Café Society Knysna: Café Throbb

cafe throb, restaurant Knysna, coffee shop Knysna,

Cafe Throbb, 9 Gray Street, Knysna

Coffee is really important in Knysna. And when I saw that sign on the wall of Café Throbb, I finally understood why.

It was that famous image of Albert Einstein with hair all over the place and next to it, his even more famous formula. And its explanation:

“E = mc2. Energy = more coffee x two.”

Someone once said to me that the backpack is Knysna’s version of the business briefcase – which is particularly true when you consider that for many people in this relaxed little dorp of ours, the coffee shop is Knysna’s version of the boardroom.

It’s where you go for meetings, but it’s also where you go just to be with people, or just to be on your own – but above all, it’s where you go for proper coffee.

And this place has that.


Café Throbb occupies a historic old building on the corner of Gray and Gordon Streets that once housed a furniture maker’s workshop. I remember it well from back in the 80s: the rich smells of sawdust, stinkwood and cedar, yellowwood and pine as you walked past, and the timber spilling out onto the sidewalk.

Later (before the block on which it stands was redeveloped for the Rex Hotel), the building was incorporated into the first premises of the Knysna Fine Art gallery. (The delicately-coloured floor mosaic by the artist Simon Stone that once marked the entrance to the gallery was preserved during the redevelopment – look out for it in the courtyard on the south side of the building. And please read our blog post about the gallery in its present premises here.)

Today, of course, instead of planks of timber, it’s café chairs and small tables that spill out onto the sidewalk, and Throbb (I have to do this) throbs with activity from breakfast to night.

I was reluctant to go there at first – it looked intimidating to me, pretentious, even, but last week I was invited there (twice!) for breakfast, and I learned again not to judge a restaurant by its couverts.

The staff are awesome, friendly, and welcoming, and the food suits my taste perfectly. So far I’ve had their poached eggs (twice), and a tian of smoked salmon – a tower of layers of fish, avocado, fresh and crispy tomato, and mozzarella.

And I’m suddenly starting to find excuses to have more meetings.

  • More information at – although, in the friendly spirit of the place, their Facebook page is probably a better choice: Cafe Throbb