Pork belly from Reserved Cafe in Melville

January Restaurant of the Month: Reserved Cafe in Melville

Since I finished my #Gauteng52 series in 2017, many people have asked what my 2018 campaign will to be. I actually wasn’t planning to do anything. But upon further reflection it might be nice to do a couple of shorter projects.

Hence, I bring you the 2018 Restaurant of the Month series. My January feature is Reserved Cafe in Melville.

I stumbled upon this restaurant a week or two ago. It’s on 4th Avenue in Melville in 27 Boxes — a shopping center made from shipping containers. (27 Boxes has received some disdain from the community since it opened a couple of years ago, but the centre is under new management now and I think it’s finally finding its feet.) Reserved is on the ground floor in one of the spots opening out onto the street.

Inside Reserved Cafe in MelvilleThe interior of Reserved Cafe, the size of a single shipping container.

Iced coffee from Reserved CafeAn iced coffee from Reserved Cafe, at an outdoor table overlooking 4th Avenue. Normally I get annoyed by iced coffees that are more like milkshakes than coffee. But this one was particularly good — not too sweet — so I didn’t mind.

I had walked past Reserved a couple of times before and didn’t consciously notice it. It’s a tiny little place and I thought it was just a coffee shop. Also the name didn’t really jump out at me.

But in actuality Reserved is way more than a coffeeshop: It’s a legit restaurant, opened by a chef who cooks serious food.

Lunch at Reserved Cafe

I went to Reserved with my friends Fiver and Stuart. There is a small blackboard menu with a few specials, as well as quiches and salads displayed on the counter. Fiver and Stuart both had the pork belly and I had the gazpacho.

Pork belly from Reserved Cafe in MelvillePork belly.

Gazpacho from Reserved CafeBeautifully presented gazpacho.

Pouring gazpachoYum.

Quiches and salads at ReservedQuiches and salads.

I got really excited when I saw gazpacho on the menu; it’s one of my favorite soups and I rarely see it in South Africa. This version didn’t disappoint. I also tasted the pork belly and it was great.

Daniel Riberio, the owner and chef of Reserved, is a South African of Portuguese descent. He bakes his own Portuguese custard tarts, or pasteis de nata. I bought a couple to take home and they were delectable.

Custard tarts at Reserved CafePasteis de nata and other Portuguese goodness.

So Reserved was a nice surprise. I went there expecting coffee and instead had a delicious meal with great service.

Reserved Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I’m bummed they don’t serve dinner but this food would work well as take-away. There are only a few tables so reservations aren’t allowed — ironic considering the restaurant’s name.

Staff at Reserved CafeThe friendly staff at Reserved Cafe: Leandro, Nelson, Andre, Mankind, and Daniel.

Got a suggestion for the February Restaurant of the Month? Bring it on.

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  • Reply Gillian January 22, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Didn’t know 27 Boxes had a new owner. I never go there…Maybe I will pop in for a coffee at Reserved Cafe.
    I like the idea of this new feature.

  • Reply autumnashbough January 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    You’re gonna kill me with these great restaurants that are thousands of miles away.

    • Reply 2summers January 22, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      Start making a list for 2019.

      • Reply autumnashbough January 23, 2018 at 5:02 pm

        The list is already too long!

        • Reply 2summers January 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm


  • Reply dizzylexa January 22, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    So glad that 27 Boxes is under new management, I might go back now and try Reserved also a fan of Gazpacho.

    • Reply 2summers January 22, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Actually it might just be new management, not new ownership. I need to research that.

  • Reply Shawn January 22, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Will have to try Reserved! Food looks yummy, and um, the chef does too. (hides face)

    Have you tried Breezeblock in Brixton? Delightful place, completely out of the way, really deserves a bit of a spotlight.

  • Reply Zeza January 22, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I have been there on a few occasions and have not been disappointed. The service and food has been exceptional

  • Reply cycou01 January 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    There are 13 AUTHENTIC Portuguese resteraunts in the South (and I specifically exclude Calistos an some others from the category) .would love to take you on a gourmet tour to introduce you. Hower It seems you are/prefer vegitarian? Never mind the offer still stands. I am an avid follower of your blog and this would be a good opportunity to have a natter about places you might not know (few that those may be)

    • Reply 2summers January 22, 2018 at 11:14 pm

      Oh yes! I’ve been to a couple of the Portuguese spots in the south but definitely need to do more. I’d love your suggestions.

  • Reply Vera January 22, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Have you tried Mootee bar in Melville? Amazing!

    • Reply 2summers January 22, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      I’ve made plans to go twice but strangely haven’t made it yet. Soon!

  • Reply Fiver January 23, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Omg those little cakes were amazing. Crispy on the outside and milky on the inside. Best ever.

  • Reply Leandro January 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    You need to try their amazing home made chili source

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