Third in an occasional blog series called This Is the East, featuring hidden spots on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

Cremalat, like many great food places in the East Rand (a.k.a Ekurhuleni), is hidden behind the gates of a bland industrial complex, in a location that’s hard to describe. The place itself is hard to describe as well.

Outside Cremalat
Cremalat, a little bit of Tuscany inside the Greenhills Industrial Estate.

In this case the complex is the Greehills Industrial Estate, in a suburb called Elandsfontein, which is kind of close to Bedfordview but also close to Germiston. Cremalat is kind of a shop and kind of a distributor and kind of a restaurant. It’s hard to visit Cremalat if you have a nine-to-five job and don’t live in the East Rand, because it’s only open during office hours and for a few hours on Saturday.

Despite all these challenges, Cremalat is worth making time for. Because pasta. And because cheese.

Cheese counter at Cremalat
The cheese counter at Cremalat.
Pasta display.

Cremalat started out as two Italian-South-Africans — a husband and a wife — selling Italian cheese in a little stall at the Bryanston Organic Market. Eventually they expanded the business and opened a shop in Kensington. Then they expanded again and opened the current store in Greenhill Industrial Estate. Eventually the owners added a small restaurant, La Cucina, which serves an innovative Italian-style menu. Read the whole story on Cremalat’s website.

Lunch at Cremalat

I first went to Cremalat — the name is a combination of the words “crema”, Italian for cream, and “latte”, Italian for milk — years ago, when I was doing some research on hidden places in the East Rand. The work was for another client so I couldn’t blog about it at the time.

Then I forgot about Cremalat until recently, when my friend Fiver called me a in a frenzy of excitement about the amazing panettone (Italian Christmas cake) she’d found there.

We went for lunch last week and I couldn’t believe how nice Cremalat looked and how good the food was.

Menu board in La Cucina at Cremalat
The specials board at La Cucina in Cremalat.
Inside the Cremalat restaurant
It’s such a beautiful little restaurant.
Pasta from Cremalat
Lunch at Cremalat: “Pasta with chorizo and prawns, served in a juicy Napoletana sauce and a hint of harissa chili pepper sauce”. This was a truly scrumptious creation, with large quantities of chopped sausage and prawns, for the very reasonable price of R115 ($8.40)

I was feeling broke (Janu-worry and all that) so I didn’t buy anything in the shop. But Fiver bought half-price panettone and I admired all the beautiful baked goods and cheese. Most of Cremalat’s products are imported from Italy but they also make their own cheeses (some of which are award-winning) and meats.

Cremalat baked goods.

Don’t miss Cremalat the next time you find yourself near the Greenhill Industrial Estate.

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