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By Jana-Mari Smith
Nothing builds up a good appetite like a fabulous day of shopping. So it is no coincidence that the Craft Café at the Namibia Craft Centre (NCC) in Tal Street in Windhoek is always buzzing with clientele. But even without the shopping element, the Craft Café is well worth a visit on its own merits.
Situated on the top floor of the NCC, amidst stalls selling a wide selection of Namibian arts and crafts, the Craft Café offers its own variety of delicious treats, perfect for any time of the day.
In 2005, Roland Losch bought the Craft Café from the Stegmann family who established it in the 1980s. An engineer with a PhD in aerodynamics, Roland left his academic career to follow his passion. “I always had an interest in gastronomy and hospitality,” he says.
When the opportunity presented itself, Roland snapped it up. He explains that he has always loved food and cooking, and has a particular fondness for Italian cuisine. Since the Craft Café had already been in existence for many years, Roland realised he needed to put his own personal stamp on the enterprise.
He added a large balcony, which today is the heart of activity at the café. It’s a shaded spot from where you can watch the comings and goings in and out of the Craft Centre, while sipping your cappuccino or shake. He expanded the kitchen and amended the menu to suit his personal food philosophy.
Roland says the emphasis at the Craft Café is on healthy food, prepared with fresh ingredients. Most meals are served with a salad, and customers can choose one of eight different salads as a meal on its own.
The kitchen creates a variety of quiches each day, the spinach and feta quiche being the hot favourite. The menu features a choice of freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, and clients can request their own mixes, ranging from orange, beetroot and celery, with or without grated ginger, and so on.
Fresh bread is baked daily. One of the most popular items for those with a sweet tooth is the apple crumble. Others are baked cheesecake (with added seeds, nuts and dried fruit), chocolate cake, carrot cake and scones.
In addition to what is offered on the menu, the Craft Café sources a variety of home-made products from farmers, including jams and preserves, prickly-pear juice and Namibian-produced liqueurs. You can also buy a selection of coffees and teas, as well as Namibian-made ceramic dishes and other pottery.
The Craft Café, with its industrial and earthy ambience simulating that of the Old Brewery building in which it is housed, is not only ideal for resting your feet after a hard day of shopping, but also a place where anybody can feel at home, eat good food, enjoy a drink and soothe a weary soul.