Raak2 opens in Mount Pleasant
Raak offshoot eatery extends its deliciously eclectic touch
Bay folks who live or work in Newton Park should be familiar with Raak, the cool cafe that has operated on the same premises as Jigsaw Hair Company for just over five years.
Now there’s also a second Raak, which opened in Buffelsfontein Road, Mount Pleasant in June.
The area previously had a dearth of options for breakfast and lunch, and the good news is that Raak2 – as it is officially known – is not only licensed but open for dinner on some nights too.
My husband, Salvelio, and I decided to try out the new spot one Saturday night and, before we even saw the menu, instantly warmed to Raak 2’s eclectic, contemporary decor.
Art lovers will be happy as the space features works by noted artists, such as Gregory Kerr and the late Ethna Frankenfeld. You also can’t miss the striking creations of Bay sculptor Wehrner Lemmer, one of Raak and Raak2’s business partners.
His partner in the ventures is his brother-in-law, Werner Marx, who has been back in the Bay since 2016, having worked in Tokyo for five years.
At the moment, Wehrner is manning Raak and Werner Raak2 and one imagines patrons and staff must get terribly mixed up at times given the two bosses have the same name! Werner says his sister Annette – Wehrner’s wife – played a big role in the Raak concept and interiors.
“Raak2 was totally her idea,” he says. “She saw the billboard on the side of the road one morning on her way to Raak in Newton Park and said we should go for it and that is exactly what we did.”
All three are keen cyclists and knew this location would be a good one to stop at for a cuppa after a ride.
“Now people can stop after Heartbreak Hill – the one on Seaview Road coming into town – and basically free-wheel home after they’ve had a nice coffee and snack,” Werner said. (Cyclists get a coffee special at R15 all day, but you must be on your bike.)
Wehrner said Annette was also instrumental in coming up with the idea of the metal structure with hanging plants that create a powerful central feature at Raak2 and which he made from scratch.
Salvelio and I appreciated the small seasonal menu – a far better approach if you have any kind of conscience when it comes to food and wastage.
We later learnt most of the dishes were conceptualised by Werner and Annette’s other sibling, Lindie Alcock, a former restaurateur herself and the brains behind Lindie’s Brownies.
Raak2 also has a great chef in Marizaan Booysen, whose milktart jaffle dessert (R45) now rates as one of my all-time favourites.
Indulge me as I approach this review the wrong way around – with pud! But taste that jolly jaffle and I’m sure you’ll understand: It’s made in the same way as a savoury one except it’s raisin bread with sweet, thick, home-made custard inside – pure deliciousness.
You may want to share it with your dining partner though as it’s rather a filling business.
Salvelio and I also chose to share our starter as it was a rich and rib-sticking one: perfectly crispy, grilled, de-boned lamb rib (R45) quirkily referred to as “Karoo Seacats” on the menu because of its rather octopus-like look!
Mains also got the thumbs up – tender pork neck steak (R90) marinated in soya sauce, ginger and garlic for Salvelio, and an authentic bobotie with salad (R85) for me...