My recent post about the pop-up burger joint was a big hit. Since I seem to be on a quirky restaurant roll, I thought I’d tip you off to another hidden joint I recently discovered: Mr. James’ Ethiopian restaurant on the edge of Maboneng.
Mr. James’ Ethiopian restaurant. I’m calling it that because the owner’s name is James. Continue Reading
Pop-ups have taken over Johannesburg. Pop-up clothing shops, pop-up restaurants, pop-up coffeehouses, pop-up night-clubs…you name it. It’s all popping up.
I don’t know if the pop-up concept exists in other places or just here. But in case you don’t know what a pop-up is, basically it’s a business that opens on a temporary basis with the understanding that it could close or move at any time. In some ways, the non-committal nature of this concept is kind of irksome. But in other ways I think it’s cool. It creates urgency and excitement to go and check out the pop-up before it disappears. And pop-ups are particularly well-suited to Joburg, which is one of the most rapidly changing cities on earth (and also has a lot of unused or under-used retail space).
So, a few days ago I was walking down Loveday Street in Marshalltown, a block from the Turret. It was almost lunchtime and I was vaguely hungry. I looked up and saw a sign: “Hamburger R10″. Continue Reading
Gramadoelas is the most famous restaurant in downtown Joburg. It opened 46 years ago in a Hillbrow garage, and has been in its current location next to the Market Theatre in Newtown since 1992. Gramadoelas serves traditional South African food with an exotic twist, and has hosted some of the world’s most prominent politicians and celebrities.
Gramadoelas is one of those places where I’d been meaning to eat for years, and I finally went last Friday night. Unfortunately my first supper at Gramadoelas was probably also my last. The restaurant is closing at the end of this month. Continue Reading
Braamfontein is hip. It’s so hip I can barely stand it. Every week at least one new restaurant/shop/bar/hotel/gallery opens in Braamfontein, each one hipper than the last. I love going there (Braamfontein is a 10-minute drive from Melville) and watching the hipness evolve.
Father Coffee is the hippest of them all, by a long shot (pardon the pun).
Father Coffee in Braamfontein. It’s hip with a capital H. Continue Reading
I’ve always loved the Joburg Central Business District (CBD). But until recently most of the time I spent in the CBD was on weekends, which means I missed out on the hustle and bustle of the downtown Jozi workweek.
Lately I’ve been going into the CBD more often during business hours, and I’m discovering tons of great new hangouts. I’ve realized that working hours are the funnest time to be downtown.
My favorite lunch place so far is Anka’s Kitchen, a small restaurant serving home-style South African food at the corner of Loveday and Frederick Streets in Marshalltown. Continue Reading
I’ve landed myself a gig working on a book about Joburg’s northern suburbs. This assignment involves hanging around various neighborhoods — eating in restaurants, visiting shops, drinking coffee, taking photos, etc. — and writing about it. Cool, huh? (I’m f-ing lucky.)
The book will be published by Gerald Garner and will be called SandtonPlaces, a sequel to Gerald’s JoburgPlaces books. (You can read more about Gerald’s books, as well as his Joburg tours, on his website.)
SandtonPlaces will be about Sandton, obviously, but it will also include several of Sandton’s surrounding suburbs. Those of you familiar with Sandton are probably surprised that I’ll be writing about it. Sandton is not known to be the most interesting part of Joburg. Don’t worry though. The Sandton quirkiness is there, and I’m finding it. Continue Reading
Last night I had dinner at the Darkie Café. I’m writing about it because:
1) The Darkie Café is smack in the middle of downtown Jozi, in the mining district — one of just a few restaurants in that area that are open at night.
2) The Darkie Café has decent food, and it’s fun.
3) The Darkie Café is called the Darkie Café. Only in Joburg will you find a restaurant with such a name. I like it. Continue Reading
As a Melville resident and passionate lover of all things Melvillian, I have an inferiority complex about the nearby suburb of Parkhurst.
I’ve ranted about this before so I’ll keep it brief. But basically, many Joburg residents are under the mistaken impression that Melville — once a Utopian gathering place for bohemian intelligentsia and hotbed for Jozi fun — has now deteriorated into a rat-infested drug den. Even some Melville residents fall into this trap, glorifying the old days when Melville had the Bassline and Soi Restaurant, and bemoaning the fact that today’s Melville isn’t more like Parkhurst, the bustling neighborhood to the north.
Don’t get me wrong — I like Parkhurst just fine. It has lovely restaurants and coffee houses, trendy shops, and a charming village vibe. Parkhurst even has a rad tattoo parlour. It’s a bit…shiny for me, and on weekends it’s overrun with preppy students and drunk 20-somethings. But other than that I have nothing bad to say about it.
Except for one thing: Parkhurst isn’t Melville. Continue Reading
Right around the time that my Dad booked his trip to South Africa, I was offered the chance to spend a weekend at DeHoek Country Hotel — a five-star hotel and restaurant outside Magaliesburg. Perfect timing, I thought. Dad’s birthday fell on the last weekend of his visit and this would be a good way to celebrate.
Sam, the head waiter at DeHoek, walks out of the hotel’s main building. DeHoek is about an hour northwest of Joburg, near the Cradle of Humankind. Continue Reading
I’m in a food rut.
I used to enjoy food-shopping and cooking, but since I’ve been on my own I can’t be bothered. I love eating out, but I’m on a budget and lately I’ve been too lazy to leave Melville. And as much as I love my suburb, I’ve become slightly weary of the Melville dining scene. Don’t get me wrong: There are several Melville hangouts where I love to eat and drink coffee. But I need to expand my horizons. Jozi is full of quirky suburbs, each with its own set of quirky dining establishments. Time to start discovering them.
When my friend told me about a café in nearby Parktown North that serves the best croissants in town, I insisted we go there, pronto. We went to Amamus Café Bakery the following weekend and I’m glad we did. Continue Reading