Exploring Jozi’s Odd Side

Melville has a reputation as one of Joburg’s quirkiest neighborhoods. But Melville doesn’t have a monopoly on quirkiness.

Today Joe and I went to Greenside, one suburb over from Melville, to try out a restaurant there called the Odd Café. We go to Greenside all the time for groceries but this was the first time I’d properly investigated the neighborhood. Turns out the whole place is odd.

A vintage ashtray outside the Odd Café.

The Odd Café is a coffeehouse, restaurant (with all-day breakfast — score), and art exhibition space all rolled into one. It is indeed odd, in a very good way. The furniture is mismatched, the music is eccentric, and the menu is adventurous. It’s decorated with graffiti on the outside and has a London telephone booth on the inside.

Looking out from inside the Odd.

A perfect happy hour venue in the Odd Café basement. The current art exhibition is “Pop Goes Your Culture,” by Chad Farah. All the paintings on display throughout the restaurant are Chad’s.

I had the Spanish vegetarian breakfast — delicately spiced scrambled eggs topped with haloumi, onions, and red peppers, with a side of grilled ciabatta bread and berry-chili jam. Joe ordered the “Leaning Tower of Odd.” I copied the description straight from the menu so I wouldn’t forget:

“French toast layered with creamy spinach, bacon, onion, and drizzled with chocolate balsamic reduction.” Dear God, it was spectacular.

The two dishes cost R38.50 and R39.00, respectively. About $6.50 each.

Odd Café also serves good coffee from a Cape Town company called Origins Roasting.

A creamy “flat white” cappuccino.

Well-fed and highly caffeinated, we wandered across the street to Deer Hunter Junk Shop. Junk shops normally scare me — there are a couple in Melville that I haven’t been brave enough to enter yet. But Deer Hunter is special.

Fedora-sporting hipster youth peruses LPs at Deer Hunter.

Shaun, the owner of Deer Hunter, and his astonishingly cute daughter, Frankie. Don’t be deceived by the name of the shop or the fact that Shaun is wearing camo — he does not hunt actual deer. He and his wife collect interesting deer pictures and figurines. The walls are covered in needlepoints featuring deer.

The July 1974 issue of National Geographic. From the month I was born! I bought it for R15, which is probably less than the cost of a new National Geographic from Barnes & Noble. Photo courtesy of Joe.

Our final stop in odd Greenside was Mamma’s Shebeen, a local hangout just up the street. Mamma’s serves traditional African food. We only went for a drink so I can’t attest to how it tastes, but the menu looked quite expensive. Great place to sit and watch the world go by though.

Chillin’ at Mamma’s.

Another hipster youth. Greenside is crawling with them.

There are several more odd places in Greenside that I haven’t visited yet, and of course there is oddity all over this city. This won’t be the last odd post from 2Summers.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Mia April 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I love Greenside! Such a great place to watch the world go by. I can recommend Karma or Spice Burg for the curry, Fratelli’s on a Sunday for great live music, pizza and mojitos, Real Sushi for real cheap sushi, and Andiaco for midnight pizza craving.

    Enjoy! I love hearing about your discoveries. Will have to try Odd Café when we are back. Oh, and keep checking the Deer Hunter, they get “new” random bits and pieces in all the time.

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Is Real Sushi the place with the conveyor belt? Love that place. I’ve heard many good things about those Indian restaurants — need to try them.

  • Reply ingrid Stahlman April 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Amazingly odd. .. .I loved it! Mr. Vinylhead?!?!?!?

  • Reply amblerangel April 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Very interesting places around your hood…

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Indeed. I keep discovering more and more.

  • Reply eremophila April 6, 2011 at 12:34 am

    The Leaning Tower of Odd looks delicious too – Joe’s definitely got good taste!
    Love all about the Cafe:-)

  • Reply tomorrowslices April 6, 2011 at 4:30 am

    It’s so good to hear that the quirkiness of Greenside has not changed over the years!

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough April 6, 2011 at 5:34 am

    There’s a good chance we’ll be sent to Japan since the earthquake and tsunami, but I am still holding out hope for South Africa. Your posts are making me fall more and more in love with the place!
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I’m happy to hear that. Maybe you can come for a visit!

  • Reply Pule April 6, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Went to Mama’s sometime last year and am loving it to bits.

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Yeah, it has great atmosphere. It always seems to be busy in the evenings too.

  • Reply Derek Smith April 6, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Christina Patricios owns Odd and her husband Oresti is the “designated driver” to fetch & carry. They are great people and I met them by accident last year when I wandered in there with a camera. What attracted me was the graffiti on the outside of the building (Done by the Mars crew) They’ve become friends and are great hosts – join their facebook page and look when they have Sardines wrapped in vine-leaves roasted on the coals on the menu again…..THE YOU RUN THERE AND EAT AS MANY AS YOU CAN MANAGE……they’re absolutely divine.

    Deer Hunter is quirky and I was quite amused to notice piles of old Playboy magazines on sale, but you have to be a South African that grew up here in the 60’s & 70’s to really appreciate them.

    These and many other things were banned and verboten and I actually grew up believing that females were born with stars implanted on their breasts (not nipples) The odd Playboy obviously found its way into sweaty teenage hands stolen/borrowed from an elder brother or your father (oh horror) who smuggled them in from overseas. The only copy I actually would like to own now is the one featuring Marilyn Monroe but Deer Hunter hasn’t got it and it’s worth big money if you can find one.

    Nice blogpost – I love viewing the familiar with fresh eyes. I’m sending your link to Odd, they will most probably link it to their page.

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Thanks Derek! I met Christina yesterday and also sent her the post. I hope she likes it — we had such a great time there. LOL on the Playboys 🙂

  • Reply Yashik Nanan August 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Greenside’s definitely worth exploring more! In terms of Indian food though, Karma is awful (no idea how they won those awards). Spiceburg is very nice. Tasty food, although a bit oily and pricey. They have an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays which is awesome. The Greenside Cafe, not far down the road from Spiceburg serves amazing vegetarian food – and a banoffee pie to die for. Fratelli’s is generally great for a pizza, but their original restaurant in nearby Blairgowrie does the best halloumi and avo pizza! worth checking out. again… thanks for an amazing blog!

    • Reply 2summers August 7, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Yes, I’ve been meaning to try Spiceburg and Greenside Cafe for ages. Definitely on the list. Halloumi and avo pizza sounds amazing!

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