Fifth in an occasional blog series called This Is the East, featuring hidden spots on Johannesburg’s East Rand.
On a busy stretch of Van Riebeek Avenue in Edenvale, amidst hair braiding salons and car stereo places and dusty old bookshops, is an authentic, nearly full-sized Dutch wooden windmill. Inside the windmill is a Dutch pancake house and below it is the best Dutch bakery in Joburg.
De Backery was founded by a Dutch family in 1963 — originally a small, single-story bakery. The place became popular over the years and continued to expand, with people coming from all over Joburg for its bread and pies and pastries.
In the 1990s De Backery’s owners looked into commissioning a neon sign shaped like a windmill but eventually decided to build an actual windmill instead — a 3/4-sized replica of the Zeldenrust windmill in Gronigen, Holland. That’s when De Molen (“the Windmill”) Pancake House was born, inside the windmill on top of De Backery. The vanes even turn when there are no customers on the balcony.
Breakfast on the Windmill
Breakfast on a windmill — what more do I need to say? We sat on the balcony overlooking the busy street, feeling the breeze and eating pancakes and pies and drinking coffee. It was a perfect East Rand Saturday morning and I wish I could have stayed there forever.
De Backery is a worth a trip to Edenvale, no matter where you live. Go this Saturday and get there early before the best pastries sell out.
De Backery is at 47 Van Riebeek Avenue, Edenvale.