A while ago I tweeted about having fantastic poached eggs at the Commodore hotel in the Waterfront (what do you mean you’re not following me on Twitter? Get with the program, click here), and I’m excited to report I had great poached eggs again on Saturday, this time at the Sidewalk Cafe. It may seem strange to go on about poached eggs but it is really quite seldom that one is served properly poached eggs in this town. Anybody can fry or scramble eggs but poaching them takes a lot more skill and care so I use them as an indicator of the capabilities of the kitchen.
The Sidewalk Cafe has been around for quite some time. I can recall having drinks there a few times, many years ago in the days when I still drank Savanna. The place was relatively unexciting and it never changed in all the years it was there. There wasn’t really any good reason to go except maybe convenience if Carlyle’s down the road was full. So why is it full all the time now? I popped in for breakfast on Saturday and was lucky to get a table.
This is a question which I ask all the time. Why are some restaurants empty, and then when they are taken over by someone else they are full? People will tell me the difference between a successful restaurant and an unsuccessful one is location, but we are talking about the same venue. Think about Amigos at the top of Kloof Street (opposite Bacini’s). It was always empty and eventually closed and was replaced by a Moroccan restaurant called Fabulous. It was always empty until being replaced by Bombay Bicycle Club which is full every night.
In this case, the common element is the Madame Zingara crowd. They started Bombay Bicycle Club and they also took over and revamped the sidewalk Cafe. How do they do it?
They have revamped the place, it looks a lot better with light colours and curtains draped here and there. It’s still small but there are about 10 or so tables inside and several more on the sidewalk. I went with the official Relax with Dax art consultant (we had just been to judge the entrants for the Old Mac Daddy trailers) and we chose to sit inside as it was a hot day. It was nice and cool inside with good air flow from the large windows which also provide lots of light.
There are about five breakfast options, and it didn’t take me long to select the breakfast stack (R45) which was poached eggs and bacon on toasted bread (I selected sourdough from the options) with fried tomato on the side. The art consulatant went for the potatoe rosti (R40) topped with scambled egg. I did notice that they offer a R20 breakfast during the week which will be a good option for the locals. As I mentioned at the start of the review, my poached eggs were excellent, possibly the best I’ve had apart from the Commodore. Both of our breakfasts were really good. The service was good and so was the coffee I ended with.
They are open for lunch and dinner as well, and reports have been good (read Rossouw’s review here). I would recommend it without reservation (that doesn’t mean you mustn’t reserve a table).
33 Derry Road, Vredehoek
Tel: 021 461 2839