Melville Snapshot: The Great Eastern Food Bar

by | Feb 9, 2014 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 18 comments

I’ve decided to intersperse my Sandton snapshots with Melville snapshots. I haven’t written about Melville — my home suburb — in a while. The newest 2Summers readers might not even realize that I live here, and I feel a moral responsibility to periodically remind the world that Melville is awesome. Also, a bunch of cool new restaurants and shops have opened in Melville lately. I’m going to try to feature one per week for the next few weeks.

My first Melville snapshot comes from the Great Eastern Food Bar, which just opened last month in the Bamboo Shopping Centre.

GE menu

The “GE” stands for Great Eastern, not General Electric.

I ate at Great Eastern for the first time today. I’m excited about it for three reasons:

1) Great Eastern moved into the corner spot on the top floor of Bamboo, a pleasant complex at the intersection of 7th Avenue, 9th Street, and Rustenberg Road. Great Eastern has a beautiful view of the Melville Koppies. The previous businesses that have occupied this space over the last three years — an art gallery and then an interior design studio — were not making optimal use of this prime location.

Great Eastern Food Bar view

Nice view.

2) At long last, there is a restaurant in Bamboo that is open for dinner. I love the Service Station, which is directly below Great Eastern, but it closes at 4:00. I live less than two blocks from Bamboo so this is great news for me.

Great Eastern Food Bat coffee

I met my Instagram friends for lunch at Great Eastern today. (They’re silly boys.) I walked there from my house in two minutes.

3) Great Eastern serves interesting, eclectic Asian food. The pad thai (which Great Eastern calls Phat Thai) that I ordered today was delicious.

Phat Thai

Pad (Phat) Thai with grilled shrimp, tofu, and lemongrass. Reasonably priced at R70 (about $6.50).

The Great Eastern menu includes a limited number of dishes and changes regularly, which I love. They also serve beer but no wine yet. I think customers are welcome to bring their own though.

I have a feeling that Great Eastern will soon become a prominent stop on the Jozi hipster dining circuit, and there are a limited number of tables. So I would recommend booking ahead, especially if you want a table with a view.

Great Eastern Food Bar wall

Great Eastern has plants on the walls.

Contact Great Eastern on Facebook, or at 011 482 2910.


  1. colin

    I was about to say that I didn’t know that GE had expanding into the restaurant business until you clarified the point. I am new to your blog so where exactly is Melville? That’s the only city that I’ve been to in South Africa.

  2. Timmee

    Hopefully at some point your Instagram friends will just become, friends. <3

    • 2summers

      It’s funny…As I was writing this I wondered to myself why I feel compelled to identify you this way. In this case, I think this particular photo required some extra explanation of who you are.

  3. Kathryn McCullough

    Looks like a great view, indeed, and how convenient to your house. Interestingly, Sara made Pad Thai today. Yummy!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • 2summers

      Pad Thai is the best! And it’s hard to find Thai food here.

  4. moirads

    I had breakfast at The Service Station over the weekend. Have not investigated upstairs because I don’t shop much. I will check out the Great Eastern now. 🙂

    • 2summers

      I’m glad to hear that I’ve inspired you 🙂

  5. Gail Wilson

    Looks good will have to give it a try.

  6. Jenna

    This place looks awesome… So glad you decided to share it! Will be sure to head over sometime soon.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Jenna. Let me know when you’re in the neighborhood!

  7. buddhableu2000

    Hi Heather, a nice blog from you again.Thanks. In your reply to Colin you refer to Melville as an inner suburb……why not “the ultimate SA suburb” or “city within a city” ??? just an idea. i lived in Aberdeen Street for many years and everything was just so convenient…..Bank, bottle store, doctor, dentist, chemist, physiotherapists,Bill Craig, Fred at Scala, Reds Gym, Spar, Horatios……..Am sure you know what I mean. Look forward to your next Melville story.Cheers, Alex, CM, Thailand where there’s no boerewors to be found.

    • 2summers

      Haha, I totally hear what you’re saying. But what is Horatios? I’ve never heard of that one.

      I obviously agree with you — Melville is my favorite suburb in Joburg and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I sing its praises at every chance I get. Here is another example: I do try to be at least a little bit objective in the way I refer to it though 🙂

      It must be very frustrating to live in a country without boerewors!

  8. Hallie

    Hi Heather,
    I am thrilled to have found your blog! We’re planning a trip to SA this July and was somewhat stumped by Johannesburg until I found your blog. Booked two nights in Melville. Very excited to explore. Thanks!

    • 2summers

      Hi Hallie,

      That’s fantastic — just what I love to hear. Best of luck with your trip and thanks for the comment.

  9. Kelsey

    Thanks for the heads up! I drove by the Bamboo Center yesterday and noticed people out on the veranda. We live in Melville (also expats) and have been loving the revamp of 7th Street. The Leopard and Joann’s remind us of our previous life in Manhattan. Will definitely have to try GE soon!

    • 2summers

      You’re very welcome.


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