Myano Guguletho is studying French by correspondence in Cape Town. But he says he benefits the most from the course when he gets to practise his French in conversation.
“I’m so lucky,” says Guguletho, “because just downstairs from my apartment is le COCO a French sandwich bar where the chefs are all French speaking; so every day I get to speak the language. Chef Blanche not only makes great sandwiches, she says if I want to learn her language quickly she will only speak to me in French. At first I had to ask her to speak very slowly and repeat everything, but now I can understand almost everything that I’m eating!”
With the global recession still making its presence felt students find eating in the CBDexpensive and le COCO, situated just outside the Picbell Parkade Mall in Strand Street is surrounded by colleges and other learning centres.
Co-owner of le COCO, Deborah Corner says, “We identified a few niche markets in the CBD; the student, the busy office exec and the visitor to Cape Town who prefer a healthy alternative, and who appreciate freshly-made sandwiches at a reasonable price. Although we offer a free delivery service, many of our customers like to stretch their legs, take a little exercise and some even like to practise a little French with our Chefs!”
le COCO’s décor, infused with the ambience of a Parisian café is stylish, chique and themed in black and white. However, it’s the promise of freshly baked baguettes and croissants, along with the irresistible aroma of coffee that actually draws the ever increasing stream of loyal customers through the door.
Chef Blanche observes “Our customers are from many different cultures and their tastes vary a lot. I love speaking to our customers in French. I would say le COCO’s most popular sandwich is le dejeuner 1 (pronounced day-je-nay, which literally means ‘lunch’ in French): chicken, cheese and avocado pear, crisp lettuce, ripe tomato and handmade French mayonnaise, and whether it’s served on a French Baguette, a croissant, a ciabatta or a pumpkin seed roll it’s the same price.
“But we have many customers, whether they are students, or business executives, who love creating their own individual sandwiches by combining interesting tastes. One customer’s signature sandwich is the le poulet (pronounced poo-lay, which means ‘chicken’) with my secret chilli sauce on a chocolate croissant – it is really quite delicious.
The freshest, seasonal ingredients on a freshly-baked baguette with a French lesson on the side right here in the Mother City. Délicieux!
021 820 4686 (neotel)
Shop 18 Picbel Parkade Mall – Strand St entrance