A charcoal-grey, beautifully maintained Cape Georgian-style building with ornate lace trimmings hides Cape Town’s latest best-kept coffee secret. Ground Art Caffe opened its doors a week or so ago on a corner in Cape Town’s cool quarter, De Waterkant.
Elegant signage and lovely outdoor seating catch your eye from the street, beckoning you inside. Once across the threshold, the vast concrete counter and neat interior – with its art-covered front wall and chic seating area – assure you that you’ve found something unexpectedly good in this gallery-café, a combination that jointly inspired its name.
The staff – a close-knit team of friends and family of proud owners, Ross and Lisa Cormack-Thomson – are extremely efficient and welcoming, and work harmoniously together. And, if the young trio of Dustin (the dedicated barista, who was trained by Truth Coffee Roasting Company), Dylan (in-house art curator and UCT postgrad in Fine Arts Curating) and Glen (resident chef, who trained at Prue Leith Chefs Academy) are not too busy, one of them may have time to bring orders to your table.
Though, generally, you order and collect at the counter to enjoy either a sit-down or takeaway treat, which are caringly packaged in eco-friendly, brown boxes and carry bags. You won’t get a printed till slip; though you can request one via email or SMS. Oh, and and there’s free wi-fi available.
From the ground up
This lovingly shop-fitted café – designed by Lisa and Ross – is not big but still feels spacious and cosy. Ample windows ensure a light and airy space, with views of Table Mountain and the peaceful street, which hairdresser Natasha next door refers to as “Cape Town’s very own 7de Laan, complete with a coffee shop, Italian restaurant, salon (and even a mosque!).”
Ground Art’s unique blend of artisan-roasted pure arabica coffee is rich and naturally low in caffeine, so you can drink to your heart’s content… It’s sourced from their own Pretoria-based master coffee roaster, who, in turn, imports only the finest coffee beans from a London agent. And although they’re currently serving aromatic African blends from Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, they will eventually offer South American blends too. We were pleased to see that the café uses Darling milk, which is hormone-free.
Try a Flat White (R25) or an Espresso (R20), which come with a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth biscotti, which Glen bakes off a recipe handed down to Lisa by her grandmother.
The select menu, found above the main counter, offers a range of coffees, Nigiro teas, juices, pastries, antipasti and ciabatta panini. The lightly toasted ciabatta panini (R50 – R65) are to die for, and generously stuffed with yummy toppings, like roast gammon, salami, melanzane, prosciutto – and even a chili pesto to add a spicy kick!
The pastries, sourced from a local bakery, include soft, buttery almond croissants (R25), and pains au chocolat (R25), which are sinfully good and fresh. As for the teas and juices, these include Apple & Mint or Carrot & Ginger juice, or Nigiro tea blends such as Rooibos, Ceylon, Green and Earl Grey.
Another thoughtful touch is the homemade and locally produced crockery, which is beautifully neutral. In contrast, the tea is served in clear cups and saucers and comes in a cute cast-iron teapot with a timer for the perfect brew.
Wall of art
“The Wall” gives young, emerging artists a chance to exhibit and sell their works, and also ensures fresh, ever-changing decor. It works on a three-week rotation basis, and will feature photographic and cartoon pieces closer to December. Already, the first batch of exhibited art has been readily snapped up.
Plans to expand
Currently, the menu (and operation) has been kept small to ensure the finest quality but the team is keen to experiment and expand as time goes on. (Cakes are definitely next on their list.) What’s more, local businesses can order big coffee orders to-go and, in time, you’ll be able to order bags of their coffee to take home.
Ground Art Caffe is a place of passion and dedication that offers a lovely selection of food, art and, of course, coffee, placing equal importance on all three. Warm service, delicious food and coffee ensure that we’ll be back often.
Monday – Friday, 7am – 5pm
Saturday, 7am – 3pm
Sunday, 7am – 12pm
We recommend the Flat White (R25) and Pain au Chocolat (R25) or freshly baked, lightly toasted Ciabatta Panini (R65), with the roast gammon, rocket and sundried tomatoes, to go.
Contact 021 418 1331, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Ground Art Caffe, 160 Strand Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town