Vovo Telo

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Van Buuren and Kloof streets, Johannesburg, South Africa




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4.0 rating based on 1 rating
4.0 rating based on 1 rating
4.0 rating based on 1 rating
4.0 rating based on 1 rating
  1. Expert Review

    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Oct 2014 · dflsanchez

    Vovo Telo Bakery & Cafe claims to use stone-ground flour, free-range eggs and award-winning cheeses in its sandwiches and breads...

    Vovo Telo Bakery & Cafe claims to use stone-ground flour, free-range eggs and award-winning cheeses in its sandwiches and breads — just a few reasons why this South African chain is so popular.

    That and the ciabatta, rye, coconut loaves and brioche that flew off the shelves the morning I went there for breakfast.

    For breakfast I ordered The Pickering — artisan bread with ham, brie and a poached egg. You can say anything you like, but the proof is in the eating. I could taste the quality.

    With a passion for baking but no background in hospitality, Sandra Turanjunan gave up a job in marketing to open the Vovo Telo at 44 Stanley in Milpark.

    A Bosnian South African, she owns one of about 13 Vovo Telo restaurants in South Africa. She was the first to own a franchise when the restaurant became part of the Famous Brands portfolio four years ago.

    The restaurant’s popularity speaks to the growing desire many South Africans have to know where their food comes from, Turanjunan said.

    Vovo Telo founder Matt Rapton got the inspiration for what would become Vovo Telo bakeries and cafes when he was on vacation in Madagascar. Rapton saw an old man riding past a hotel on a bicycle with a basketful of bread.

    The word “vovo” translates to “old person” in Portuguese.

    Rapton opened the first Vovo Telo in Port Elizabeth, selling bread only. People started asking for coffee, so Rapton bought a coffee machine.

    The rest is history.

    “There was a huge gap in the market for baking done the old traditional way,” Turanjunan told me. “Everything is made from scratch here.”

    The essence of Vovo Telo is that the food is wholesome and carefully selected.

    With the decor, the goal is simplicity at Vovo Telo, 44 Stanle. It’s casual, homey and shabby chic with a corrugated iron ceiling and concrete floor covered by a huge, Persian-style rug. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling.

    On one wall, there were framed prints by Russian-South African artist Vladimir Tretchikoff, including one of his signature pieces from the ballet, Swan Lake.

    At Vovo Telo you can order paninis, ricotta hot cakes with honey butter, and pain perdu (brioche French toast) with honey mascarpone cream and berry compote, to name a few breakfast items.

    Overstuffed sandwiches (“sarmies” in South Africa) looked inviting in a case by the register,
    suggesting you can — and should — take a piece of Vovo Telo with you when you leave.

    Turanjanan talked to customers at tables and to suppliers on her mobile phone during the brisk breakfast trade.

    I got the feeling this restaurant was all about the pursuit of perfect loaf of bread.

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