Braamfontein, one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs, boasts a unique food culture with modern twists on hundreds of classic recipes. The 162-year-old suburb, which has undergone a 13 year process of urban renewal, has seen entrepreneurs transform abandoned buildings into trendy restaurant spaces, artisanal shops and business centres.
And, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you pop into the area, because there is always something to tickle your taste buds. Here are 19 must try food & drink treats:
1. Early birds’ breakfast: Post, on Juta, prides itself on feeding the early birds in Braam. Opening at 6:30am every weekday, this five-year-old cafe serves a flapjack, bacon, Greek yogurt, honey and fruit breakfast which is a crowd favourite. Owner Dave Hayes says it’s their “most popular breakfast on the menu,” and setting you back only R 42.00, it’s easy to see why.
2. Mid-morning coffee boost: If Friday night’s shenanigans give you a heavy head, pop into Double Shot coffee shop on Juta, for a boost of the Kenyan Masai espresso. “It tastes like gummy berry juice, with its black current and dark berry flavours,” says coffee connoisseur, Ori Cohen.
3. Pizza perfect: Your lunch plans will never go wrong with 86 Public‘s gourmet pizza and a glass of sparkling wine, on a sunny day in the Square on Juta.
4. Wholesome & healthy: If pizza isn’t your thing, try the Quinoa salad at Anti Est on De Beer Street. Rocket and mint leaves provide a fresh body to the dish, with a hint of sweetness from the peppadews and a tangy pop from the lemon dressing . Cashew nuts and goats cheese adds contrasting textures which give the salad a smooth and crunchy, yet rounded finish. Well worth R 99-00!
5. Cocktail complements: Despite its risqué name, their Porn Star Martini and a shot of sparkling wine pairs perfectly with the freshness of the salad.
6. Tea anyone? : Give afternoon traffic a skip and try Double Shot’s Earl Grey latte.
Cohen says the latte ” is really interesting and tasty, with milk, but you wouldn’t expect it or regret trying it.” We know we didn’t regret it!
7. Diner dinner: Ever heard of a deep fried Mac ‘n Cheese burger? Well, Mr. Big Stuff, located on Melle street, is a modern take on the classic American diner with its burgers and shakes. “We wanted to stay away from the hipster, cafe style trend,” says co-owner, Shane Durrant. “We don’t do a brie and cranberry burger, we do the diner classics!” Beef patty and a layer of deep fried mac ‘n cheese? Yes please!
8. Classic ‘shakes: And it wouldn’t be an American diner experience without a chocolate & peanut butter milkshake.
9. Gourmet burger: If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then The Burger at Anti Est is a must! Fluffy matchstick fries accompany a moist, handmade beef patty topped with roasted baby peppers and mozzarella cheese. “I created these flavour combinations so that when someone bites into the burger, their mouth is full of different flavours and not just the meat flavour,” says head chef, Alona Yizhaky.
10. Cocktail hour: Most delicious cocktail in Braam – Cousin Mary, also at Anti Est. A hint of vodka, a splash of gin, some fresh litchi and mint… Hello weekend!
11. Beer instead? If you prefer beer, then choose from a selection of craft beers at the Neighbourgoods Market on Juta, over the weekend.
12. Weekend spoils: The Neighbourgoods Market is a foodie’s heaven, but be sure you arrive early! So while you wait for opening at 9am, grab a sweet, sticky pretzel, covered in slivered almonds (R10) and a coffee at Daleah’s eatery down the road on De Beer Street.
13. Neighbourgoods Market: In the mood for a weekend cheat? Buy cake and eat!
There are countless sweet treats to get your hands on from a variety of cake, candy and patisserie stalls at the market.
14. Japanese Dim Sum: A savoury snack platter of four dumplings and a Hong Kong pear is well worth R50-00 at the market’s DimSumFest stall. Filled with crab & cream cheese, chicken & coriander and spinach & cream cheese, the dumplings are delicious, but the Hong Kong pear steals the show.
15. Hong Kong pear: “I wanted to make something that would showcase my creativity,” says chef, Canny Sbu Msongelwa, and that’s exactly what he did. Filled with spring onion, spicy chicken and cream cheese, the intriguing looking pear is surprisingly fluffy and flavoursome once you bite into its golden crust.
16. Crumbed chicken and fries: The market’s Sumtin Fresh stall likes to keep the street food scene real with their fried chicken strips on a bed of fries, topped with cheese, mayo and a sweet chilli sauce.
And they might not do the chicken dance, but their chicken has them singing for customers all day:
17. Seafood Paella: It’s impossible to walk by Tutto Food Co. at the market and not stop for their seafood paella. They draw inspiration from Italian and French heritage and create what they call “Afro-Mediterranean” food.
18. Breads: Nothing can replace the taste and smell of freshly baked bread on the weekend. You can grab a loaf or two from a selection of breads at the market every Saturday and Sunday.
19. Sunday smoothie: There’s nothing like a refreshing fruit smoothie at the market on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Grab a cool one as you head home for a late afternoon snooze, as the weekend draws to a close.