REVIEW: Eat. New in my neighbourhood

dsc_001.jpg I’m loving my new hood, particularly when explored on daily walks. Moving to Oranjezicht means leafy streets and parks, friendly families and gorgeous Victorian or Georgian homes.

What a delight to recently discover a brightly-painted space called Eat, up the road from Gardens Shopping Centre. Owner Carolyn Singer has an effective way of luring passersby inside. She offers a nibble of something to taste, and her cooking does the persuading. On my first walk by it was a star-shaped shortbread biscuit; she bakes these daily for serving with coffee. At near closing time when I walked past her son was helping her roll biscuit dough for more.

The purple and fuschia Eat space is filled to the brim with edible goodies, beautifully displayed. Here it’s all in the details. In fact shelves are so full there is barely space for tables and chairs, which explains why there are only a few options on the chalkboard menu. dsc_008.jpg

We returned on Saturday morning to sample one of the chalkboard items. The ‘all-day breakfast’ is a filling portion of scrambled egg with rashers of crispy bacon served with freshly baked rosemary ciabatta-style bread - amazing value. Not mad about the coffee used, Mocambo, but that’s a personal thing. The buffet table lunch spread looked inviting but eating more was impossible so we took home cupcakes (R9) for later. The carrot cupcake was a winner, the chocolate ganache lacking moisture and intensity. Vanilla, or multi-coloured rainbow cupcakes with vibrant multi-coloured piping are other options.

Singer lives in the area and has been a caterer for seven years, relying only on word of mouth. She prepares a selection of cooked savoury dishes and salads for the buffet table every morning, and theses are sold by weight – home-smoked chicken in a lightly curried orange sauce were part of that. The chicken diavalo and fish drizzled with salsa verde looked good alongside spinach quiche, roasted veggies and creative salads. dsc_007.jpg

A convenient option for I-don’t-feel-like-cooking evenings are homemade soups and ready-made meals and desserts sold frozen in small, medium and large sizes. Some are pricier than ready-made meals at Woolies but would likely offer more flavour. Savoury options include smoky pea or pear and courgette soups, to meals such as chilli con carne to chicken pie, tuna lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise. Sweet treats include cheesecake, chocolate mousse and malva pudding, chocolate bread and butter pudding or peppermint crisp dessert.

As people wandered in and out, Singer offered them tastes. It’s how I ended up trying delicate rose water meringues at breakfast. Cherry buttermilk rusks, chocolate salami, chocolate brownies, bags of Greek shortbread balls, and slices of chocolate tart also tempt. And soon as my freezer empties sufficiently to stock ice-cream I’ll return to buy a jar of homemade caramel sauce (R40). Bottled savoury goods are made here too: homemade Egyptian dukha, pesto, harissa, sweet ‘n sour sauce, selling for R30 to R40.

Spend: R40 for an all-day breakfast. Lunch is charged per weight of meats, salads or quiches. Frozen meals: soups from R45, most small frozen savoury meals at R40 for small, R120 for medium, R220 for large. Sweet items start at R25 for small, R45 for medium and R250 for large. Sorbets at R60 per litre.

Value: Fair pricing considering that everything is homemade.

Flavour rating: Good food, lots to look at and lots to take away. Seating space is limited.

EAT, 31 Breda Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel 021 461 6678. Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, Saturday 8am til 3pm.