There are few things more appeasing in life than spending a slow Saturday morning in a place where your eyes feast as happily as your tummy does. Nook Eatery in central Stellenbosch is one of those places.
I met my friend Leaine for a girlie brunch at Nook as neither one of us had been there before. Luke, the co-owner, runs the front of house and settled us in to a corner table next to a big store-front window.
Nook Eatery tweet daily about the sumptuous offerings on their lunchtime harvest table, which Jessica, the co-owner & chef generates each day according to what’s seasonal, super fresh & inspiring her at the time. It’s a warm and welcoming space with so many gorgeous decorations, trinkets and delicious treats to feast one’s eyes upon. Leaine and I spent a good 3 hours there catching up and taking everything in.The menu is comprehensive, offering an array of healthy and decadent breakfast items including a list of extras if you’re keen on making up your own. There are light meals in addition to the harvest table as well as sandwiches, and a section dedicated to Jessica’s homemade pastries, of which the cinnabon is the hero. We’ll get to that a little bit later…
Leaine indulged in the most beautiful poached eggs on 100% rye, topped with black forest ham veiled in some seriously sexy hollandaise sauce. I opted for a simpler option from the DIY section: 2 poached eggs with a roasted tomato and avocado slices. The eggs were perfectly poached, the avocado creamy and the tomato soft, yet caramelized from being baked in the eatery’s pizza oven. All the breakfast items which would normally be fried in a pan Jessica roasts in her pizza oven, and the results yield well-cooked, grease-free food.
Jessica is adamant that her ingredients make her pastries the heroes that they are. She has found the most amazing supplier of free-range eggs and organic milk, which take the quality of her baking to new heights. As I mentioned earlier, the cinnabons take pride of place here and it’s easy to understand why. They are glorious! Sticky beyond your wildest dreams, serviettes become pointless as they just glue themselves to your fingers and create a kind of cruel patisserie art that cannot be licked off. The buns aren’t rolled too tight, which allow them to form a nice thick crust on top, but leave the center soft, cinnamony & light. Luke and Jessica sent me home with two cinnabons on the house, and it took a whole lot of restraint to not eat my cinnabon before taking a decent enough picture of it.The back door of the main dining area opens onto a courtyard which leads to a second dining room decorated just as eclectically as the first. Multi-coloured and numerous sized frames are filled with vintage photographs, quirky quotes & illustrations; a plum button-pressed velvet bench seat runs the length of the room & draws you in to sit and stay.
Next door is the kitchen, which is modest in size but bustling with Jessica’s wonderful worker bees who are preparing lunch. Jessica recently shuffled her kitchen around and tells me that she’s so much happier with the flow of the space now. I spy a few bunches of herbs growing outside the kitchen door as I go past, and imagine how wonderful it would be to have a lovely space and palette such as this to play in each day.
Luke and Jessica’s wedding is a few weeks away, and they tell me that they will use Nook as the venue. Their neighbours own a flower shop and share a courtyard separated by a wall and gate. The wedding festivities are set to spill over into the neighbouring premises, and I just know this will be a whimsical, blissful day for this lovely couple, surrounded by their nearest and dearest in their special eatery under the oak trees.
Visit Nook Eatery at 42 Ryneveld Street in central Stellenbosch.
021 887 7703