Manna Epicure review

I haven’t eaten at Manna for a while, not because it’s not good, just that there are so many places to try. On the 1st of Jan, many restaurants were closed but Manna was open so I had breakfast there and was glad I did. I had forgotten how good it is. It’s definitely the best breakfast. It does come at a premium, but a premium experience comes at a premium price, that’s how it works.

They were very full on this particular morning but as I was dining alone they found me a space without much difficulty. I ordered my standard poached eggs and bacon (R55) so I could compare the fare with other breakfast spots. There were some appealing sounding alternatives though (scrambled eggs with Norwegian salmon and avocado looked good). The food does take a long time to arrive so I had plenty of time to appreciate the decor. I say appreciate because it is really a beautiful place. Everything is white with occasional flashes of pink and unusual decorations. The walls are surprisingly bare, but there are interesting ‘shell clusters’ hanging from the ceiling as well as little packets of water (can someone tell me what that’s about?). It’s a very relaxing setting, open and airy but not too noisy as there is not that much traffic this far up Kloof Street. I went to check out the toilets and wasn’t surprised to find more interesting decor: unusual ‘chandeliers’ of tea cups and murals drawn with what looked like icing.

 That only passed some of the time, the rest of the time I was watching their awesome bread being made. They make rye and walnut, plain rye and plain ciabattas as well as one with dates in I think. They can be purchased for between R15 and R25 each. The meals are served with these breads and that makes it something special. I enjoyed every bit of the bread that came with my breakfast. The poached eggs were perfect, the bacon was a generous portion and the grilled (rosa?) tomatoes with fresh rocket added a fresh flavour to the plate. The plate was also warm, which meant my breakfast didn’t freeze 20 seconds after delivery.

There always has to be something wrong, so what was wrong with Manna Epicure? Nothing that seriously detracted from the meal but I was surprised when the butter served was those little plastic single serving butters that you would get at Wimpy. The butter was still hard which made spreading it on the fresh bread quite difficult. That just felt a little out of place in such a fine establishment and next to such fine fare. My other complaint is the wait, if you’re hungry or in a hurry, you will really notice it. It’s not a problem if you’re looking for a long relaxed dining experience and have some good company with whom to pass the time. My last negative is not specific to Manna, but they present their salt and pepper in pinch bowls. I know this is quite common these days but I really wonder how hygienic it is? You never know where other people’s fingers have been.

The service was adequate, in fact I ordered a glass of water and it came straight away with ice, lemon and a sprig of mint. I thought they had brought me a cocktail by mistake. The coffee (R12) was not fantastic but passable. The crowd is trendy and all seemed as good looking as the venue. Manna is only open for breakfast and lunch. The lunch menu looks very tasty, offering meals or a selection of tapas. I will definitely have to try it for lunch sometime soon and hopefully the experience is as good as the breakfast experience was.

On the way out I was tempted to by some of the delicious looking cupcakes (R15 – R20 each).

Manna Epicure
151 Kloof St, Tamboerskloof
021 426 2413


11 responses to “Manna Epicure review”

  1. Though they may purely be decor in a shop as decorative as Manna, the hanging water packets could be fly deterrents? Interested you enjoyed the poached eggs, a fun diversion could be tracking the best eggs Benedict in town?

  2. Best eggs Benedict in town? Has to be Miss K on Somerset…

  3. Yes, I normally have eggs and bacon for breakfast. I’m afraid that if I had the eggs benedict each time I would soon be dead on the floor with cholesterol coming out of my ears!

    I’m sure there will be many strong opinions on where the best eggs Benedict are to be found. I’ve heard Miss K mentioned several times…

  4. best eggs benedict I’ve had is at the River Cafe on Spanschemacht Rd (Uitsig). so rich, though, that it’s hard to eat the whole thing!

  5. There can be only one: Lazari, only serves the Benedict on Sat + Sun.

  6. Their lemon cup cakes are also great – Meridy and I had a lovely coffee their last week – enjoyed it thoroughly.

    But it is pricey.

    Caprice in Camps serves a mean Eggs Benedict too! watched rugby there one morning – was surprisingly yum!

  7. angelique

    my cousin and i went to manna for lunch a while back. she had the beetroot salad but asked for the anchovy to be replaced by fresh tomato.

    they charged her R20 for the swop!!!!!

    i like manna but that left a bad taste. surely they’re not so hard up that they need to make an extra R20 whenever there’s an excuse?

    has anyone else had a similar experience? the manageress (owner?) was unapologetic. i certainly won’t hurry back.

  8. I took a friend to Manna about 2 years ago and she was too scared to enter — it’s awfully white. We didn’t feel very comfortable. I’ve been back since and it always strikes me that Manna, as other places in Cape Town, does not seem to attract black people.

    And I wonder why.

  9. It is interesting that you mention butter packed like at the Wimpy. I have just tried to book for lunch at Manna and was told that they don’t take bookings. My response was that they don’t want to be like the Wimpy but yet they operate like a Wimpy! The receptionist took my number and said she would see if she could arrange something and will get back to me. Let’s see if that happens. My guests will be driving for close on an hour to get to lunch and it would be incredibly rude of me to make them queue. Methinks Manna has no manners.

  10. Jacqui

    For me the best Eggs benedict accolade is shared.
    Side dish in Rose St, Bo Kaap is consistently incredible and has held my top spot for ages, but a new contender came in yesterday with breakfast at Bistro 1682 on Steenberg estate, Constantia. Incredible flavours with the potato rosti and fantstic hollandaise sauce.

  11. Candice

    So overated, so overpriced, so terribly unimpressed! This is how I feel after my terrible experience at Manna today, apparently its under new management (not sure on this fact) but it was shocking. They had a power failure so casually mentioned this to us, we were a table of 6, and said we could have items on the menu that werent served hot but didnt offer anymore help than that. We asked for some bread in the meantime to snack on while we browsed the now limited menu, only to wait for another 20 minutes for the waiter to come and take our order, we ordered and the bread still didnt come. After another half and hour we asked to speak to the manager, who was very dissmissive and told us we had to understand the situation, so we decided to pay for the drinks and leave and we informed the waitress of this. The manager then came over to our table and accused one member of our party of shouting at the poor lady (the waitress) and said we HAD to understand and they were not at fault etc etc….Terribly unproffessional.
    After this experience at Manna all 6 of us will never return and will not reccomend this restaurant to anyone.