Cinnamon Patisserie offers a slice of life in downtown Joburg
Cinnamon Patisserie is a sweet café tucked under the highway in Maboneng. Go for the gourmet cakes - and return for the sense of community, writes Jennifer Platt
It feels strange to be out in a coffee shop on a Wednesday morning in the middle of downtown Joburg. There's a definite sense of space and place. A sense of being part of the city as compared to being in a bubble in a larney suburb.
You drive past clutch & brake repair shops, tiny cellphone stores and people selling goods on the pavement to get to a place under the highway where you can enjoy a cappuccino (R20) and donut (R8). Because it's a weekday morning, you get a sense of the people who work and live there, rather than the crowd that comes in on weekends for a trendy experience.
A bustling café is a cliché, but it's an apt one when it comes to Cinnamon Patisserie. It's filled with all kinds of people ordering all kinds of food. If you're looking for yummy baked goodies in the Joburg city centre, you'd best get to the patisserie early as they get snapped up pretty quickly.
Cinnamon is in the Maboneng district and part of the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School, where students and seasoned bakers and chefs work together to produce quite a mixed bag of a menu just right for the area it is in.
A large koeksister is R8, a Russian roll R30 and a plate of chips will set you back only R10.
Or you can order breakfast: the early bird (two rashers of bacon, a fried egg, fried tomato and toast) is R40. The brioche French toast is served with cinnamon caramel sauce, banana and cream, made even more delightful by its R35 price tag.
Then there's a fridge of wonder filled with gourmet cakes all individually perfect - some with a rich butter icing and others glistening with a smooth chocolate ganache and others with nuts and fruit.
It's one of the patisserie's other skilled areas of business - people come in and order cakes for their kid's birthday party, cakes for their office birthdays or just a slice of moist chocolate cake to eat while taking in the sights of downtown Joburg.
All the time - as people sit down in what is a trendy yet quaint shop (and one that wouldn't look out of place in Brooklyn, New York) and have coffee and scones - there's a steady stream of people coming in and out, placing orders for lunch (beef lasagne R50), buying giant chocolate-chip cookies, loaves of freshly baked bread and dozens of rolls. These are the people of the city. This is us.
• Joburg Culinary and Pastry School, 263 Marshall St, City and Suburban. Call 011-024-5277. Open Monday - Friday, 6am - 6pm Saturdays: 8am - 2.30pm