I’ve always been a fan of High Street and look forward with all my heart to the day when it will finally be pedestrianised, as recommended by the CBD Revitalisation proposal some years ago. Some of my favourite shops, galleries and eateries are located in High Street – from Beach House at the top end to CanD’s Kitchen, Wine & Co., The Art Gallery, Rossi’s, Art Thirst, Gallery 19, Walker Bay Modern Art Gallery (also home to the Gallery Café with its delightful courtyard), Curiositea and Oskars.

It’s no wonder these businesses have decided to host their own festive party this year in the form of the High Street Soiree, on Monday 23 December, from 17:00. Everyone is invited to come and ‘jingle and mingle’ in High Street, enjoying its special vibe, live music, bubbly and delicious food. For those who still have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do, this will be the perfect opportunity to find those special gifts for your loved ones.

The businesses in High Street have not only survived this difficult year, which saw several shops in the CBD close their doors due to economic pressures, but appear to be thriving. There are even two new businesses that opened last week – Yaeli’s Bistro next to Rossi’s and The Gallery Deli next to Walker Bay Modern, which is an extension of Emilia Knight’s vegan/vegetarian eatery, The Gallery Café. Here Emilia’s “simple, unadulterated, good-mood food” has won her a firm following, but working in a tiny kitchen has had its challenges and she is delighted with the extra space she now has.

Emilia Knight and her son, Oscar in The Gallery Deli, Hermanus’s first vegetarian and plant-based deli.

The deli stocks the same irresistible treats we have come to know and love at The Gallery Café, such as freshly-baked croissants (almond and orange; marmite and cheese; brie, fig and honey) and other delectable pastries, cakes and cookies (cheesecake, macarons, biscotti, Florentines). The focus is on take-aways that can be enjoyed on the go when you don’t have time to sit down and place an order, so instead you can simply grab a breakfast pot (yoghurt, berries and granola), a nutritional smoothie or freshly squeezed juice, organic coffee, an innovative sandwich, keto bite or salad.

“Whether you’re hangry, hungry or just peckish, whether your preferred diet is raw, plant-based, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat-free or keto, we have something for everyone,” says Emilia. The deli also stocks a selection of plant-based yoghurts, nut cheeses, local dairy cheese, bio-dynamic eggs, olives and olive oil, vinaigrettes, teas and organic coffee, and Emilia’s much-loved chilli jam, salsa and hummus to take home with you. Browse at your leisure and you’ll even find some quirky gifts that will warm the heart of any greenie.

The other wholesome addition to High Street’s eclectic offering is Yaeli’s Bistro, where the warm-hearted Israeli owner, Yaeli Ouknine, has created a welcoming space with her rustic décor style which features lots of wood (Yaeli is also a talented carpenter and made most of the tables herself) and vintage movie posters on the walls. The simple menu – with the slogan ‘It’s all your body needs’ – offers healthy, tasty and affordable dishes rooted in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

The rustic decor of Yaeli’s Bistro creates a warm and welcoming ambience.

Yaeli moved from Israel to Namibia a decade ago, where she ran a bistro in Windhoek before migrating to the Western Cape. Here she opened another bistro in Somerset Mall, but closed its doors when she settled in Onrus. Her next venture was a bistro in the Whale Coast Mall, but now she’s traded the shopping mall environment for the old-fashioned charm of High Street. “I feel very much at home here and part of the High Street community,” she says. “Everyone has been so friendly and helpful.”

Yali’s authentic, home-cooked food includes wholesome sandwiches made from pita bread and different combinations of fillings ranging from roasted halloumi cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fried aubergine, to tahini, beef kebab, falafel balls and a juicy lamb burger. There is also a wide variety of innovative salads and everything on the menu is available as either a full or a half portion. Apart from an assortment of coffees and teas, her yummy shakes deserve special mention. There are several to choose from (a difficult choice!) such as Re-charge (yoghurt, banana, dates and honey), Re-duce (celery, green apple and mint), Re-shape (cucumber, ginger, cranberries and beetroot), Re-load (figs, apple and coconut) and Re-vive (mango, ginger and passionfruit).

“All Yaeli’s food is made with love,” said her friend, Lana Bryant-Mostert, at the opening last week. This is equally true of Emilia, and together these two entrepreneurs are bringing something new to the High Street table, each in her own unique way.

The Gallery Deli is open Monday to Friday from 07:30 – 16:00 and on Saturdays (when Emilia can be found at the Hermanus Country Market) from 08:00 – 14:00. Contact her on 076 837 4231. Yaeli’s Bistro is open seven days a week from 08:00 – 21:00. Contact 076 147 0894.

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