If you asked me earlier about lunching in Paarl and where’s a good spot to grab lunch. I would probably have shrugged my shoulders and said “they’re all the same really-what are you looking for?”
Why? you may ask.
Paarl is an old world charm town, filled with absolute honest to goodness locals, farm owners-who actually farm, wine industry folk and house makers, people who were raised to boere and spend every waking moment dedicated to their cause and happily so. Its a simple town with honest offerings so the eateries in the area focus on home styled food and the comforts of simple cuisine. The polar opposite to “Fancy” Franschhoek.
So, as I said, what are you looking for?
For a long time “rustic country charm” would be the palette that coated most restaurants in the main road. Think mismatched decor, old chairs from Ouma Susan, borde from the second hand store langs the restaurant, homemade cakes, cookies, proteas or any other fynbos tied with raffia on the tables and enough cerise pink and coral wafting around to think you were staring in Finding Nemo.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for Justin Griesel of Zomato South Africa’s lunch invitation. I would have, much like the decor choices of many Paarl diners , painted the town and every eatery with the same brush.
Bean in Love is the mommy and student favourite of Paarl-situated close to most schools and the supermarket, it just makes sense. Perfectly made cuppacinos, with the romance of roasting coffee in the background and of course a slice of Wortel Koek (always delicious) and some town gossip is what keeps the waiters on their toes.
However, it was all getting a bit passe, so Werner and his family sat around their wooden tables, surround by a florist of sorts and dated decor and decided: A change is going to come!
Bean In Love has breathed a breath of fresh air, whilst I miss the florist, how much money can you make from withering flowers? What once housed peonies, now holds artisan cold cuts, parma, bresola, delicatessen items and freshly baked breads in wooden crates. The feature wall is cladded in an Italian type tile (Think Locanda) in all white with monochromatic neutural colours throughout the roasteria. The house brand coffee, roasted on site, has also been garnished with a minimalist & bold ( much like the blend) banner-stunning.
We were offered a table d’hote media menu, small but highlighted the new addition of a canteen styled salad bar,smoothie shots and a full single origin coffee-hence me being able to write this post after a full 12 hour day-tasting.
The salads were beautifully presented, a good variation but hit and miss for me, super affordable but there were some that were memorable and others I couldn’t tell you without re-looking at the menu what I had. Our table raved about the Asian chickpea salad and Bulgar wheat with oven roasted peppers, dates & coriander dish. I personally loved the polenta, touched with truffle oil and herbed button mushrooms and sweet potato type fritter, pureed and almost croquetted-packed with flavour. There was also an option to add chicken or a honey mustard glazed pork banger but I opted for an all veg varietal.
The salads are seasonal and change daily as well as the new ala carte menu boasting some familiar favorites and a few untried dishes. They are also a fully fledged roasteria so you can ask for beans or ground coffee to take home-much fresher than anything you find in a pod or supermarket. Trust me!
If you’re ever in the area, and looking for a quick comforting lunch pop into see Werner and his team. You’ll always be greeted personally, with cheer and served the perfectly stretched flat white. Other reviews can be seen on the Zomato Food & Restaurant finder App-available for Android & IOS.
Bean In Love | Main Street 289 Paarl | +27 21 872 0987 |