Syllable on the Garden Route again: Ikigai

As I write this, I’m sitting in Ikigai Artisan Coffee Bar and Deli, on the N2 towards Cape Town, just outside Riversdale.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post about a place while actually sitting in the place, but I’m on holiday with nothing rushing me, and they have free wifi, so why not. Also, I’m absolutely smitten. I’ve had the breakfast croissant – maybe the best I’ve ever had – a cup of Origin coffee, and now I’m working my way through a Nutella cheescake while an apple pie milkshake waits for its turn. (Update – I might move in here. Everything I’ve tasted is absolutely heavenly!)

Ikigai food

Ikigai Artisan Coffee Bar and Deli

I initially, mistakenly, judged it as a hipster coffee shop trying to stake its claim, and while the modern design – both exterior and interior – is quite modern, the service is friendly and efficient, the food fresh and out of the world, and the coffee strong. Which is not to say these things don’t apply to places traditionally referred to as hipster… Wait, who am I kidding, in Jo’burg you’re hard-pressed to find all of this in one place. Maybe it’s the holiday feeling that skews my perception, but I highly doubt it.

Despite it being quite small – five tables, a counter and some couches – it seems like business is booming. Breakfast is particularly buzzing. It’s hard to figure out how many of the patrons are out-of-towners passing through, and how many residents trying something different.

Ikigai be amazin

More than coffee

While coffee seems to be the main focus – the menu is slightly limited, but freshly baked fare, including quiches, savoury scones, cookies and other sweet treats make up for it – there are also bits of home ware, NOMU products and other food items that can be classified as artisanal (think Yuppiechef without the kitchen hardware, and on a much smaller scale).

Who should stop by and why?

If you like good coffee and need to stretch your legs between Cape Town and George, you won’t need much convincing. It’s also refreshingly different from the usual holiday stop chains – I won’t mention them here, but you know who I’m talking about; they are all around Ikigai.

It’s not really family friendly, so if you have younger kids, this might not be the best option – pop in next door or across the road. Teenagers will still sulk if you choose Ikigai, and while their food tastes like magic, they can’t change the nature of teens 🙂

Ikigai menu


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