order of the evening. What’s more, every Friday evening between 6pm and 7pm is Happy Hour where all beers and house wines are buy one and get another one for half-price.
With a key focus on the ingredients, produce is carefully vetted and only bought from small local suppliers and producers who do things on a small scale. Using no processed foods, organic wherever possible and only free-range, pastured-reared meats, The Larder Café offers high-quality, honest food where everything from Sonja’s cherry, vanilla and ginger jam down to her courgette and kale soup is homemade, has a clear attention to detail and is, well, absolutely delicious.
“The ingredients themselves are the heroes in our dishes”, enthuses the former private chef to Johnny Depp – Sonja’s signature breakfast is even named after the Pirates of the Caribbean star. “We are trying to keep our Supper Club’s amazing, but also affordable as well as simple as possible. That is the main thing; clean, healthy and gorgeous food.”
To complement the expertly created home-style food, The Larder Café breathes a relaxed and welcoming environment with its quirky and quaint setting offering both inside and outside seating areas. Yellow cheese graters are used as lamp shades, teacups hang from the ceiling above the entrance while various different board games, books and magazines scatter the table tops inviting customers to read and play creating a homely and charming atmosphere.
And that is exactly what we are presented with throughout the evening; wholesome and seasonal fare coupled with relaxed hospitality. And as we say our goodbyes – filled to the brim with the evenings delightful offerings and gushing over the wonderful time we had, Sonja reminds us of The Larder Café’s famous breakfast and being an Edward Scissorhands fan myself, I know I will just have to come back and try it!
NOTE: The Larder Café also offers catering options for a wide range of events and functions – birthday parties, kitchen teas, weddings, family occasions, champagne and canapés, corporate events, team building activities and get-togethers, as well as hosts food and wine pairing evenings and has a high tea menu. For more information, please contact The Larder Café.
Tip: Although walk-ins are welcome, patrons are advised to book their Supper Club spots to ensure a table. Take-away options are also available; however, customers must give The Larder Café ample time to prepare their meal. Please contact The Larder Café directly for more information.
Opening Hours: Supper Club: Monday, Thursday and Friday (only): 5:30pm for 6pm – 9:30pm | Café: Monday to Friday: 7am – 6pm | Saturday: 8:30am – 1:30pm
Happy Hour: Friday: 6pm – 7pm (All beers and house wines are buy one and get another one for half-price.)
The Bill: Monday Chicken Feast: R150p/p (or R600 for four) | Thursday Curry Night: Generally around R100p/p (final price depends on what kind of curry is served that evening) | Friday Burgers and Pizza Evening: Prices usually range between R75 – R95. Starters normally range between R45 and R65 and desserts between R35 and R55. Wine per a glass will cost between R28 and R65 and per a bottle between R85 and R250. For craft beers you are looking at paying between R28 and R35.
by Krysia Gaweda
Photo credit: Mark Wijsman | www.dineguy.co.za, Jan Ras and Toby Murphy
Video credit: Josh Oates
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