Make that French connection

2011-02-04 15:33

A good French bakery that makes the

perfect cappuccino is definitely worth a drive.

My other half discovered C’est

La Vie on a club ride through Kalk Bay (on a bicycle not a Harley!), and

insisted on taking me the very next day for breakfast.

He waxed lyrical about its bread, simple food and Parisian setting

in a pretty courtyard off a cobbled road.

The Parisienne breakfast is just so typically French – a mouth­watering baguette with butter and jam

simply served on a bread board. This is accompanied by a cappuccino or café au

lait in a French mug with no handle.

Non- coffee

drinkers can opt for the freshly squeezed orange juice – all this for just R30.

There are other breakfasts on offer which look fantastic but the

Parisienne is what we ride over for. In the words of one of the regular

cyclists: that breakfast is the only reason he rides at all.

I subsequently discovered that this Parisian-style cafe, which is

­secretly tucked away in Kalk Bay, is famous for its French-style sourdough bread and simple menu, and has

been voted one of the top 10 coffee spots by Elle Magazine.

As a favourite stop for cyclists, be aware that a visit too early

in the morning may result in a ­deluge of spandex-clad men and women hobbling in

on their ­cycling cleats.

Other breakfast stops in Kalk Bay include the famous Olympia Cafe.

This is a well-known haunt of regulars to the area and an award-winning eatery,

so you can expect to queue some mornings.

The joy of discovering a city is that we only found out how famous

Olympia Cafe was after we had managed to squeeze in one rainy morning with no

expectations – and the food was glorious.

The décor is simple with ­wooden tables and mismatched chairs.


paintings are all from local artists so it feels very homely and welcoming.


C’est La Vie, the bakery is excellent and the food simple, ­using fresh


They refuse to offer bottled water and according to the menu charge

R0.00 for tap water – thumbs up for environmental awareness.

Over the December period I noticed that Olympia Cafe had put a sign

up especially for the Joburg northern suburb tourists (or semigrants?): “You are

no longer in Sandton, Doll.”

Not sure what message they were trying to get

across, maybe that the service is slower, but so far my experience is that

service in Cape Town is not as bad as Joburg visitors like to make out.

On a return trip to C’est La Vie with visiting family we found the

establishment closed (they are not open on a Monday) and tried out Excuse my

French, a French

creperie situated along the sea front with magnificent views.

We enjoyed the authentic French

crepes but the cappuccino tasted like dishwater so I exchanged it for a filter

coffee which was a great improvement.

Kalk Bay is a real tourist attraction, with an artistic and

eccentric feel. And it is only about 30 minutes from Cape Town city.

» C’est La Vie: Rosmead Road, Kalk Bay;

» Olympia Café: 134 Main Road in Kalk Bay; and

» Excuse My French: 23 Main Road,

Kalk Bay.

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