Welcome to Week 48 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 the Richmond Studio Café, a new coffeeshop in Richmond.
Every now and again I visit a new place in Joburg and get so freaking excited I literally cannot wait to blog about it. Such was the case on Tuesday, when I went to the Richmond Studio Café.
Richmond is a suburb just south of Melville. It’s one of those tiny Jozi suburbs — just a few square blocks — that most Joburgers outside the immediate area probably haven’t heard of.
But Richmond has a special caché, despite its modest size. Several national and international news agencies — CNN, Media24, SABC, etc. — are based in or immediately surrounding the suburb, so Richmond has always been a central hangout for the South African media. It has a buzzy, journalisty vibe that I’m fond of.
When I first moved to Joburg there was a legendary bar in Richmond called the Bohemian. But the Bohemian closed and moved to Westdene in 2012. Richmond used to have a popular bakery/coffeeshop, run Stuart “The Chef” McClarty, but that also closed some years ago.
For the last several years there haven’t been any restaurants in Richmond. And a Jozi suburb with no restaurants is like a forest with no trees.
That all changed a week or two ago, when the Richmond Studio Café opened.
The Richmond Studio Café. The man on the far left is Stuart “The Chef” McClarty himself. The parquet flooring tiles decorating the ceiling beam and far wall were salvaged from the old Bohemian across the road.
Breakfast at the Richmond
I went to the Richmond for coffee and breakfast with my friends Fiver and Stuart.
We sat down at a long wooden table. Stuart proclaimed the wifi strong (high praise from Stuart) and disappeared into his iPad. Fiver and I ordered cappuccinos and sandwiches and commenced our Instagram stories. I looked around and realized everyone in the shop was familiar — mostly photographers and journalists I’ve met at some point or another. The tables were strewn with open laptops and DSLRs.
The cappuccinos were made from Origin Coffee and perfectly brewed. My toasted croissant was flaky and buttery. The decor was aesthetically pleasing; I noticed the hanging lamps are made from old cameras.
The Richmond’s owners, Antoine de Ras and Mantombi Makhubele, are an impossibly cool and delightful couple. Antoine is a documentary photographer (the Richmond Studio Café used to be his photographic studio — hence the name) and Mantombi is a former journalist and runs a travel company.
The Richmond is pleasant without being pretentious. I love it.
Yay for the Richmond. I will be a regular. The end.
The Richmond Studio Café is at 14 Menton Road. Call +27-83-460-1967.