About two years ago I wrote a post called The Best Croissant in Jozi, about a quaint restaurant called Amamus Café in Parktown North. Sadly, Amamus closed a year or so ago. For some time I’ve been meaning to write a post about my new favorite croissant in Jozi — from French Corner Bakery and Coffee in Bryanston.

(Actually the French Corner isn’t new — it’s been around for 14 years. But French Corner’s croissants were new to me when I discovered the bakery earlier this year while doing research for SandtonPlaces.)

I just wrote a review of the French Corner for JHBLive.com and thought I’d share it on my blog too. By the way, JHBLive is one of the best local websites for finding quirky things to do in Joburg. I write for JHBLive often and I also read the weekly newsletter religiously. Check it out: www.jhblive.com.

Anyway, here’s my JHBLive review of the French Corner. Enjoy:

French Corner Bakery and Coffee is the closest thing to Paris in Joburg.

Never mind that the “corner” is not on a Parisian boulevard, but rather in a Bryanston strip mall called the Cramerview Village Centre. Never mind that the French Corner’s airy windows look out onto a parking lot and a busy Total petrol station. Never mind that the bakery is adjacent to a 7 Eleven convenience store. Never mind all that.

French Corner outside

The atmosphere in the parking lot is lacking. But never mind that.

Just go to the French Corner and take a seat with your back to the parking lot, or at an outdoor table in the shady courtyard out back. Order a cappuccino and a croissant. Take a sip, take a bite, then lean back and close your eyes.

Voila. You’re in Paris.

French Corner coffee

A French Corner cappuccino.

French Corner Bakery outside

A cucumber and cheese croissant sandwich. Heavenly.

The environmentalist and “local is lekker” activist inside me is horrified by my passion for the French Corner. The bakery imports its croissants and baguettes – frozen – from France, and then bakes them freshly on the premises each day. Seems a bit unnecessary, right? Surely, the ingredients and skills for making delicious French pastries must be available in South Africa. I was initially skeptical.

But after my first bite of a French Corner croissant, I became willing to overlook the bakery’s oversized carbon footprint. The croissants are soft, flaky and buttery without tasting soggy or rubbery, as many South African croissants do. The baguettes, in similar fashion, are firm and crusty on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. The steady flow of customers popping in to buy baguettes and croissants, even on a weekday afternoon, is proof that I’m not the only French Corner convert.

French Corner baguettes

Baguettes for sale.

French Corner also offers a lovely breakfast and lunch menu with fancy egg dishes, a variety of quiches, salads, and sandwiches. The coffee is fabulous, the service is good, and the atmosphere is the best you’ll find in a Joburg strip mall.

French Corner quiche

Tomato and basil quiche. It was good, but not as good as the croissants.

If you can stomach the traffic on Bryanston’s Main Road, then stop in to the French Corner for a coffee and croissant. And take a baguette with you when you go. They only cost R15 and nothing feels more Parisian than strolling out of a café with a paper-wrapped baguette under your arm. Magnifique.

French Corner specials

Even the outdoor menu board looks French.

French Corner
Cramerview Village Shopping Centre, 277 Main Road, Bryanston
Open daily for breakfast and lunch

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