It seems like there’s a new restaurant opening on Bree Street every week! The once-forgotten little CBD street is quickly becoming the new restaurant hub of Cape Town and as a result finding parking on the street (especially the lower Long Street side) over lunch time has become somewhat of a nightmare. One of the most recent spots to open its doors on Bree is the oh-so-delightful SMAK Delicatessen and Restaurant and while you might think the street is oversubscribed on lunch spots, you definitely won’t think that once you taste their food and experience the spot for yourself. It’s also quite different from other spots you might find in the area – for starters, SMAK is the only true deli-style eatery on Bree and is giving Green Point’s Giovanni’s a serious run for their money! It’s also located way on the other side of Bree near Hard Pressed Cafe, so it offers a welcomed relief from the mayhem that is lower Bree Street.
The wonderful new spot is the brainchild of young, local chefs, Devin Hogan and Katia Scherf. The pair both fine-tuned their craft at The Test Kitchen, one of Cape Town’s most highly acclaimed restaurants, before deciding to go it alone and open SMAK. The two chefs bring different expertise to the table with Katia excelling at pastry and baked treats and Devin bringing a rather impressive knowledge of ingredients to the table. Now just 2 months old, Smak is already boasting a full dining room during lunch time and a growing breakfast crowd looking for all-day breakfast treats. But, even when it’s busy SMAK still offers diners a relaxed vibe within the inner city. It’s a great place to grab a cup of coffee (and the coffee is good!), read a book or work quietly on your laptop while you wait for friends to join you for lunch.
So, why is this new spot already so popular with Capetonians? It’s easy – the food is hella good and the service is 5-star! I was super impressed to learn that the team makes almost everything from scratch including the pasta used for the mouthwatering pasta dishes and the bread used for their deli sandwiches! But this shouldn’t come as a surprise because the restaurant has four fully qualified, trained chefs in the kitchen, all of whom are as hands-on as they come. If you’re popping in for lunch then you can decide to create your own sandwich at the deli counter using a wide selection of local and imported cold meats and cheeses, with freshly baked breads to compliment them. The deli also stocks a range of imported meats, cheeses, pastas, chocolates and freshly baked bread to take home. If sarmies aren’t your thing then do yourself a favour and indulge in something from the lunch menu!
The lunch menu at SMAK is simple and I quite liked that I didn’t have a million different options to choose from on the lunch menu. But, that doesn’t mean that it is boring – the team is frequently changing and updating the menu to offering something new and exciting for their regulars to enjoy. The menu offers three pasta dishes including the Bacon Double Zero with creamy bacon and mushroom sauce, parsley, and parmesan (R79) and the Green Double Zero with basil & pistachio pesto, broccoli, spinach and fine beans, finished with parmesan (R79). If pasta isn’t your thing then try the Smak Burger (with a 200g Angus & Wagu beef patty, creamy mushrooms, balsamic caramelised onions, and Boerenkaas cheese – R98), word on the street is that it is to die for! Something else I loved about the menu is that it caters to so many different types of dietary needs – from vegetarians and Banters to those with nut allergies, lactose intolerances and more, almost everyone is catered for in one way or another.
I decided on the Lamb Double Zero with cured roasted lamb shoulder and caramelised tomato, finished with parmesan (R79) and was blown away by all the elements of the dish. The homemade Pappardelle-style pasta used in the dish (a thicker, flat noodle-style pasta) was absolutely divine and when paired with the rich, lamb and caramelised tomato sauce, the dish became a game changer of note. The portion size of the dish was also quite generous and I wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting. I washed it all down with a delicious chai latte – one of the best I’ve tried in Cape Town to date!
SMAK also has a breakfast menu (served from 07:30 – 11:30) offering fry-ups, scrambles, homemade granola, French toast and more as well as an ‘All Day’ menu (served from 07:00 – 17:00) offering an all day bacon roll, gourmet sandwiches, cheese boards, salads and a selection of homemade patisseries. You can’t leave without trying a slice or a bite of one of Katia’s decadent pastries – they taste as beautiful as they look and call your name when you’re standing at the coffee counter. Speaking of drinks, while you’re at SMAK you can grab a cup of Uber artisan coffee, banting-friendly Bulletproof coffee, a wide range of soft drinks or a freshly squeezed juice from the fruit-to-juice bar. You can create your own juice using whatever fruits you like or grab a ready-made juice of the day from the deli counter.
SMAK is open Monday to Friday from 07:00 – 17:00 and Saturdays from 09:00 – 15:00 (with all-day breakfast on Saturdays and public holidays). The eatery will also be open on First Thursdays for dinner – they don’t have a liquor licence but you are welcome to bring your own wine and drinks of your choice. For more information on Smak Delicatessen and Restaurant visit their website or say hi to Smak Deli on Facebook.