News and Trends

Beer, Bread & Bubbles

Text: Assistant Editor, Leigh Robertson He’s known as ‘Captain Bread’ for good reason. Cape Town artisan baker Jason Lilley has taken the humble loaf to elevated levels of craftsmanship and all-round moreishness, as experienced at the recent launch of his fantastic, eponymous bakery-slash-restaurant on Bree Street in the City Bowl. The affable, artfully tattooed Jason has enjoyed a loyal following for some time, having previously sold his legendary croissants, pies and pastries from a hole-in-the-wall down the side of the building where once was housed the rather famous Jardine’s. When that eatery closed its doors, Jason cleverly signed up to take over the ground floor, and called in Greg Wright Architects to give the modestly sized space a pared-down, Scandi-esque, cabin-like feel. Clad in blonde wood, it’s an intimate, and rather cool, spot for breakfasts, lunches or late-afternoon pick-me-ups (they serve excellent coffee), with bar-counter seating at the windows for optimal people watching. And there’s plenty of seating spilling out onto the pavement too. Jason’s philosophy of making ‘great food that is unpretentious and accessible’ was in evidence at his launch bash. A selection of breads (sourdough rye, crushed-rye and sunflower-seed, corn spelt, sourdough spelt and ciabatta, among others) was provided for dunking into unspeakably good homemade hummus, black olive tapenade, aioli and smoked-paprika butter. But the best was yet to come. He chose to pair some of his signature dishes with wines and beers that are available to order from a small but concise drinks list. We kicked off in appropriate style with delicious French champagne Pannier Brut Non Vintage (champagnepannier.com), which was served along with Jason’s take on ‘bunny chow’: ‘government-style’ brioche loaf stuffed with confit rabbit. Ciabatta with porchetta was matched with Everson’s Cider, and braised Chalmar short rib with Pain au Levain was teamed up with the extraordinarily quaffable Cardinal ‘Vanity’ Pinot Noir. (The wine is made by friends David Wibberley, Craig Denbury and Andy Fenner, with an aim to match the seven deadly sins to seven wine varietals. Nice one, boys!) Cardinal’s aptly named Greed Chardonnay (you want more, and more) was a particularly fine choice along with toasted corn spelt bread topped with wild-mushroom ragout and a poached quail egg. And there was more: a ‘Croc’ Monsieur (crocodile, yes, served on sourdough rye), with &Union’s smooth Unfiltered lager, ‘toasties’ topped with creamy buffalo mozzarella, and a finale to end all in the form of 70% Callebaut chocolate tortes. Just-out-the-oven warm and meltingly gooey, these devilish treats had a way of making even usually quite lady-like nibblers appear horribly, guiltily gluttonous. But then, happily we’d imbibed enough champagne not to care! Trading hours: Monday-Friday, 7am to 3.30pm; Saturday, 8am to 2pm. Jason Bakery, 185 Bree Street, Cape Town, 021-424-5644, jasonbakery.com