NATURE'S PLATE: THE FREE FROM EATERY ON ST. GEORGES MALL
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of summer is being able to walk to work. At 7am the air is still crisp, the smell of freshly brewed coffee fills the streets and one can sense the pulse of the city gaining momentum. On a Tuesday morning, as I entered the tree lined St. Georges Mall, I came across a little gem called The Free From Eatery.
Seduced by the warm glow from its interior and the bicycle leaning against the shopfront in true European fashion, I decided to enter. I must have looked like a confused tourist, but for a few seconds I stood frozen, obsessing over faded pressure gauges, brass door handles and 100 year old architectural details. It was only when Myles, the owner of the eatery, offered me coffee that I snapped out of a time travel.
Walking into the space your eyes feast on the display of fresh produce on the shelves, delicacies, and treats in big glass jars adorned with thin polka-dot ribbons. At the back a brown paper roll is placed against the wall and showcases the the menu for the day.
The Free From Eatery got it's name from the concept of keeping the harvest table free from, flavourings, colourants , preservatives and additives. They source their fruit and vegetables from a few different suppliers, and some even from Myles' own garden at home.
I think what struck me most about the operations of this eatery is the fact that they don't know what they will serve until the following morning. This is because the produce is directly supplied to the kitchen and not stored in a freezer. In a way it's like leaving mother nature to decide. The menu gets posted on social media at about 9am, allowing customers to plan their lunch.
As organic as the food is prepared, so was the design. The owner and stylist left the historic character as main aesthetic driver. I noticed that there was very little design intervention but that time and food did most of the talking.
One of my favourite elements are the pink stained glass windows feathering the interiors with soft morning light. As I pulled my bar chair from the bay-window the crack of the old timber floor reminded me of the farm kitchen I grew up in. Other elements that stood out were the black and white patterned counter tops set off against the muted tongue and groove wall boards and the industrial lamp shades that tie the mezzanine level together with the ground floor.
Apart from the inviting inside of the building, it also has a beautiful outdoor area leading of the thoroughfare which adds to the vibrancy of the urban space. On my visit I could see people sitting under the green tree canopies enjoying their cappuccino, having deep conversations and discussing the latest news.
In the background I heard a voice calling: "five minutes to lunch guys" and I rushed back in to see what was happening.
On the table was displayed in the most vibrant colours, salads that looked fit for a king. I went to stand next to the table and closed my eyes. Flavours started popping. I could smell mother earth delivering her finest in the form of leaves, quinoa, apple and pepper corns. From the upstairs kitchen came aromas of pork belly and roasted potato spuds.
Without realizing, my imagination started running away again. I saw all my friends gathering around the big wooden table, enjoying a wholesome meal, laughing, sipping on a glass of wine and being merry.
If you enjoy a healthy meal, visit them on weekdays from 7am - 5pm at 107 St Georges Mall, Cape Town City Centre.
Their meals are posted daily on Facebook: @freefromeatery &
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