By Louise Liebenberg
THERE’S plenty happening on the restaurant scene in vibrant Richmond Hill at the moment. For starters, the laid-back and lovely Deli Street Cafe, which until a few weeks ago was still going about its business in Lutman Street, has now moved to slick Stanley Street to where Aljo’s Cafe (the corner kind) used to be.
With the help of her savvy builder, Sean Moffett, Deli co-owner Sandra Burnett has transformed the space into the innovative Deli Street on Stanley, while retaining the cosy, shabby chic appeal of the “old” Deli Street Cafe.
It was a homely place that somehow made you feel less scrutinised than at other trend-magnets in the area… and the good news is this aspect hasn’t changed.
You can still enjoy endless excellent cuppas and some deeply satisfying cafe-style grub – from a brand-new menu – without feeling like you’ve overstayed your welcome after just half an hour.
The big difference, Sandra says, is that the quaint little Deli has now morphed into a fully-fledged “Bakery Restaurant”.
“Added to this, our unique concept store incorporates a London-style fresh flower market and sandwich bar, and even a trendy in-house boutique.”
Bakery restaurants are still a bit of a novelty in the local restaurant industry, she points out.
“But these restaurants are gaining popularity, mainly due to the fact that they offer customers more under one roof than other specialised bakeries or restaurants do. They have all the regular bakery items, as well as proper breakfast and lunch offerings.
“In South Africa, bakery restaurants are starting to flourish and set a new trend in the hospitality industry.”
The secret to Deli’s growing success, she believes, is that “our food is familiar and straight-forward, but always innovative”.
“It’s familiar because it is personal. It’s made and served by a group of people who love preparing food as well as indulging in it and chatting about it endlessly. For us it’s a way of life, somewhere between a healthy obsession and a bad habit we can’t kick!
“We make a concerted effort to renew and re-craft, to astound in presentation and in flavours, and to serve our creations impeccably and with integrity.”
The personal touch is what it’s ultimately all about and Sandra and her staff have built lasting relationships with many of their customers.
With its inviting, vibrant and authentic interior and relaxed atmosphere rolled into one, Deli Street gives customers “a sense of belonging, a break from outside worries and an enjoyment full of humanity”, Sandra says.
“Our intention is to share our enthusiasm and love for food and life with others – our customers respond to this vibrant energy and rustic ambience and, in turn, fill our Bakery Restaurant with life… adding to its unique experience.”
Sandra is partnered in the exciting new venture by her mum, Penny Burnett.
Scroll down below for a delicious Deli recipe for “High Street Prawn Pasta”, made with fresh egg pasta and prawns, garlic, chilli, coriander and ginger. Also on the blog today is a Q&A with Sandra – check it out below!
Recipe: Prawn Pasta from Deli Street Cafe
This easy recipe for Deli High Street Prawns brings together some fantastic, fresh flavours and is ideal for sultry summer days – or nights – when no one feels like slaving away in a hot kitchen. If you like your food less spicy you can reduce the number of chillies.
500g prawns; 300g fresh egg (or rye) pasta; 3 garlic cloves, chopped; 3 red chillies, finely chopped; 5cm thumb fresh ginger, finely chopped; 60g butter; handful of fresh coriander, dollop of sweet chilli sauce, salt.
Bring a pot of water to the boil; add a good pinch of salt and some olive oil and cook the pasta until al dente.
In the meantime heat the butter in a frying pan and add the garlic, chillies and ginger. Cook until the flavours have infused. Add the prawns and cook on a low-medium heat until pink and cooked through.
Add some sweet chilli sauce and chopped coriander and stir through; season if needed.
Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.
Deli Street likes serving this dish with sliced avo, cream cheese and fresh chillies on the side.
Q&A with Sandra from Deli Street on Stanley
Check out Sandra’s answers about the cafe nearest to her heart!
1. How did the idea for Deli Street Cafe come about?
After 13 years of travelling around the world and eating in more than my fair share of cafes, delis, bistros and restaurants, I decided to return home and pour my abundance of creative energy into something I had become highly passionate about – food and décor! Owning a little street cafe had been my dream for as long as I could remember, and after the birth of my baby girl, Tide, in 2008, it quickly became a reality. Her arrival inspired and energised me to pursue my passion.
2. How is the new cafe different from your first one?
The new cafe on Stanley Street introduces a concept store incorporating different entities under one roof – fresh flower market, fresh produce, sandwich bar, pantry and boutique. The first Deli was a grounding for this new concept. It developed from strength to strength and built up our brand name. We developed a large, regular customer base in Lutman Street who, thanks to their great support, have given us the confidence to now expose the brand.
3. What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt through this experience?
You can never make everyone happy… but you can always try!
4. What’s the best part of a typical Deli day? And the worst?
The best part is walking through the doors at 6.30am to the smell of fresh bread and coffee. The worst part is when the Point of Sale computer system decides to go on strike!
5. Which dish on your new menu is your personal favourite, and why?
Our Camden Town Falafel – it formed part of my daily diet while travelling the UK and Ireland and is the best vegetarian dish by far!
6. If you had to choose a last meal on earth, what would it be?
Spaghetti Bolognaise! It’s that comfort I look for at the end of a difficult or gloomy day!
7. Do you do much cooking at home for your own family? If so, what type of food would you typically make?
I don’t cook much any more, as you can imagine. But when the time calls for it it’s generally Italian. I’m a huge fan.
8. What is your most indispensible kitchen tool or gadget, and why?
The food processor – it chops, blends and purees.
9. Who’s your foodie hero?
It’s the one and only Jamie Oliver… not only is his food fab, but it’s the fun he has creating his meals – and the involvement his family has in everything he does.
10. Which five ingredients is your kitchen never without?
Rocket, basil, chilli, garlic and eggs.
11. Where do you like to scout around for interesting and unusual ingredients? And, any recent finds that you are particularly excited about?
My chef, Ian, is a food fundi who makes it his life’s ambition to constantly find new and exciting herbs and ingredients. His latest discovery? Wasabi lettuce!
12. What’s your favourite restaurant – besides Deli Street Cafe, that is!
Natti’s in Port Elizabeth, where you always feel right at home. Natti’s food is consistently amazing and prepared with love, energy and Thai charm… and her husband Mark is by far the most humble host in PE!