Malvern — a suburb east of downtown Joburg, sandwiched between Kensington and the industrial suburbs of Denver and Cleveland — is rather downtrodden. Jules Street, the main road through Malvern, is populated mainly by chop shops, small factories/warehouses, and dilapidated apartment blocks.
Unless you’re shopping for auto parts or a used car, there are very few reasons to go to Malvern (especially for those of us on the west side of town). But Pure and Cool Roadhouse is one of those few reasons.
Early Dinner and Milkshakes at Pure and Cool
Thorsten and I drove out to Pure and Cool on a Friday afternoon, fighting surprisingly heavy month-end traffic to get there before sunset. Our friend Gail, who lives in Kensington, met us there for a milkshake.
I first learned about Pure and Cool in an informative blog post Gail wrote about Malvern in 2018. Thanks to Gail’s post I know Pure and Cool used to be a branch of the legendary Doll House roadhouse chain, before being sold to new owners and renamed about 40 years ago. You can see this history in Pure and Cool’s distinctive doll’s house design. (The Lollipop Roadhouse in Pretoria, which I blogged about a few months ago, also used to be under Doll House ownership and has a similar design.)
We went to Pure and Cool at an odd hour, after lunch and before dinner. But there was still a steady trickle of customers pulling up in cars and eating at the cluster of tables on the edge of the lot.
Pure and Cool has a fantastic menu. It offers the usual burgers, pizzas, and toasted sandwiches that all roadhouses have, along with a list of special sandwiches with names like “Winston Spl”, “Kennie Spl”, and “Jughead Spl”. I went with the “Popeye Spl”, a toasted sandwich with mince (ground beef with a tangy sauce, kind of like Sloppy Joe), egg, cheese, and tomato for R53 (about $3.85).
I was a little disappointed when my sandwich arrived and it didn’t come with chips. But I didn’t need chips, as it turned out; the Popeye was perfect on its own. The bread was perfectly toasted, the egg was perfectly fried, the meat was perfectly seasoned. Even the tomato slices were perfectly red and juicy — highly unusual in South Africa. I find that South African sandwich tomatoes are usually a disappointing shade of pale pink, with taste to match, even in “nice” restaurants.
I felt super happy after eating the Popeye. I think it was the most flavorful roadhouse sandwich I’ve had yet.
Unfortunately the lights in the Pure and Cool neon sign aren’t working right now. Nonetheless, I loved the building with its jaunty red stripes and old-school painted signs. I took tons of pictures.
The streak continues: I have yet to visit a roadhouse that doesn’t delight me. Please give Pure and Cool a try. They’re on Uber Eats.
Pure and Cool is at 105 Stanhope Road, Malvern East. Call 072-064-2820.