UPDATE (February 2018): The bad news is, Kramerville Bakery has closed (sad face). The good news is, Eloise and Alex are opening a new restaurant in Illovo, scheduled to open next month. Follow their Facebook page for more information.
The Kramerville Bakery is hard to explain. As is Kramerville itself.
Despite the small-town-sounding name, Kramerville is a street full of furniture showrooms and interior design warehouses in an industrial area just off the M1 highway north of Sandton. A few years ago, a ragtag bunch of restaurants, coffeeshops, and bars started popping up amongst the showrooms and warehouses. These food and drink venues are usually hidden above, behind, or inside the showrooms and warehouses, and hence accessible only to people in the know.
The Kramerville Bakery is the newest of these secret venues.
To find the Kramerville Bakery you must drive to the end of Desmond Street (Kramerville’s main drag), make a right onto Archimedes Street, then turn right into an unmarked parking lot and drive to the end. There you will find a plumbing supply warehouse, no sign of a bakery. Park your car, walk around to the back of the plumbing warehouse, climb a short flight of metal steps and then another flight of steps inside. Boom! You’re in the bakery.
I should mention the Kramerville Bakery isn’t really a bakery. Or rather it’s not only a bakery. Baking is the Kramerville Bakery’s day job, but it also has a side gig as a fine-dining restaurant.
Still with me? I thought not. Let me explain.
The Story of the Kramerville Bakery
Eloise and her husband Alex worked in the restaurant business in the U.K for many years — Alex as a chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant and Eloise in restaurant management. The couple recently moved to Joburg, where Eloise is from, and decided to open a commercial bakery.
They found the hidden space in Kramerville through family friends, and decided to run a pop-up restaurant from the bakery.
I learned about the Kramerville Bakery when Eloise invited me to attend a pop-up Sunday lunch called the Great North African Roast, part of Alex and Eloise’s monthly “Great Roast” series. (This month’s event is the Great Greek Roast.) I went, taking along my food-critic friend Marie-Lais, and we both enjoyed the meal so much that we went back a couple of weeks later for their pop-up breakfast and bake sale.
Great North African Roast
The Great North African Roast took place on a stormy Sunday afternoon. Marie-Lais and I made our way into the bakery dining area and found seats at one of the long tables. We quickly made friends with the people beside us — Joburg-lovers Donna and Neil, who discovered the Kramerville Bakery on Facebook. (Facebook is the secret to the Joburg pop-up dining scene. If you want to discover Joburg foodie gems like this, of which there are many, get active on Facebook.)
Our welcome drinks were served and we got down to an afternoon of eating and drinking. Here’s a quick visual summary.
This three-course meal cost R350 (about $25), including a welcome drink and a bottle of wine (choice of white or red) split between two people. This is a heck of a fine-dining deal. Booking is essential.
Just take my advice and don’t plan anything for the rest of the day. This meal lasts for several hours and you won’t be hungry afterward. Donna and Neil had to go to a friend’s house for dinner that evening and I felt sorry for them.
Breakfast Bake Sale
During the roast, Eloise mentioned that they also host a breakfast/bake sale, featuring homemade donuts, on the last Saturday of every month. She had me at donuts.
There were tables set up outside for the breakfast but it was uncharacteristically freezing for an early summer day. So Marie-Lais and I bought our coffee from the truck in the parking lot and made our way inside.
Coffee by Curbside Cafe.
The bake sale included donuts, cookies, and brownies, as well as bread, olive oil, anchovy butter, and various other special items.
Customers can also order a hot breakfast: Last’s Saturday’s menu was a choice between grilled haloumi with chorizo on toast or a double-cheese toastie. (“Toastie” is South African for grilled cheese.) We ordered one of each. I loved both but the toastie, which came with a side of bread-and-butter pickles, was my favorite.
It was a good breakfast.
This is a longer-than-normal restaurant review but as I said, the Kramerville Bakery is hard to describe. It was worth the time and effort though, as this is a special Jozi place.
Find the Kramerville Bakery on Facebook, foodies, and get yourself up there.
My Sunday lunch at Kramerville Bakery was complimentary but I went back for breakfast on my own dime. Opinions expressed are mine.