If the alluring smell of freshly baked decadent treats and roasted coffee don’t pull you in, the sight of beautiful shelves packed with exquisite, bespoke gifts and spoils certainly will. Tucked away in the corner at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle, is Toast.
Every now and then, amidst the plethora of eateries available on the North Coast, one finds a place that simply feels like ‘home’. For many people in the area, Toast, situated next to the Woolworths Food at the Lifestyle Centre, is that place.
Toast is owned and passionately run by sisters Kerry and Derryn who opened the restaurant as a Melissa’s franchise just one month after relocating to Ballito in August 2017. “We moved down here because we loved the quality of life. We decided to open a Melissa’s restaurant because it was a stable franchise that had been running successfully in South Africa for over 21 years.”
Eight busy and very successful months later, the sisters were told that the company was going into liquidation and their franchise was being cancelled.
“We decided to rebrand everything and keep the restaurant open,” says Kerry. “We renegotiated with our landlord who put us in contact with Jacqui Rey, a well-known and respected chef on the North Coast, who is now collaborating and helping us with our menu.”
If you’ve visited them, you’ll know that Toast is so much more than just a coffee shop. The menu is filled with fabulously creative, wholesome breakfast and lunch meals, which makes choosing one quite difficult! The ‘build your own’ breakfasts are hugely popular – especially amongst those who want more than just ‘bacon and eggs’ to start the day – and Jacqui’s special touch can be seen (and tasted) in a number of dishes on offer.
“We kept a lot of the favourites from the previous menu, but Jacqui has been amazing in helping us add some really great, different options. She assists with fine-tuning the menu and recipes and comes in and ‘works her magic’ whenever we need her,” says Kerry.
The Toast menu features a variety of great bakery and breakfast options, as well as a tasty lunch offering that includes burgers, pizzas, salads and pastas. “We have more vegan and vegetarian options on the menu now,” says Kerry, “but everything is still homely and wholesome.”
One of her favourite additions, Kerry says, is the Welsh Rarebit, which is toast topped with beer-infused cheese sauce, finished off under the grill! “Another fun dish is the Toast Monsieur, which is our take on the traditional Croque Monsieur – a delicious French toasted ham and cheese sandwich, with an egg.”
The retail side of Toast has also evolved and grown with the changes to the company, and as a result customers are enjoying a wider range of bespoke, high-quality gifts, homeware and confectionery.
“We renegotiated with a number of the Melissa’s suppliers and our clients are still enjoying most of the items they loved, like rusks, biscuits, jams and vinaigrettes, just relabelled under the Toast name.”
From imported body products and hand-poured scented candles to stunning Cathy Joubert scatter cushions and the ever-popular Peppertree bags, stepping into Toast is like walking into a beautiful Cape farm stall filled with homemade, small-batch items that you won’t find in the supermarket.
The freshly roasted coffee is always good, the carrot cake and cheese cake are to die for and the open-air, homely interior makes you want to kick back and relax for a while. The free WiFi means this a great spot to have meetings or catch up on some emailing and, because of its positioning, Toast is also the perfect place to have a quick bite with the kids after school or grocery shopping.
Toast is open from 7.30am to 6pm every day.
Details: Toast, Ballito Lifestyle Centre, 032 648 0030, www.toastballito.co.za
Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Chris Allan Photo