In another life, I would be very thin. The problem is that my job involves scoping out amazing new places on your behalf – many of which involve food. And really, it wouldn’t be PROFESSIONAL if I didn’t taste some of it? Right? (Why are you laughing? Stop that immediately!)
Anyway, when news arrived on my desk that a French Deli & Salon de Thé had opened in River Club, I knew I had to visit. Some of my favourite memories of my time in France involved pastries (and the Eiffel Tower, of course, but mostly the pastries). I was quite excited at the thought of enjoying some authentic French “viennoiseries” right on my doorstep!
In brief, St Tropez looks like very little from the outside – I actually thought I had arrived at the wrong place! It is located in a tiny strip mall, for want of a better word, in the heart of River Club and didn’t seem to be attracting many customers.
However, the empty shelves soon made me realise that VERY many feet had already been through their doors that morning. In fact, I was lucky to get the last two chocolate croissants!
To be fair, I would say this is more of a French Deli than Salon de Thé – it’s not a spot that I would arrange to meet a friend for tea. That being said, it has THE most spectacular artisanal French pastries, freshly baked bread, cold meats and cheeses, as well as a freezer filled with duck, rabbit and Toulouse sausages!
In the interests of research (and having done a thorough audit of every single piece of food they had available for sale), I bought an “opera” – thin layers of almond cake soaked in a coffee syrup, a layer of espresso-flavoured buttercream, a layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache, a topping of chocolate glaze and a dusting of shimmering gold leaf. Oh my goodness, I could actually hear the angels singing in my ears with every mouthful I took. In fact, the angels’ voices were so loud that they successfully drowned out the sound of my children begging me for a bite.
I also bought two loaves of French Bread (heaven with butter and strawberry jam), some Toulouse sausages (we made a cassoulet that night that took us right back to our time in France), and some Raclette cheese (for that fondue I keep meaning to have but can never quite make happen). Each and every item was absolutely superb and speaks volumes about the authenticity of this unique shop.
I was also quite surprised to hear that St Tropez also offers BREAKFAST and LUNCH. Although their menu is quite limited, as is their seating, I have to admit that I’m dying to give one of their meals a try!
At the time of writing, their menu included:
- Fried or scrambled eggs with 3 rashers of bacon, cocktail tomatoes and a baguette
- Fried or scrambled eggs, Kassler, cocktail tomatoes and a baguette
- Croissant with butter and jam
- Almond croissant with butter
- Camembert in phyllo pastry with berry compote
- Gravadlax, sour cream, green salad and bread
- Smoked Duck Salad with miso dressing and bread
- Assorted quiches and a small green salad
- A variety of delicious-sounding baguettes
The bottom line is that I highly recommend popping in when you are next in the area, or when you need something absolutely decadent for your next dinner party, event or Book Club evening. (Or, you know, when you just feel like a delicious pastry and superb cup of coffee. Like I sometimes do. You never know, I might bump into you!)
For More Information
Address: River Club Shopping Centre, 17 Poplar Avenue, River Club, Bryanston.
Tel: 011 027 8669
Hours: 08:30 – 17:30 (Tuesday – Friday), 09:00– 14:00 (Saturday)