Ile de Pain – the Island of Bread- is a truly beautiful bakery. I feel like I qualify as one of the lucky ones because I got to spend a morning at Ile de Pain. Ile de Pain is found all the way out on Thesen Island in Knysna- so sadly they cannot become my permanent Sunday breakfast spot (if only!). But if you’re driving anywhere in the vicinity of Knysna- you have to make a breakfast/lunch stop over. We had a breakfast stop over on our way back to Cape Town. They are open Tuesday-Saturday 8am til 3pm and Sunday 9am til 1:30pm. We had heard from friends that Ile de Pain boasts huge queues. So on the Sunday morning we were there at 8:30- and met with an already 10 people long queue!!
Being early I took the opportunity to have a look at their bathrooms- and they make the quirky bathroom list! Their bathrooms are covered with pictures of their food and plenty of accompanying recipes for your perusal! I saw this lovely coleslaw recipe that I’m very keen to try! The food pictures were beautiful and a glimpse into the delight that the actual restaurant held!
Once they were open we were all welcomed in with the height of efficiency. We lined up and all the waitresses lined up- and then the head waitress allocated us to table and a waitress who led us to the table. Ile de Pain is a beautiful beautiful space- filled with enchanting light features! The light bulbs hang between branches and leaves of trees creating such a magical atmosphere.
Over the main take away bakery section hang large hearts made of bread. And these hearts are further reflected in their wonderful cappuccinos.
On Sunday they offer a brunch menu which is a combination of a selection of their normal breakfast and lunch menu from during the week. I opted for the brioche french toast with berry compote and mascarpone cream fro R45. This was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had in my life! It was phenomenal, outstanding and truly perfect. The brioche french toast was buttery and sweet and not too eggy- just warm and delicious and wonderful. The berry compote was tart and fresh and clearly made from high quality berries. And the mascarpone cream was the cherry on top! It just helped tie everything together and enhance the deliciousness even more! A five star breakfast! I was so impressed!
My breakfast partner went with the sirloin steak with caramelised onions and mustard butter on ciabatta with tomatoes and rocket for R98. This was a delicious choice too- but due to the utter perfection that was my brioche french toast I won the best meal of the day. The steak was perfectly cooked, the caramelised onions were amazing (a personal weakness) and the bread was obviously fresh out the onion. A fantastic brunch/ lunch choice.
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Once we had finished breakfast we decided to get some take away baked goods for the road. The queue to buy these baked goods was about 15 orders long! It’s crazy how popular Ile de Pain is- but it makes sense once you experience the high quality and incredible food they have on offer- I too was prepared to queue twenty minutes for bread! And just look how truly beautiful this bakery is – right down to the hanging bread hearts and glass window boxes displaying their treasures.