If you’re visiting Cavendish Square anytime soon, and are looking for a new experience, why not pop in to this stylish new café-restaurant-bakery-and-espresso bar? Conveniently located on the ground floor, next door to the uber-chic Callaghan boutique, this new addition is sure to entice savvy shoppers to stop in for their daily caffeine fix. Or, better still, indulge in one of the perfectly presented pastries, viennoiseries, couture patisseries and chocolate bonbons on display in the gorgeous glass-and-wood cabinets.
The cappuccino society
For those expecting an American-style coffee-to-go, you’ve come to the wrong place. Coffee here is served at a more leisurely pace, reminiscent of an elegant Viennese coffee house, arriving on an elegant tray with a shot of palate-cleansing sparkling water and a miniature madeleine, a nice touch. We were impressed by the use of third-wave speciality coffee (made the proper way), and the exquisitely packaged rooibos capsules, but the greenies among us wondered about the use of pods, which is neither artisanal nor planet-friendly…
The rest of the menu
The brainchild of co-founders Wilhelm Liebenberg and Caroline Sirois, Coco Safar is open seven days a week offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea and a plated haute dessert experience for the sweet-toothed. All the patisserie is made fresh on their Woodstock premises, while the food prepared in house boasts a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes, as well as gluten-free and vegan items.
There for an early breakfast with a friend, we chose two dishes to share – the house-cured lamb bacon, Gruyère, roasted red pepper and spring onion frittata served with potato zucchini rösti and an unusual citrus salad; and a gluten-free lemon-poppy waffle with a warm berry compote, crème fraîche and Canadian maple-syrup drizzle.
The frittata served unusually in a round oven bowl was tasty, but we found the bacon a tad salty. The accompanying citrus salad is an unusual combination that worked well for breakfast, but as an accompaniment to the frittata, we’re not so sure. The gluten-free waffle was more to my liking, crisp on the outside topped with crème fraîche – and the berry compote was delicious.
Too full to try the pastries, we lingered over the patisserie selection and would have chosen the apple galette or the gorgeous multi-coloured alfajores – a South American macaron made from buckwheat, filled with unusual fruity flavours.
Among the five lunch items, you’ll find a choice of two savoury tarts and lamb bobotie, all served with a choice of petite soup and a micro salad, which we’ll definitely try on our next visit.
The vibe & the service
The stylish chocolate-and-vanilla coloured décor with pops of green leather and luxurious shop fittings add glamour to the dining experience (and to Cavendish as a whole). Service is attentive, friendly and knowledgeable, especially by Nathan, the duty manager on the morning. There are no bookings so get there early to ensure you’ll find a table.
Insider tip: For a quick coffee, stop at Coco Safar’s espresso bar located just outside the entrance to the restaurant. Served at 70 degrees, the coffee is suitable to drink immediately. I like mine a tad hotter but you can ask the barista to prepare it that way if you do too.