So it’s no surprise that I love to write about hidden gems like The Larder, especially when the food is good, the coffee is even better and it’s right on your walk to and from the office in the morning and afternoon. So, it wasn’t until after a few weeks since moving to our new offices in Claremont that I grew bored with the usual choices and decided to take a chance on that café on the corner with the bright pink logo and annoyingly happy and friendly people who work there. Sonja Eldridge, the owner of both The Larder (Claremont and Diep River) restaurants, is a person that you just have to admire. After years of working as a food stylist, private chef and author Sonja packed up her life and family and moved back to South Africa from the UK, to revitalise the on-site cafe at the behest of Block & Chisel in Diep River. The success of the original has led to a second cafe in Grove Str., Claremont – the one that I have come to frequent on a daily basis.
What’s perfect about The Larder, Claremont is that like a moth it has evolved over the past few weeks now that the outside has been fully renovated making it just that much more “homely”. You don’t notice the cool little details of the place until after the second or third or even ninth visit that really shows the creativity and thought that has gone into making the place what it is. Oversized cushions that make-up the window seating areas of the inside, funky cheese grater-styled lighting and a large blackboard menu that changes on a daily basis.
Sonja sources her produce locally and has gathered a number of suppliers who she trusts to provide only the best free range and organic ingredients. And that just isn’t a marketing gimmick either – Sonja really believes what she sells and you can see that with the many books by culinary luminaries long forgotten or unheard of pre-Millennial generation and other foodies. The production of quality food with the best ingredients seems to the crackling undercurrent rather than the free WI-FI here.
Breakfast on the go is made really simple: choose from the freshly baked cinnamon buns or vegetarian-style frittatas or if you have the time to try their signature breakfast dish, the Johnny Depp which is basically a different take on the classic Eggs’ Benedict of crispy bacon, two soft poached free range eggs and silky hollandaise sauce served on artisan wood-fired breads (ironically enough our mutual friend Fritz Schoon, of our favourite breakfast spot Schoon de Companje in Stellies, first provided Sonja’s bread when she first started out).
Lunch has just as many options, however, there are two sandwiches that you cannot live without The Veggie Sarmie (think beetroot humas, camembert cheese, rocket and shavings of cucumber on sourdough) or the Chicken mayo with rocket. There’s something in the mayo … with a wide range of bottled preserves (their hot plum chutney is something you have to grab a bottle of before it hits the retail shelves *dammit that was supposed to be secret!* and everyone dolloping a healthy tablespoon over in their camembert wheels wrapped in phyllo pastry and roasted until golden brown.
Recently they have just opened for dinner, serving farm-style dinners of roast vegetables and chicken, but we’ve been so busy of late that we haven’t made it there yet. But, it is on our #LustList of things to try out this autumn so keep close for an update to this blog.
For more information, visit their website: thelardercafe.co.za or follow them on Twitter: @thelarderza or Instagram: @praisethelarder