Ile de Pain
Since Ile de Pain reopened their doors in November last year, I had not been there to eat, and decided that a visit was long overdue. I had only eaten there once before it burned down just over 2 years ago, and had popped in to buy bread a couple of times.
I love the airy lightness achieved inside by the combination of high ceilings and rough brick walls. When we entered the restaurant, there were no empty tables. As we walked around looking at the place, a table became free, so we sat down quickly before anyone else could lay claim to it. A waitress came and chided us for sitting down before they had cleared away the dirty dishes. Flouting the waitress, we settled down and looked around us. The waiting staff were all dressed in sleeveless gilets, but wore different coloured tops underneath. It’s a pity that the owners don’t ensure that the staff all wear the same uniform.
I wandered around the dining area, having a look at the pleasing display of pastries and breads, and walked through to the other side of the restaurant, where there are extra tables and chairs. I was surprised to see kitchen and waiting staff sitting at a counter eating and drinking in full view of the diners, taking up space while paying guests had to wait at the door for a table to become vacant.
I ordered the Butternut and Chickpea Croquettes, and Kwisine King ordered the Dragon Burger served with potato skins. The skins were crisp and delicious, and we could have eaten a plate of just the crispy skins all by themselves!
The croquettes were excellent, served with an orange jelly, tomato salsa and gorgeous Parmesan crisps. After the meal, I certainly didn’t have any intention of having cake or anything sweet, but I saw a waiter take a small cake stand to a table next to us and heard him explaining to the customers what the cakes were. Well, I was now hooked, and waited for him to bring the cake stand to us too. We waited over half an hour for someone to come and ask if we wanted anything else to eat. In the end we gave up and called the waiter over to ask him for the cake stand. Forgoing a glass of wine, I ordered some Ceylon tea to wash down the pastry, but they brought a tiny glass with the teapot, and no milk. I had t o as k fora te ac u panda jug of cold milk.
We were very tempted to buy other pastries and breads to take home but, showing remarkable and uncharacteristic restraint, I didn’t stop at the counter on my way out.
Ile de Pain is always very busy with diners while other restaurants are half empty, which is testament to its popularity and amazing food, and I will certainly go back to try other dishes and pastries.
The Boatshed, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna 044 302 5705