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Cape Town Food Scene - Jason's & Rosetta

The perfect croissant – this is a topic not to just briefly touch on but many buttery hours could be spent indulging in these beauties. As in the case with coffee, it could easily lead to civil uproar, tempers being lost and even friendships being tarnished. A recent visit to the Mother City led me to two places which piqued my interest, so I had to drop in and check them out for myself.

Jason’s Bakery is situated at 185 Breë Street, Cape Town City Centre. I understand the Breë Street culinary revolution was basically started by the owner of this energetic and warm haven in the centre of Cape Town. On our first visit I was quickly corrected by the friendly salesperson that they don’t serve cappuccinos, only flat whites. He also raised his eyebrow at my second question as to what is nice to eat: ”Sir, everything here is excellent,” he enthusiastically offered.

Our first stop was only a quick pick-up. The smallish corner shop can actually be divided into two entirely different worlds. On the one side you have a street-side outlet, where people can quickly stop for coffee and some of their freshly baked creations on their way to the office. These delicacies will definitely be forbidden by Uncle Tim Noakes. Inside it’s a very different world, where you are greeted by even more enthusiastic waiters who help you forget minor problems like carbs ever existed. The feeling inside is not that of a conventional coffee shop with tables and chairs, but more like a pub with people sitting on bar chairs at counters or standing around, giving it a warm, buzzy feeling. I loved the robust wooden pub feeling, which didn’t compromise a single scintilla of classiness. Our first visit included indulging in croissants - butter, chocolate and almond. My angel also tried one of their pies, which she highly recommends. Well, the reason for my friend initially lifting his eyebrow when asked about nice was thoroughly understood.

My second visit was with a Capetonian who hadn’t known of this place. Being under Uncle Tim’s strict orders, this was a challenge for him, to say the least. We ordered some flat whites and an almond croissant for me. Then our waiter convinced me to try the chocolate equivalent. I declined, he persisted and I simply flaked under the pressure (pun absolutely intended). This is exactly why I use the word “creations” when I describe their baked goods. It’s not mere pastry, but truly lip-smacking creations.

While all of Cape Town was bracing for one of the worst storms in the last few decades, we were sipping our flat whites, waiting for my bus back home.

Rosetta Roastery in Woodstock is a fascinating visit for any coffee purist. They pride themselves on being passionate about coffee that is as unique and character-filled as the people who drink them. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill mall coffee shop. BuzzFeed described them as one of the 25 coffee shops to visit before you die. Rosetta started as a roastery with a vision to source only single origin coffee. They partner with wholesale clients who want to serve the best quality coffee. The absolute overwhelming request from customers led them to open the coffee shop. This place is not Starbucks or Mugg & Bean; it is a coffee experience on a whole different level. However, it probably isn’t to everyone’s liking.

Rosetta has a bit of a different approach to roasting. They are not trying to hide something with a dark roast, but rather prefer to use a medium or light roast and pair these processes with their single origin beans to create the perfect taste. Therefore they only use two classifications for roasting: Classic or Progressive. With the progressive roast they aim to enhance the inherent raw flavours and with the classic roast, the more traditional roasting flavours. This makes for a unique taste experience.

We tried a Flat White Poda and were both satisfied with the strong robust taste of the Indonesian coffee beans from Sumatra. It was creamy with very little bitterness and a faint sweetness. They used a classic roast with the beans. Our second taste was of the famed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Biloya beans with a progressive roast. This was not conventional coffee drinking. The fruity flavours were strong. They describe this experience on their website as: “While Lake Como is lovely at this time of year, it’s always ruined by those horrible gaudy celebrity gala red carpets, black ties, orange skin. I rather prefer more elegant thrills; the subtle scent of freshly sliced apricots, a fragrant cup of Earl Grey tea, and the warm citrus scent of marmalade on toast.” If you are thinking this is strange and makes no sense, that maybe somebody smoked something, you are absolutely correct. What we tasted made no conventional sense. I loved it, yet my friend did not.

Rosetta has a very contemporary look, you might think that you are in a coffee lab somewhere with the roastery visible through the glass window and the cold brew apparatus and pour-over filters standing around everywhere. They specialise in coffee and don’t really serve food, but if coffee is your love, you should definitely go. This high-school-science-lab-turned-high-tech-coffee-factory fully engages the true coffee aficionado.

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