With a claim to fame as Cape Town’s first fermented food and artisanal produce hot house, Culture Club Cheese, or CCC as it will be known from here on out, recently opened its doors next to Bacon on Bree. In the form of CCC, owners Luke and Jessica are not only providing Cape Town with a cheese-centric dining experience, but also a centralised outlet from which to source good cheese, charcuterie, condiments and other cupboard essentials.
I am a latecomer to the Kombucha-drinking circle of Cape Town and tried my first at CCC. The fermented drink high in positive bacterial and yeast growth is held in high regard by the Chinese as a health elixir – a ‘wonder’ drink if you will. Kombucha isn’t overall tasty in my opinion, but what it loses in flavour it makes up for in health benefits. Paired with my pea and mint risotto, it was surprisingly complementary.
About that risotto. I’m a fan of the dish, so needless to say it was my pick for a weekday lunch when I spotted it on the menu. It was tasty and the portion size enough, but what I really liked was that the chefs topped it with a new in-house variety of camembert as an experiment (with my consent), and came out to ask me what I thought about the addition (without even knowing I was there for review purposes). The cheese added a new dimension to an already creamy dish and I liked it. Of course, I also added bacon to it for R20 extra.
My fellow lunchers ordered a fresh-looking baby leaf Caesar salad with free range eggs, anchovy croutons, walnuts and yoghurt dressing (R55), and a stacked cheese and chorizo bagel. Good feedback about both.
Let’s face it: cheese comes in many varieties and the process to make it before it hits your table can smell unpleasant at the best of times. So to be honest, I did catch a few whiffs of some rank-smelling (but probably delicious tasting) cheese inside CCC, though I understand that this actually shouldn’t deter considering where we were – a cheese club!
The large fridge inside is laden with cheese. From cumin gouda to Foxenburg Renosterbos to Ganzvlei Blue Moon … you name it and there’s a good chance that they will have it. Subsequent to our lunch I have stocked up on boerenkaas for personal culinary experiments.
CCC also does sweets, with a sugar- and gluten-free buffalo milk cheesecake that I’ll be using as an excuse to visit again, not to mention the green, white and blue sandwich (roasted aubergine, De Pekelaar gouda, cashew nut pesto and sweet peppers), which is also on the to-eat list.
This article has been free of cheese jokes up until now. So here goes… What does cheese do when it gets ill?
It gets feta.
I’ll be here all night.
Where 215 Bree Street, CBD
Trading hours Monday to Friday 8 am – 5pm, Saturdays 9 am – 4 pm
Contact +27 21 422 3515, www.cultureclubcheese.co.za
Photography Claire Gunn