THE SWEET SPOT
Fairlady|April 2020
An authentic French crêpe, served up in style? Or a scoop of ice cream in just about any flavour imaginable? We know just the place!
CAROLINE PETERSEN

Swan Café Jessica Rushmere

'START-UP COSTS: ‘Swan Café took three years to create before we even opened the doors. I spent two of those years working with multi-award-winning SA furniture designer Haldane Martin to perfect the look of the café.

TURNOVER: ‘We are very happy to be able to train and employ 15 staff members.’

A mid the hustle and bustle, the darting taxis and the general hubbub of Cape Town, you’ll find a chic little French crêperie, seemingly plucked straight from the streets of Brittany. With the red, white and blue colour scheme, the whimsical menu and the Leonardo da Vinci and JeanLéon Gérôme prints lining the walls, it’s clear where Jessica Rushmere got her inspiration.

How did you come up with the name?

‘The swan is my spirit animal. The image of a swan on a lake is so elegant, just gliding peacefully. But you don’t see what’s happening just below the surface. Underneath, their feet are paddling like crazy! That’s a fitting image of myself and my team at Swan.’

You once travelled the world as a model. Why settle in Cape Town?

‘Everyone always asks why I don’t just go back to France if I miss it so much. But Cape Town has been my home for the past 20 years, so I created here what I miss from there. When I started dreaming about Swan Café, I knew the start and I knew the result; I had no idea about anything in between. Swan Café opened in May 2018, but the project really began three years before. I was completely obsessed.’

What made you decide to open a crêperie?

‘I wanted to create an experience for people, a destination shop where they’d be transported to France. Starting a crêperie seemed like the perfect plan, as I’ve always loved indulging in crêpes, especially with a side of craft cider served in a little bowl, as they do in France. Once I had the vision of what I wanted to do, I put everything into it. I trained as a manager and did a crêpe masterclass in Brittany, where crêpes originated.’

How did you go about designing your chic home away from home?

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