Charly’s Bakery, located at 38 Canterbury Street, Zonnebloem in the famous District Six area of Cape Town, is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike that possess a sweet tooth.
Charly’s has become one of my familiar haunts in the past year and although my first ever visit to Charly’s was in January of this year, I have since been back many times throughout February to October with friends and loved ones and have celebrated some small but special occasions there.
Aside from my sit-and-eat visits, I have probably passed it well over fifty times on my way to various other places in the Mother City and yet, I never tire of the place with its rather quirky, character-strewn colourful building and daily bustle – not to mention the delicious aromas that escape out through its windows and doors, tempting the city’s CBD occupants and visitors.
Charly’s Bakery tells its own story – quite literally, as painted in white text against a black menu-type background in the shop just above the main counter, one can read a small and sweet introductory tale on how the bakery was started and by whom.
It is named after the late Charly Biess, who passed away in 2012, and the bakery was started by he and his wife, Jacqui, in 1989.
Over the years it has expanded into an even more famous family-run business as their three daughters, Alexandra, Daniella and Roch, as well as ‘Oompa Loompa’ staff, have all joined in on the fun and Charly’s even has its own reality cooking show on the Food Network called ‘Charly’s Cake Angels’.
Charly’s is famous for its ‘Mucking Afazing’ designer cakes for every special occasion imaginable and its diverse range of designer cookies (they are usually themed – I recently saw some Halloween ones there and in the past the bakery has gotten itself into a bit of hot water for even baking themed cookies in support of Reeva Steenkamp, who was tragically shot by her boyfriend and famous South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius in February 2013 – something I was proud of them for doing), petit fours, decadent Wicked Chocolate Cake, cupcakes and other tasty treats!
I have had the gastronomic pleasure of sampling most of the goods on offer (except the aforementioned themed cookies), as well as their hot chocolate and cappuccinos.
My all-time favourite has to be the Amarula cake (this costs roughly R 28 per slice) but coming in at a close second is the Wicked Chocolate Cake. (My virgin sampling of that remains unparalleled.)
Nevertheless, the Elmo and cheekily iced ‘Bite Me’ cupcake and Petit Four I tried there were very tasty too.
Some of the items are very rich (so be sure to ask for a take-away packet/box – their pink & white striped boxes are rather famous in and of themselves and I kept the one from my first visit) and it must be said that the Charly’s Bakery baked goods are anything but cheap but sometimes it’s nice to splash out a bit on sweet treats when you’re with friends or loved ones. (I’ve got many great memories of sharing the goods with my close family and friends)
There is limited seating space found on their outdoor, covered deck (it works well and keeps you dry and fairly snug, even in the rainy and often bitter winter months of June and July) with further leather seating inside and it can get very busy and crowded both inside and outside of the shop, especially during lunchtime and the mid – to late afternoon hours.
There is a special parking lot reserved purely for Charly’s Bakery visitors with a resident car guard and further paid parking in Harrington Square. (Note: There is free Wi-Fi access in the Square)
Another of the few minor minuses at Charly’s are the flies and pigeons which tend to hang around but this is to be expected when city life and yummy food meet.
The Bakery is open five days a week (except on Sundays, Mondays & public holidays) and will be closing at 14:00 p.m. on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Normally, during weekdays, the bakery opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 17:00 p.m. but on Saturdays they open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 14:00 p.m.
When you visit the bakery, be sure to take some photos of yourself outside the building and of the edible goods on display inside.
You can see their talented cake artists at work both indoors and outdoors as they decorate or spray paint their cakes.
The walls inside are adorned with photos of their more famous cakes and visitors, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey.
Like Oprah, Charly’s Bakery does a lot to give back to charity and they have blanket drives during winter for the homeless and toy drives over the Festive Season for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. If you donate, you get a cupcake in return as a token of their thanks.
You can also place and receive your cake orders in-store. For more information on Charly’s, head over to their brightly coloured website at: www.charlysbakery.co.za or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
I would give Charly’s Bakery a 7/10 review for the following: fairly good service, a variety of sweet, tasty treats, an interesting shop and an eye-catching, painted building and lastly, a sense of fun and creativity.