Twice is just not enough
Beautiful, vintage-inspired coffee shop and café just a short walk from the popular Fish Hoek beach. The perfect spot to catch up on emails or gossip alike. Take your newspaper and settle in for a lovely morning in good company. Very successful business model with unpretentious, healthy, fresh food and quality hot beverages. It’s all about customer service and satisfaction at the Stag Coffee Company, as it should be!
Three course meal…
When something happens in Fish Hoek, everyone knows about it. There is a buzz and a chatter that fills the streets, echoes on our Facebook pages and reverberates down the telephone lines. When The Stag Coffee Company opened in Recreation Road at the start of February this year, it wasn’t much different. I caught wind of this new independently-owned coffee shop a short while later via word of mouth, and of course I was intensely curious. I was intrigued by the name alone!
This is owner Lance Thompson's first shop. Many of you will know the mobile coffee van that's parked at the beach in season for a quick caffeine fix. Then it was called Antler's Coffee. From humble beginnings rose the magnificent Stag!
I stalked their brand-new Facebook page for a while to see what kind of responses they were getting from our little community. I couldn’t find anything not to like and it seemed I was not the only one who was very happy with the new addition to our village. The Stag started to advertise breakfast and an early-bird cappuccino special. That’s when I decided it’s time to pounce. Nearly 500 Facebook page likes in less than three months? I needed to know what I’m missing.
Karl and I stopped by for an early morning breakfast, just in time to catch the R15 cappuccino special – what a great way to start your Saturday. I was immediately impressed with the small space. The furniture and décor are on-trend in a rustic, mismatched way and the massive bay windows gives the café a light, airy feel. Several large and small tables are scattered around in random fashion, adding to the coziness of the interior. You place your order from the chalkboard menu at the counter, where you can watch their amazing barista perform his magic with the hot drinks. The staff is friendly, helpful and chatty. Once your order is ready, the waitress will bring your goodies to the table. Everything is made to order.
I’m a big fan of this business model. Have a small menu. Offer five things, but do them exceptionally well. The Stag only offer a couple of breakfast items. They offer an assortment of wraps and some baked goodies for light meals. Again, a small selection of food items they prepare and present beautifully. Who needs 30 pages of world cuisine in a coffee shop? I never understood that approach. How can you ever be sure of the quality and freshness of the produce if a café serves everything from sushi to curry? I’ve watched too many episodes of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares to know that it's just a bad idea. The key is quality over quantity; time and time again. The Stag got this memo, alright.
The breakfast was beautiful; the scrambled eggs an absolute dream. I was most impressed with how spot on they are with the portion sizes. We leisurely ate and talked and photographed and ate some more. We sipped out beautiful coffees and indulged in the overall relaxed atmosphere.
The Stag is also one of the very few places in Cape Town that sells the “coffee-in-a-cone” experience. As a passionate foodie, I was intrigued beyond measure when Instagram became flooded with this new craze a few months ago. It became my life’s mission to find a place that sells it. I looked far and wide, only to find it in my sleepy hometown. We ended our breakfast with a chocolaty cone filled with coffee (as one does). You get about 10 minutes to eat (?!) the cone before it becomes a bit of a risk, but that's ample time to enjoy it and take plenty of photos. My verdict? It's a novel idea, but let’s just say I prefer my coffee in a cup! Worth a go if you are a foodie. It’s also a fun activity for the kids (if you trust them not to make a mess) because you can also order the cone with hot chocolate, as Karl did.
The second time we visited (!!) we went for lunch. Again, it was pleasantly busy without being crowded. We ordered wraps. Karl had the breakfast wrap and I opted for the tikka chicken. The coffees arrived on very chic little wooden boards; one creamy hot chocolate and an amazingly beautiful cappuccino, both served with a starry shortbread cookie on the side. Kudos to their barista - he knows his stuff. Confession 101: I only drink cappuccino for the foam art. I actually prefer my coffee black and strong.
The Stag uses a coffee brand I’ve not come across before. It’s called Jogajoga, and it’s from Brazil. I find it very tasty and aromatic. It’s easy drinking and suitable to most palates. A good choice all round.
Our wraps were delicious. Karl’s was filled with more of that incredibly tasty scrambled egg with bacon, and mine had a spicy and fragrant chicken tikka filling that was very moreish. The wraps are gluten free and made with coconut flour, which adds a delicate, deeper flavour to the food. Again, portion sizes were spot on.
The little hedonist that I am, I couldn’t leave without sampling the sweets. I’m all for gluten free and vegan and all that, but nothing can compare to a buttery, sugary cake or baked treat. It’s like trying to build a house without a foundation. I’ve always been irked with vegan cake, made without butter or eggs (and in some cases, even without wheat flour!). So, I was a bit skeptical about The Stag’s selection of vegan, banting and gluten-free treats. In the end my curiosity got the better of me and we ordered a vegan chocolate muffin and a banting health muffin to share. I must admit, they looked amazingly indulgent. Get this: they tasted even better! I was gobsmacked. The chocolate vegan muffin was dark and moist; the banting muffin full of nutty flavours. Delightful.
We left, for the second time, full of praise and promises to visit again. I think that The Stag is going to become a regular Saturday feature in our lives. I wish Lance and his team only the best with this venture, because they sure have a good thing going!
Meet Amilinda Wilkinson
Amilinda Wilkinson is a small town girl with big dreams. She is a nature geek, total foodie, devoted wife and mother to furry children. When she's not at the office, she explores, writes about, photographs and indulges in this fragile adventure we call life.
Read more from Amilinda on her blog The Little Hedonist.