Knead: artisan breads in Cape Town

At an hour no normal human being should be awake (6am), we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to the shiny new Knead in Claremont to find out about this chain of gorgeous artisan bakeries. Early? What did we have to complain about? The bakers had been there since 2am. That’s dedication to artisan bread, folks.

In what was once a wasteland for foodies, Knead’s new space on Palmyra road is the latest addition to the Knead group. Established in 2006 by the Faull family, there are now four branches of Knead and each has its distinct personality and charm.

This is a family business to be proud of. We met Evan Faull and his brother Ryan – two of the three Knead head-honchos. Their Gran founded South Africa’s oldest cookery school, Silwood; their Mum, also a leading lady of Silwood, taught her three sons to cook in their school holidays; and their Dad is a businessman-cum-baker and still wakes up at 2am every morning. It seems that baking is in the blood.

The sense of family and the love of all things ‘bread’ are clear to see. Each bread (and there can be 14 variations to choose from) takes 24 hours to make from start to finish. Compare this to the one hour it takes to make a supermarket white loaf. “There are no preservatives in our bread,” says Evan. “Our concept is about sourcing local ingredients for local people to enjoy.”

By 8am the place is buzzing: kids having breakfast with their parents, colleagues meeting and friends chatting. Breakfasts made in the open-to-view kitchen include scrambled eggs with streaky bacon, rosemary roast tomatoes, field mushrooms and rocket on a speciality bread of your choice and Brioche French toast with cinnamon, sugar and lemon. But this isn’t just a breakfast spot. The wood-fired bread oven makes yummy pizzas, too. And did we mention there are pies, grazing boards and burgers plus live music on Wednesday and Sunday evenings? It feels like a genuine neighbourhood café where locals pop in three or four times a week.

Knead Bakery

We’re pretty impressed not only by the bread and the organic coffee (locally-sourced and roasted) but by the Faull family’s vision for areas of the mother city. The branch in Muizenberg, now the spot for coffee after an early morning surf, has played a key role in the rejuvenation of this rustic part of the peninsula. This new Claremont branch feels like it could help do the same for Palmyra road.

Where to next? “Durbs? Joeys?” we hear you ask. Who knows? Watch this space.

Here’s where to find them:

Knead, Palmyra Junction, 9 Palmyra Road, Claremont (021 671 0802)
Knead, Wembley Square, McKenzie Street, Gardens (021 462 4183)
Knead, Surfer’s Corner, Beach Road, Muizenberg (021 788 2909)
Knead, Dean Street Arcade, Main Street, Newlands (021 685 7769)

Or find out more on Knead’s Facebook page.