A fluffy soufflé pancake (or two) at Torii at Tjing Tjing House
The Cookie Yard Cafe and Biscuit Shop in Observatory
Indulge in fresh homemade biscuits, cakes, rusks and light savoury eats at this cosy new haven of goodness in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs
That’s the first thing I feel the moment I enter The Cookie Yard, a fresh-out-the-oven café that’s perched on Tasman Road in the hip Southern Suburb of Observatory. And it’s not just the fact that it’s a tad bit cold outside that makes the space so cosy and inviting, but also the cinnamon and chocolate-infused aroma, the enticing display of every kind of biscuit you can imagine and the owners’ welcoming smiles, which all give a glimpse of what the new spot stands for before I even ask.
I’m greeted by Ryan Jossel, Lisa Rouhana and Allan McCreadie, who together make up three parts of the four-man partnership behind The Cookie Yard. Each of them has brought along their own expertise and passion to create a space that offers folk a delightful array of sweet and savoury goods. From giant chocolate chip cookies and crunchy rusks to simple sandwiches and healthy smoothies, the spot is, as Ryan puts it, “filled with an abundance of biscuits and things that we absolutely love to eat and drink.”
While the small industrial-meets-comfortable venue is a new enterprise, the part of the business that makes the baked goods (a company named Bags of Bites) is not. Its granules can be traced back 13 years to the day when co-owner Karen Jossel (Ryan’s mother, who completes the four-man team) baked up a biscotti-flavoured storm in her kitchen and took the treats to a dinner party with friends. It turns out that one of the guests at the get-together was a Spar shop manager who instantly fell in love with the biscuits and asked Karen to make another batch, this time for his store. And so Bags of Bites (then known as Bags of Biscotti) was born.
And now The Cookie Yard looks to give Capetonians an even more intimate, personal experience with the company’s cakes and bakes. “No two biscuits are alike,” explains Ryan. “Each one is rolled and sliced by hand and made with the best ingredients.” Moreover, most of the sweet goodies at the café are made from treasured recipes that have been passed down through the Jossel family over the years. The coffee shop beautifully kneads these age-old recipes together with experimental practices to create products that keep abreast of important foodie and health developments – and so wheat-free and options are available for all (all options are also preservative free).
Though, today I’m in the mood for something sinfully decadent and so I’ve chosen the classic chocolate brownie that’s topped with pecan nuts as my sweet treat of the day (accompanied by a Deluxe Coffeeworks flat white). Folk are able to request that items like the one I’m munching on are cut and weighed to meet desired proportions (fantastic news for a sweet-toothed gal like me). As I sink my teeth into the square’s moist centre and relish its deliciousness, I’m not surprised to hear that this is one of the options that sells like hotcakes. Another favourite is the chewy date and pecan nut square, which is made with the finest dates. Those that are in need of a light snack will also be pleased to know that there is a small yet satisfying variety of sandwiches on offer too.
“Essentially, this is a place of happiness that we want people to love to come to,” explains Lisa. And I can’t help but feel the joy that they intend for all customers to feel as I admire my surroundings: think funky industrial-style lighting with a wood finish, a large rustic table in the middle of the venue (fitted with plug points for laptops and devices), brightly coloured cushions (made by Ryan’s dad) on edgy seating options, herbs growing out of ceramic pots (that I wish were for sale) and plenty of smiling staff, all kept together by calm blue walls.
As I draw my chat with the owners to a close, Allan insists I take another chocolate brownie for the road, and of course I don’t object. And that pretty much sums up what you get at The Cookie Yard: sweet delights all round, topped with warm hospitality that will certainly have you coming back for more.
Tip: The cosy, beautiful venue is available for hire. For more information, call +27 (0) 60 654 1348 or email email@example.com
The Bill: Prices at The Cookie Yard are competitive. Assorted biscuits range from R6 to R25 and the cake of the day is priced at R30 per slice. The sandwiches, which are available on ciabatta, bagel or rye, are priced between R40 and R45 each. Hot beverages range from R12 to R22 for a standard size and from R14 to R26 for a large option. Cold beverages, such as iced coffee, cost between R22 and R26. Smoothies are priced between R26 and R36 and juices all ring in at R25.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 3:30pm
4 Tasman Road (opposite AFDA) | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0) 60 654 1348
*Furniture designed by Pierre Odendaal of Apple Crate Furniture (Greyton)
by Dudu Luthuli
Looking for another quaint coffee shop in this neighbourhood? Then check out The Drawing Room Café and Gallery in Observatory.
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!
Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!