Sweet Cillie’s in Tokai dishes up a delectably savoury winter menu

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EVER since Sweet Cillie’s opened just less than a year ago, my sister – who has a hair salon nearby – has been raving about it. This week, I finally went for the first time, to sample the winter menu.

The cakery (which stands out from every other bakery in town) is small and homely, with gorgeous displays of biscuits, cupcakes, pies, and cheesecakes directly from heaven. Shelves are filled with bottles and jars of jams and sauces, as well as coffees and teas.

Owner Cilla de Jonge – or Cillie to her friends – greeted us warmly and said she’d be bringing out a selection of all the dishes on the winter menu for us to share and sample. And so began this procession of dishes:

Soup of the day was a thick and hearty pea topped with crisp crostini. Alongside came butter chicken and brilliant bobotie with rice. “First time I’ve tasted bobotie as good as mine,” said Mom. There was also the wholewheat wrap filled with grilled halloumi and tomato served with tzatziki and a colourful salad. Finally, there were three flaky buttery pastry pies – curried mince, chicken, and spinach.

We all had our favourites…mine was the bobotie. Or wait, the wrap? Maybe the pie. There was still something sweet to be had to finish though…

Cillie is renowned for her baked cheesecakes so Mom and Sis each ordered a slice; one normal one on a chocolate base, and the other layered with red velvet cake. I indicated I desperately wanted to taste the chocolate mousse cake and I was not disappointed. All the cakes looked amazing, felt amazing, tasted amazing. I particularly liked that none of them was overly sweet and sugary.

The sparkles on top of the cupcake? The prices are wonderfully affordable. Breakfasts are from R35, lunches are R65, and the pies are R25. Eat there or take away.

Besides the lunch dishes, Sweet Cillie’s serves all-day breakfasts on scones, croissants and bagels, as well as a monthly high tea on a Saturday afternoon. Sorry for you, but these are fully booked until October but that means you should reserve a table right now. Today. Do it. Cillie told us it’s a buffet and – wait for it – you can take home any leftovers, because the cakery is closed on Sundays so they can’t have any leftovers of the sweets and savouries specially made for the high tea hanging about.

Favouring lashings of fresh farm butter, eggs and cream like grandmother used to use when baking, Cillie says her baking style is more American than fine French – unsurprising given that she lived in America for several years with her husband before returning to South Africa.

Cillie supplied the Blaauwklippen and Lourensford markets with her cheesecakes for several years before making the decision to open a retail outlet cakery with a permanent address. She has not looked back since and now the cakery keeps her far too busy to do the market circuit any more.

“My vision was for a welcoming venue where moms can come and relax while the kids play or do homework, where friends can catch up, where small business owners can come an unwind and let their creative processes flow or just check their emails in a warm and happy space. All accompanied by delicious baked treats and a great cup of coffee or tea,” she says.

Sweet Cillie’s Cakery is open Mondays to Saturdays. You’ll find it on Tokai Road opposite the Blue Route, and a way better option that being inside a mall. For more information or to book, call 074 192 8547, or click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN

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