Welcome to Week 32 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Solly’s Corner, a takeaway shop serving fish and chips and other fast-food delicacies in Fordsburg.
A few months ago I stumbled upon an article in Roads & Kingdoms called 18 Things to Know Before You Go to Johannesburg. It was an odd collection of tips, in my critical opinion. But the article’s 18th tip caught my attention: “Get stuffed” at Solly’s Corner.
The article described Solly’s Corner as Joburg’s “epitome of comfort food”, yet I’d never heard of it. I started to ask around. Apparently Solly’s is famous for fish and chips.
Solly’s Corner is in Fordsburg, Joburg’s historically Indian neighborhood and one of my favorite cheap-eats dining destinations. It’s strange that I never stumbled upon Solly’s before. I usually go to Fordburg for curry or samoosas, and I suppose it’s never occurred to me to seek out fish and chips.
Solly’s Corner, true to its name, is at the corner of Lilian Ngoyi Street (formerly Bree Street) and Central Road. There isn’t a big sign on the outside and Marie-Lais and I drove right past it the first time. Once we walked in, we nearly walked out again because we wanted to eat in and didn’t see anywhere to sit.
Then we spied a little room through the side door with a couple of tables.
Our friend Gail soon joined, and the three of us had a jolly Solly’s lunch.
Fish and Chips and More at Solly’s Corner
Solly’s Corner is a true Joburg institution, proved by the many newspaper articles taped to the walls. The menu is difficult to describe to non-South-Africans.
Offerings include fried polony (the South African version of baloney), Russians and Viennas (sort of like hot dogs), frikkadels (spiced meatballs), and “slap chips” — pronounced “slaahp chips” — greasy, floppy french fries. (They taste better than they sound.)
Solly’s offers several custom-made sandwiches and combos with names like “Madiba Box” and “E-Toll Box” and “Mother-in-Law Special”, with varying combinations of chips, meat, and gravy. And then, of course, there are the fish and chips.
Everything at Solly’s Corner is sprinkled with a spicy, homemade masala seasoning.
The fish and chips were delicious; the tasty fried coating worked perfectly with the spicy seasoning. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t finish my mountain of tasty slap chips.
After eating we hung around for a while, chatting to the staff. The owner wasn’t in but his son, Mohammed, was there and in charge, busily taking phone orders and dealing with suppliers. China, the deft short order cook, manned the fryer.
China was eager to be photographed but Mohammed and his colleague (also named Mohammed) took some coaxing.
We didn’t want to leave.
Thanks for the tip, Roads & Kingdoms. Solly’s Corner has rocketed to the top of my Jozi cheap eats list.
Solly’s Corner is at 30 Lilian Ngoyi Street, open from from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (extended hours until 7:00 p.m. on Fridays). Call +27-11-834-6359.
(Note: Solly’s Corner is next door to Akhalwaya’s, which has a similar menu and is actually owned by the same family. Akhalwaya’s has branches all over town.)