With an exciting menu, featuring healthy meals, delicious coffees and scrumptious spoils, in a perfectly-positioned, beautiful space, Umhlali’s newest culinary gem, The Orange Tree, is open for business.
Pretty pink crockery, a beautiful hand-painted flower tree wall mural and friendly, smiling staff members greet you as you arrive at The Orange Tree. A delight – both for the eyes and the tastebuds – the stylish café is situated in the newly-constructed Makers’ Yard, opposite Umhlali Preparatory School in Umhlali.
Both the Makers’ Yard and The Orange Tree café are owned by husband-and-wife team, Clare and PJ Sykes who relocated to Ballito from the UK with their two children in 2019.
The Makers’ Yard is a mixed-use production and retail space, where small business owners can make and sell their products from the same place.
Having worked with small businesses in the UK for many years, Clare and PJ combined their skills of running start-ups with their passion for small businesses and entrepreneurship to create this exciting platform for other small business owners.
Starting The Orange Tree café was the realisation of a lifelong dream for Clare. “I wanted to create a beautiful space where people could enjoy great food and drink,” she says.
“My top priority was to find an experienced chef who would be able to deliver my vision and translate my ideas onto a plate. I was lucky to discover such a chef in Verushka Nair.”
Being opposite a school, Clare also wanted to ensure their kids’ menu had delicious, healthy meals (like our spaghetti bolognaise with seven hidden veggies), as well as yummy sweet treats (like peppermint crisp waffles and cinnamon sugar pancakes). We also have a daily selection of amazing cakes and brownies from local bakers The Avocado Pair and Mickey Bakes.”
There are some unusual and exciting dishes on the menu as well as some classics with a little twist. “Our Beetroot Borani breakfast salad is a beautiful dish. It’s really tasty and something a bit different. Our Fancy Bacon Roll is our take on a classic breakfast bun – a delicious brioche bun from well-loved local baker Yoli’s, with crispy free-range bacon, a free-range egg, our homemade chilli jam and hollandaise mayo!”
They have several plant-based items on the menu as well, including a Mushroom Shawarma, which is packed full of Middle Eastern flavours and Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. Yum!
Clare also loves discovering new products and supporting other small businesses in the area and has included a little retail area in the café. “Some of the products are included in our condiment baskets so that you can try something with your meal and then buy a jar or a bottle to take home!”
Clare says the response from the local community has been overwhelming. “We have been blown away by the support we have received from Umhlali Prep School in particular. They have been very supportive, especially of The Orange Tree, from our very first meeting. We even have an entrance from their sports field, with direct access onto our deck, making it easy for parents and children to pop in before, during and after sports matches for a frappé and a brownie!
As for the rest of the Makers’ Yard, Clare says it is starting to come alive with the sound of people making and creating! “We are going to have a wonderful selection of artisan products. Kipekee is already in residence with their beautiful handmade furniture and there are more artisans coming soon. We also have Mastermind Mathematics and The Engine Room gym on site already.”
The Orange Tree is open from 6.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday (and some Saturdays) during school term. Watch their social media for holiday opening times. They are also available for private hire for birthday parties and events, and are hosting a special Easter Saturday lunch on 16 April.
Details: Whatapp or call: 082 074 9880. IG: @[email protected], FB: TheOrangeTreeSA, @MakersYard_sa, @kipekeestudio, @engineroomgym