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restaurants

Inside Industry Bakery

Quickie Restaurant Review: Industry Bakery in Emmarentia

A few weeks ago I organized an Internations coffee gathering at Industry Bakery in Emmarentia. I had been to Industry briefly once before, but didn’t sit down to eat. This time I ordered a couple of coffees and a full breakfast, so I thought I’d give the place a quick review in 400 words or less. Inside Industry Bakery. Before this recent visit I already knew that Industry has a pleasant atmosphere (I love the industrial feel of the interior) and good coffee. But I was surprised by the interesting breakfast menu. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the menu and now I can’t find it online, so I don’t know the exact description of what I ate. But it was innovative and tasty. I wish I could remember exactly what this breakfast dish is called. It was a burrito-like wrap, which tasted sort of like a thin crumpet, with a spicy egg mixture inside.  The man sitting next to me ordered these beautiful chocolate flapjacks, which contain no sugar and are therefore “Banting-friendly”. I didn’t try them. The man said they were good but could do with a little Banting-unfriendly sweetener. Either way, I love the look and would […]

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Breakfast in the Jozi ‘Burbs: My Top Five Picks

I’ve been meaning to write a breakfast installment of my Jozi Top Five series forever. It’s a tricky one though because there are so many restaurants to choose from. Breakfast is big here and a huge percentage of Joburg restaurants open for breakfast. (On the flip side, a large percentage of Joburg restaurants are closed for dinner.) I don’t make it out for breakfast very often, as I’m hungry in the morning and usually too impatient to leave the house, go to a restaurant, place my order, and then wait for the food to be served. And when I do commit to going out for breakfast it’s usually somewhere close to home. So my list of top breakfast spots is unabashedly biased toward my own neighborhood: I’ve included picks in Melville, Milpark, Parkview, Parkwood, and Parkhurst. The list is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully helpful for those who frequent Joburg’s inner suburbs. 1) Salvation Café 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark I can’t believe I’ve never written about Salvation Café before. It was one of the first Joburg restaurants I ever ate in — I had lunch there on my maiden visit to Joburg in 2008 — and I’ve been at least 25 times since. Salvation Café is in the courtyard of Milpark’s renovated 44 Stanley complex, […]

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I Ate South Africa

Seriously. I ate it all. I’ve been all over South Africa this month — four provinces, seven cities/towns (I think), and more hotels and restaurants than I can count. I did a lot of stuff. But mostly I ate. First I spent three days at the Grootbos Nature Reserve, and in those three days alone I ate more spectacular gourmet food than I’d eaten the entire year before that. Immediately after the Grootbos trip I participated in a weeklong #MeetSouthAfrica journey in which we literally ate our way across the country. It will take me a while to tell all the stories. In the meantime, here are some shots of the food. (I apologize that these photos aren’t all up to my usual standards; most of them were shot in really low light and I was under the influence of wine.) Grootbos: Gansbaai, Western Cape Grootbos is a five-star resort on a private nature reserve southeast of Cape Town. There are many wonderful things about Grootbos but the food is the most wonderful of all. Most of the food is organically grown and locally sourced right from the Grootbos farms. A traditional English breakfast at Grootbos. So simple and yet so scrumptious. Lunch at Grootbos: […]

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The Best (Only?) Arabic Pastries in Joburg

My list of favorite places to eat in Mayfair, Joburg’s ever-expanding Muslim quarter, is growing. King Arabic Sandwich is the newest addition. Here’s my review of it, which recently appeared on JHBLive. I heard a rumor about a new place in Mayfair: a Lebanese bakery run by refugees from Syria. I googled but found nothing, so I turned to Facebook. Within a few hours, the mystery was solved. The place I was looking for is not a Lebanese bakery run by Syrians, but rather a Palestinian restaurant run by Gazans. I drove to King Arabic Sandwich, at the corner of Hanover Street and 9th Avenue, the next day. King Arabic Sandwich. I don’t really feel qualified to write a proper review of King Arabic Sandwich, as one visit is not enough for someone – especially someone who knows nothing about Palestinian food – to get a feel for what’s on offer there. But I will say this: King Arabic Sandwich’s pastries, which most South Africans would describe as pies but are actually so much more than that, are enough to keep me coming back. The delicate pastries – some oblong, some half-moon-shaped, some triangular – are sprinkled with fragrant Arabian […]

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Indian Food Returns to Melville

A year or two ago there were no Indian restaurants in Melville. This was a sad state of affairs, as quick, tasty, affordable Indian food is a staple in the average South African diet. Sure, Fordsburg is just 10 minutes away from Melville and all the best Indian food in town is there. But it just wasn’t the same as having an Indian joint right in my own neighborhood. But life has recently improved for curry-craving Melvillians; we now have not one, but two Indian restaurants within our boundaries. I’ve recently eaten at both of them so I thought I’d do a quick double review. 1) Bismillah If you’ve ever eaten in Fordsburg then you probably know Bismillah, a Pakistani/Indian restaurant with three different locations on Fordsburg’s Mint Road and another location in Lenasia. But you probably don’t know that Bismillah has now expanded beyond the confines of Joburg’s traditionally Indian neighborhoods, opening a restaurant on Melville’s Main Road last month. The new Melville Bismillah, in a rather odd location at the corner of Main Road and St. Swithans Avenue. As soon as I heard the news, I descended upon the new Bismillah with several friends and wrote a review for JHBLive.com. You can read my […]

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Five Secret Spots for a Romantic Dinner in Jozi

I’ve had the privilege of eating at a lot of nice Joburg restaurants over the years, especially around Melville and the northern suburbs. For some reason, I’ve found that the best restaurants tend to be the ones that are trickiest to find. The best restaurants also tend to put little focus on publicizing themselves (or simply don’t know how to), and hence not many people know about them. For the past few weeks I’ve had a list of romantic, hidden Jozi restaurants bumping around in my head. Here are my top five favorites. (I like to present my lists in fives.) 1) Eatery JHB Corner 11th Street and Victoria Avenue, Sandton I’ve written about Eatery JHB before, but I’d like to reiterate that this is one of the best restaurants in Sandton and way better than anything you can find at Nelson Mandela Square, which is only five minutes away. Eatery JHB is hard to find because it’s around the corner from the other restaurants on 11th Street, in a rather dark spot on Victoria Avenue. If you don’t see it right away, just walk a few steps further. You won’t be disappointed. I love the unpretentious atmosphere as much as I love the […]

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Jozi Pizza Wars: Episode 3

Most of you probably know about the JoziPizzaWars by now but if you don’t, read here. The war rages on. Today’s post includes reviews of four diverse pizzerias. My co-conspirator Tim reviewed most of these places in his first JoziPizzaWars post, so check that out if you’d like to compare our opinions. Here we go: 86 Public The Grove, Melle and Juta Streets, Braamfontein 86 Public is, as far as I know, the only legit pizza place in trendy Braamfontein. It’s in a good location, off a courtyard in a popular student square called the Grove. 86 Public offers crazy topping combinations — bacon, dark chocolate, feta, and pear is just one example — sized medium or large, ranging in price from R60 ($5.00) to R100 ($8.50). The prices are comparatively high but you’re paying for the nice location and atmosphere. 86 Public’s pizza crust is light and crispy and I love the variety of toppings. But I think the sauce could use a few more herbs and spices. The veggie pizza I ordered was a bit bland, especially later on when eaten cold. On a positive note, 86 Public has good, free wifi and plays great music. Ratings: Base/crust: 4 Flavor/sauce: 2.5 Cold factor: 3 Atmosphere/service: 5 Overall rating: 14.5/20 I really […]

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Jozi Pizza Wars: Episode 2

Just before Christmas, my food-blogger friend Tim and I started a blog series called Jozi Pizza Wars. Our goal is to try as many of Joburg’s independently owned pizza places (no big franchises) as possible and rate them on a variety of factors. Eventually we’ll compile our scores and come up with a list of the ten best pizzas in Jozi. I reviewed five pizza places in Episode 1, but for Episode 2 I’ve managed only two reviews. A girl can only eat so much pizza, you know? But the two places I’m reviewing today are important, as I’ve eaten at both of them countless times and they are popular spots in their respective neighborhoods. Café Picobella Trattoria 66 4th Avenue, Melville Picobella was a must-review for me because I eat there so often; it’s within walking distance of my house. Picobella is great to have in the neighborhood because of its opening hours — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 356 days a year (including Christmas!). Along with the Ant and YOLO, which I reviewed previously, Picobella has some of the most popular pizza (as well as pasta and other dishes) in Melville. Picobella happens to be on Melville’s prettiest street corner, and […]

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Newtown’s South African/Ethiopian/Vegan Coffee Shop

Just before the holidays, JHBlive.com asked me to do a review of Kaldi’s Coffee in Newtown. (Read the JHBlive review here.) I’m really glad I did that review, because I’ve been overlooking Kaldi’s for years and now I know that it’s one of Newtown’s gems. I enjoyed Kaldi’s so much that I’m posting my JHBlive review here too. Enjoy: I must have walked past Kaldi’s Coffee at least 100 times before going in. I was under the impression that it was just another Joburg coffee shop, and my list of favorite Joburg coffee shops is already far too long thanks to the saturation in Braamfontein. But oh, how wrong I was about Kaldi’s. Kaldi’s unassuming entrance. Kaldi’s Coffee was founded eight years ago by an Ethiopian guy named – you guessed it – Kaldi. An Ethiopian coffee house/sandwich takeaway shop in the middle of Newtown (right across Mary Fitzgerald Square from Museum Africa) is an interesting concept in itself, but the story gets better. Two years ago, Kaldi’s Coffee was purchased by South African vegan Mmabatho Mokwena and her husband. Mmabatho kept the old Kaldi’s coffee and sandwich menu – “South African” and “vegan” are two words that don’t appear […]

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Jozi Pizza Wars: Episode 1

I used to believed that America had the best pizza in the world and I wouldn’t find good pizza in South Africa. That was nonsense. Johannesburg is a legit pizza town and the world should know this. I’ve come to love pizza more in South Africa than I did in America. South African pizza is less about the crust, which is usually ultra-thin, and more about the toppings, which are fresher, more plentiful, and more diverse than those on the average American pizza. South African pizza always comes with ramekins of grated parmesan, garlic, and chiles — so much better than those powdered cheese and dried red pepper shakers in America.  Avocado is a common pizza topping here. See the ramekins of garlic and chile in the background? American pizzerias need those. I’ve been meaning to write about Jozi pizza for a while (my last pizza post was almost four years ago), but I’ve been caught up in the enormity of the task. There are so many good pizza places around Joburg. I don’t know how to choose which restaurants to write about or how to assess them objectively. Plus, one person can only eat so much pizza. I decided that finding the best pizza in Joburg […]

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The New Best Croissant in Jozi

About two years ago I wrote a post called The Best Croissant in Jozi, about a quaint restaurant called Amamus Café in Parktown North. Sadly, Amamus closed a year or so ago. For some time I’ve been meaning to write a post about my new favorite croissant in Jozi — from French Corner Bakery and Coffee in Bryanston. (Actually the French Corner isn’t new — it’s been around for 14 years. But French Corner’s croissants were new to me when I discovered the bakery earlier this year while doing research for SandtonPlaces.) I just wrote a review of the French Corner for JHBLive.com and thought I’d share it on my blog too. By the way, JHBLive is one of the best local websites for finding quirky things to do in Joburg. I write for JHBLive often and I also read the weekly newsletter religiously. Check it out: www.jhblive.com. Anyway, here’s my JHBLive review of the French Corner. Enjoy: French Corner Bakery and Coffee is the closest thing to Paris in Joburg. Never mind that the “corner” is not on a Parisian boulevard, but rather in a Bryanston strip mall called the Cramerview Village Centre. Never mind that the French Corner’s airy windows look out onto a parking lot and a busy Total […]

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Update on Random Hot Pot Place (and Another Awesome Chinese Restaurant)

Most of you probably remember my recent post about the Random Hot Pot Place in Parkmore. That post taught me a lesson. I published it on a whim, without learning all the facts about the place I was writing about. To my surprise, the post spread quickly on social media and raised confusion about what the Random Hot Pot Place is, where it’s located, etc. I’m afraid I might have led a few hungry people astray. Sometimes I forget that people actually read this blog and expect me to know what I’m talking about. Anyway, after publishing that post I was asked to write a story about the Random Hot Pot Place for JHBLive. This was a perfect excuse to return to Parkmore and get my facts straight. Here is what I learned: 1) The actual name of the Random Hot Pot Place is Shanghai Hinabe. The sign above the door is in Chinese, but there is an English sign on the overhang facing the street. I researched the word “Hinabe” and discovered that it’s a Japanese word, roughly translated as “fire hot pot”. The exterior of Shanghai Hinabe. 2) The exact location of Shanghai Hinabe is 130 11th Street, Parkmore. Contrary to my initial instructions, it is four […]

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