Saved by the bean!

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Inside Savior Cafe in Durban.
James Siddall

That skinny kid who used to ride that big Honda XL 500 in matric. That’s how Savior Café founder Max Pienaar first reintroduced himself to me by email – taking me back to 1987, a life that seems unutterably distant yet just like yesterday.

So when I pulled up to Savior Café on a winter’s day in a sparkling new Renault Stepway Plus, it felt a little like a homecoming, especially with the warm welcome from Max and his lovely wife Nicky.

Max Pienaar inside his leather studio at Savior Cafe in Durban

Savior – the American spelling is deliberate – “got into the coffee business quite by accident” when they opened as a leather studio in Durban’s edgy Station Drive Precinct.  They’ve since moved to a grand old suburban Glenwood home, full of sun-kissed nooks, niches and verandahs. It’s perennially popular for breakfasts and lunches. “The Bennie” (two poached eggs, bacon on sourdough with a rich Hollandaise – R80) for brekkie is delightful. Or try a burger, pizza, wrap, or curry for lunch.

Verandah of Savior Cafe situated in a sun-kissed suburban Glenwood house.

Ingredients are fresh, touches are light while the coffee – Glory Beans, a café-roasted blend – is so well rounded and smooth I took no sugar in the cappuccino I drank in the studio upstairs with Max, where he and an assistant still create bespoke leather goods from briefcases to wallets. Workshops are also run, while Savior Café caters for functions, too.

Pulling up to Savior Cafe in a sparkling new Renault

The Renault – the second one I was driving in two weeks –is the new range-topper in the French maker’s excellent Sandero Stepway range. These are high-riding, handsome hatchbacks, with power coming from an economical but perky 898cc turbocharged engine. It’s spacious inside, too, and well kitted with a reverse camera, satellite navigation, and electric windows.

Plus – and this is nice for the connected generation – it comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, four airbags, and a generous warranty. Yours for R213 900, which has me recommending these machines to my nearest and dearest with much the same enthusiasm I recommend Savior …