“Plate ‘O Bacon,” laughs Tabitha, Red Sofa Café’s head chef and manager. She’s right; it’s pretty popular. Joe, the café’s barista, will hate me for saying so – “I want to make coffee. Coffee.” – but I’ve heard their red espresso (essentially a caffeine-free pulled rooibos shot, as Tabitha explains it) is also in high demand.
Order a coffee first – a double shot of Deluxe comes standard at Red Sofa – and there’s a chance he’ll forgive me.
The cafe began in 2012 as an extension of the DVD store one door down on Exner Avenue, but has taken on a life of its own, becoming something of a Vredehoek institution.
A favourite haunt for the local freelancers – free wifi wins friends, for sure – and the semi-suburbanites, the weekday crowd is mostly familiar faces: “A lot of couples; DINKYs, as they’re called,” says Tabitha. Dual-Income, No Kids Yet. Acro-win. “During weekends it’s a different story; we’re more of a destination-spot; people who’ve heard of us coming to see what the place is like.”
There’s a lot of traffic from 10am till 1pm, Saturday and Sunday; due to the high turnover they don’t do small bookings. The kitchen opens at 8am, and breakfast is served till midday. Thereafter, it’s the lunch menu, and you’ll have just as much trouble deciding. Pot pies, burgers, and a couple of combinations each with a salad / wrap / sandwich option. Trade the coffee for a craft beer and it’s an all-day affair.
“We’re updating the menu in a few weeks, too, and are baking more,” says Tabitha, making mention of a ‘beautiful’ new oven and their winter-weather specials. “Carrot cake, cheesecake, biscuits… watch this space.”
Aside from the food and drink, the staff are friendly, accommodating, and appear to actually like each other (perhaps they’re paid to pretend, who knows). In any case, it’s easy to see why people become regulars.
My advice: 9am newspaper and a sidewalk seat. Beat the breakfast rush.
Tuesday to Sunday – 07h00 to 19h00
Corner Derry & Exner, Vredehoek