by Marica Fick
Two months ago, VISI shared a quick article on a gorgeous new crêperie that recently opened its doors in the Cape Town CBD. The accompanying images of the interiors were so lovely, bold, and striking that I immediately knew that this was a space I just HAVE to see in the flesh.
Located on the corner of Buitenkant and Barrack streets, in the bustling east city precinct, Swan Café boasts of being Cape Town’s first authentic Parisian Crêperie. One can thank the overseeing hand of owner and restaurateur Jessica Rushmere for this authenticity as she is French – born and bred. Jessica, who also owns La Petite Tarte in the Cape Quarter, desired to bring a slice of Paris culture and food to Cape Town.
The interiors were skilfully designed by Haldane Martin. Interestingly enough, Haldane also designed the super cool steampunk interiors of Truth Coffee which is just across the street from Swan Café.
Taking queue from the gorgeous swan logo, designed by graphic designer and illustrator Heidi Chisholm, the space features a bold and patriotic blend of blue, red and white.
The bold blue walls and beautiful monochromatic wallpapers serve as a gorgeous backdrop to the space. The side wall features the well-known Renaissance painting “Leda and the Swan” by Leonardo da Vinci, while the back wall is that of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s “Leda and the Swan”.
While vintage copper and brass lights hang throughout the space, the most dazzling element is the striking copper birdcage pendant lights dangling from the ceiling – each a different shape and size.
Taking inspiration from the conventional bistro chair, Haldane designed and manufactured a contemporized adaptation in steel and wood. Another stand-out feature is the traditional marble bistro café tables with their ornate cast iron pedestals which are sprayed in a glossy, bold blue.
The Café’s serving counter is covered in beautiful fish scale feature tiles in shades of blue. I simply adore this blue on blue on blue effect. While the majority of the space has a simple concrete screed floor, custom blue and white hexagon tiles with the swan logo decorate the crêperie entrance.
Now, of course, we have to say a little something about the eats! As someone who suffers from a bit of wheat-sensitivity, I was thrilled to hear that their galettes (a fancy French name for a savoury pancake) are made of buckwheat flour and thus completely gluten-free.
I ordered the “Sud Af” – which can be described as an English breakfast stuffed into a French savoury crêpe – it was simply delicious and so filling. To wash it down I had a beetroot flat white which is a gorgeous rose-colour Chai dream. The selection of sweet crêpes looked absolutely mouth-watering and I was rather proud of myself for not succumbing to the temptation. But, let’s be honest, in the spirit of true French indulgence I am probably going to allow myself a decedent (gluten-loaded) sweet treat in the not so distant future… I can hardly wait.
So what do you think of Swan Café – isn’t it the most beautiful, trendy spot?! I do hope you are planning your own visit…
For more information and to view the menu, visit swancafe.co.za. To see more snaps of Swan Cafe and other projects by Haldane Martin, visit haldanemartin.co.za.
4 thoughts on “Swan Café: A Bit of French Heaven”
Dear Tabloid team, as you may know by now, I am a LOVER of all things blue & white & the decor always being my 1st ‘go-to’ read. Of course, throw in a little ‘oo la la’ & I’m totally hooked. This is a FABulous post. I’m going to make a point of visiting & will definitely indulge my oh so naughty sweet tooth. Thanks so much girls
Excellent Stella! Glad you enjoyed the post. Swan cafe really is a must visit. Just a tip – they are SUPER busy on a Saturday so visiting on a week day might serve you better.
Thanks for sharing this blog. It is very good to read and highly informative!
Many thanks Andrea, glad you like it!