Bootlegger has opened in Stellenbosch! I popped in for lunch

Bootlegger Coffee Company is one of those iconic Cape Town brands, loved for their seriously good coffee, top notch bistro foods and casual vibe. It’s the kind of place I was sad to leave behind when I moved from the city to Stellenbosch. So naturally I was all kinds of excited when Bootlegger decided to set up shop right around the corner from our offices. I popped in for lunch to check them out.

The new restaurant is in a prime location, just a hop from historic sites and trendy bars. Park yourself under the umbrellas outside to soak up some sun filtering through the oak trees, slip into the cool interior, or head to their backyard for a quiet corner. You can order a coffee from just R18 and then peruse their extensive breakfast and lunch menu that caters to most dietary requirements.

I was really excited when I went through their lunch menu and found a generous selection of creative meat-free dishes (not just chickpeas on toast – bleh). Stellenbosch is definitely still a meat-eating tribe and I’ve been hard-pressed to get good vegetarian dishes. Bootlegger has salads, Buddha bowls, wraps and burgers (with some bunless options to boot), packed with powerhouse ingredients like quinoa, flaxseed, avo, beetroot and more.

The menu in general has a range of wholesome options, though you’ll still find your hearty mains like CBC Beer Battered Fish and Bacon Potato Rösti. From what we tried the No-Bun Chicken Burger was a firm winner, sporting a grilled Elgin free-range chicken breast fillet, rocket, tomato, avocado, bacon and a mustard-mayo sauce. We also loved the Basil Pesto & Quinoa Wrap, packed with avo, rocket, feta and sunflower seeds. I had the Mexican Buddha Bowl, which was decent if perhaps a little underwhelming, and the Ham & Cheese Hot Press is very yummy but small considering the price.

Overall I did feel they lean towards the expensive side. I guess their prices are standard for Cape Town and even for that part of Stellenbosch, and it’s probably not unreasonable to pay R100 for a lunch these days. I just feel they could pop a soup or something on there that would give el-cheepo customers a go-to option. Most dishes are priced from R89 up.

That being said, they’re not shy with their expensive ingredients. When they say there’s quinoa in something, they really pile on the good stuff, where many other places will add rice and other cheaper grains to bulk it up. So you get what you pay for at Bootlegger.

And finally, what’s the coffee like? I was really chuffed with my latte, which was just the right strength to deliver a hit of fruity and nutty flavours. So it’s worth popping in, even if it’s just for a cuppa and a croissant.

Bootlegger Stellenbosch is located at 15 Ryneveldt Street. For more, head to bootlegger.co.za

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