The famous Neighbourgoods Market was instrumental in turning the once rundown neighbourhood of Braamfontein into a booming creative hub; neighbouring Newtown has reinvented itself as a food-nerd destination while retaining strong links to its heritage; and Maboneng is a precinct on the rise (if you haven’t been downtown to Market on Main for breakfast or lunch on a Sunday, what are you waiting for?). Get a real taste for Joburg by exploring this top 10 in 2017.
1. FATHER COFFEE: for caffeine-fuelled cool. The baristas here aim to offer the best coffee in Jozi, and they do just that in an impossibly cool wood-panelled space on Juta Street. Order a cup of the signature Heirloom Blend, consisting of one Central African and two Central American grown beans roasted on site, and let the flavours of raspberry, lime, nuts and dark chocolate kick-start your day. Order a cronut to go or one of the other pastries by Tonka Bean Bakery. You won’t regret it. 73 Juta Street; tel: 082 513 4258, fathercoffee.co.za
2. DOUBLESHOT COFFEE AND TEA: for artisanal white tea. Head to this café and tea shop for high-quality, small-batch roasted coffees from Colombia, Brazil and Guatemala and delicately flavoured teas from Malawi. For the Zomba Pearls white tea from Satemwa Estate, individual leaves are hand- rolled into olive green “pearls”. Add one rounded teaspoon per cup to a teapot and brew at 85–95°C for 3.5 minutes while watching the leaves unfurl, releasing the aroma of lemon meringue. Corner Juta and Melle streets, doubleshot.co.za
3. BLACK FOREST BAKERY: for the ultimate German bakes.
You’ll be Homer-drooling before you even enter the door of this family-run bakery, thanks to the aromas that have been wafting into the hearts of inner-city residents around Juta Street for 20 years. Expect German breads and rolls, wheat- and yeast-free loaves, chocolate croissants, carrot cake, traditional Swiss Basler läckerli spiced biscuits and magni cent mandelpretzel almond pastry. All baked on site. Miss it and miss out. 102 Juta Street; tel: 011 403 0065
4. THE COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL: for the ultimate food and lifestyle experience. The Cosmopolitan Hotel, the inner-city’s grande dame, dates back to 1899 and is a destination for art, fashion, design and an array of culinary experiences. Chef Dario D’Angeli serves Mediterranean-style fare at the Cosmopolitan Bar and his legendary 10-course menu at Cube Tasting Kitchen restaurant. The hotel courtyard is also home to Firebrand coffee roastery and the oasis of Yswara Tea Salon, where Swaady Martin-Leke offers the likes of rose petal jam and a selection of artisanal teas in a rose-gold sanctuary. 24 Albrecht Street; tel: 082 422 8158, thecosmopolitan.joburg; cubekitchen.co.za
5. CHE ARGENTINE GRILL: for authentic Argentinean fare.
A whiff of smoky, spicy chorizo greets you as you enter CHE Argentine Grill, an eclectic ode to the South American country located in a converted vehicle-service workshop. Regulars will know their empanadas and sirloin sarmies from the weekend market at Arts on Main and pech – fatty pork belly served with lemon and herbs – is but one of the dishes that tango on the tongue. 303 Fox Street, Maboneng Precinct; tel: 011 614 0264, cheargentinegrill.co.za
6. SOUL SOUVLAKI: for out- of-the-box Greek cuisine.
Come here for flavourful food served from a double-storey container, which was once a storage facility for owner Dino Vlachos. He used the lower container to store the equipment that the fledgling restaurant used for Maboneng’s Night Market. But as his tzatziki, pita, bifteki, halloumi and chicken gained acclaim, so did the size of Soul Souvlaki. Take a seat on the lower floor, or head upstairs for city views while enjoying an authentic meze platter. 18 Albrecht Street, Maboneng Precinct; tel: 072 300 0896
7. COCOBEL DESSERTS: for summer-time soft serve.
Cocobel is a mint-coloured dessert truck on Maverick Corner that offers sweet treats, from old-school soft serves to incredible waffles and a selection of decadent cakes (the Amarula chocolate cake is a hit). And don’t miss the milkshakes in inspired flavours ranging from Oreo to Nutella and Eet-Sum-Mor. 18 Albrecht Street, Maverick Corner, Maboneng Precinct; tel: 084 692 8366
8. THE GENTLEMEN’S ARTHOUSE: for a taste of yesteryear. Maira and John Koutsoudakis of the Life Group have painstakingly restored Newtown’s Edwardian gentlemen’s washrooms, which date back to 1911, into a space for private events and bespoke experiences. Cocktails like The Cavalier Martini, made with house chamomile dry vermouth, gin and Caperitif, will get your party started. Then indulge in Victorian-inspired fare, including The League of Extraordinary Gentlelambs (lamb cutlets, rib lollipops and true duck-fat fries). Yeah baby. Workshop Newtown, 100 Carr Street; tel: 076 760 6308, gentlemensarthouse.com
9. THE POTATO SHED: for smokin’-hot food. This southern American-style barbeque smokehouse, located in one of Newtown Junction’s historic early 20th-century potato sheds, offers excellent meat cuts and veg cooked over flames or embers, or in the wood-burning oven. Highly recommended: a craft beer with the pulled pork belly that’s been braised for eight hours. And of 9 course there are potatoes in all their guises: triple-fried chips, stuffed spuds, potato skins, you name it … you’ll find (and love) it here. Shop 195, Lower Level Newtown Junction, 100 Carr Street; tel: 010 590 6133, thepotatoshed.com
10. TOWN THE BAR: for dim sum and gin.
This is the undisputed home of after-work drinks and dumplings in the city. The small, but perfectly formed selection of dim sum created by chef Sbu Msongelwa includes options such as chicken, beef, spinach and cream cheese. Pair your favourites with local artisanal gins such as Hope on Hopkins, or enjoy as a picnic basket addition at the Work Shop New Town’s family-friendly PICNICs on a Saturday morning. Work Shop Newtown, 100 Carr Street; tel: 011 492 1383, workshopnewtown.com