Home to hipster hangouts and great food spots, Illovo is high up on the Joburg wining and dining scene's list of neighbourhoods to explore over weekends. From fourth-generation Mediterranean eateries to Asian grab-and-gulps, there is something for everyone. But hidden in between the office parks around the corner from the legendary Norman Goodfellows and the rest of Illovo Junction, is the neighbourhood's best-kept secret – Grate Café.
Grate Café: A Local Brunch Spot
Located within Illovo's cluster of office parks, Grate Café can be found halfway down Fricker Road. During the week, the dining crowd is made up of office jockeys, post-school-run moms and remote workers. The food? Impeccable. Good coffee, fresh croissants, and pastries are the order of the day. They sell vegan cookies, too!
For the early risers out there, Grate Café has exciting offerings (available until 12:00). Patrons can dig into breakfast favourites such as three-egg omelettes packed with various stuffings, eggs Benedict served with in-house made hollandaise sauce, and Grate Café's Instagram-famous French toast. We're not going to list the entire menu here, but know that there are no wrong choices here – everything is good.
Grate Café On Weekends
Recently open for trade on Saturdays, Grate Café is the perfect spot to meet up with friends and family for something hearty and delicious. With wood-fire pizzas and flame-grilled chicken famously gracing the café's menu, patrons are in for a treat. Again, there are no wrong choices when it comes to the menu – these dudes know what they're doing in the kitchen.
The al fresco setup flanks the street-side and acts as an oasis between commercial buildings. The atmosphere is relaxed and reminiscent of a Parisian dining experience without the pretence. The service is excellent and waitstaff are friendly and helpful – everything a diner could ask for.
The Drinks List
In recent years, the word "mixology" has exploded all over the city with all kinds of big-bearded barmen throwing bottles around and mixing all kinds of random things. This is not the case at Grate Café, and we're thankful for that. As much as we enjoy the over-the-top creations found in rooftop bars and the like, sometimes it's great and even necessary to be greeted by a cocktail menu that sports the classics. Mojitos with fresh lemon juice. Long Island Ice Tea with a kick. No wrong choices. All of these things come together and form an excellent drinks menu. To boot, the wine list is nothing shy of a good time, either with local and international favourites making an appearance.
So, whether you're hitting mimosas with the girlfriends or watching the sun go down over the concrete jungle, there's a drink at Grate Café to fit the occasion.
Address: Boulevard, South Piazza, 9 Fricker Road, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg
It's an Exclusive Dining Experience at Olive & Plates
If you've ever visited an Olive & Plates establishment in Joburg, you'll know that they are all about fresh produce, luxury dining and making great memories. The brand currently has three branches in the city - the WITS Club, the Embassy in Sandton, and the Exclusive at Hyde Park Corner.We recently visited the Exclusive branch to sample their new menu. Having previously visited the WITS Club outlet, we were excited and highly expectant of both the food and the service. The Olive & Plates Exclusive met our expectations and more. Here's what we saw, tasted and took away from our visit:
Two worlds combined
Olive & Plates Hyde Park takes dining with a difference to a whole new level. The restaurant is situated right inside Exclusive Books, bringing two magical worlds together to create an original and inspired experience. As you enter the restaurant, you'll be welcomed by the smells of new books and strong coffee - an absolute delight. Cake lovers and book nerds will be drawn in right away by the display of reading material and Olive & Plates signature cake table. Filled to the brim with delectable desserts and sweet treats, this is a marvel to behold.
The dining area includes an impressive bar and wine section for those who enjoy a tipple or two. The restaurant also boasts picture-perfect views of the city thanks to its floor to ceiling windows. We unfortunately weren't able to book a window seat, but we bet that it's the ideal spot to curl up with a book and a piping hot cup of coffee. We'll definitely be back to test it out.
We had hoped to enjoy a late brunch at Olive & Plates Hyde Park, but sadly just missed the breakfast train by 30 minutes. We did scour the menu to find our picks for our next visit though. Their loaded toasts and smoked salmon eggs benedict certainly caught our eye and we've made plans to return as soon as possible. This time round we compromised on something a little ways between breakfast and lunch - a yummy pastrami on rye sarmie and an almond croissant served with frangipane. Paired with a creamy cappuccino and frothy latte respectively, this was the perfect "little meal" to carry us through the late morning.
Olive & Plates' menu is carefully crafted. They've curated a feast of Mediterranean flavours, including Italian-inspired pastas, Spanish tapas and Greek souvlaki. You can take a taste trip across Europe just by ordering from this menu. They also cater to various dietary requirements such as Keto and Banting, as well as vegetarian and vegan food choices. If you've been searching for a restaurant to suit a large group of fussy eaters, this is the place for you. There's something for everyone at Olive & Plates. So, book yourself a table as soon as possible. We highly recommend it.
Details: (Tel) +27 10 013 1074 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Address: Hyde Park Corner Shopping Centre (inside Exclusive Books), Corner Jan Smuts Avenue and William Nicol Drive, Johannesburg.
Whimsical Le Parc By tashas Has Opened In Hyde Park Corner
tashas in Hyde Park has been given a new look and brand, and is now a one-of-a-kind food and retail emporium, called Le Parc by tashas. This destination brings the streets and market-style courtyards of Paris to Hyde Park Corner.
This is the first time that a South African tashas store reflects the Tashas Group international-level offering. Le Parc bridges the gap in the local portfolio of Tasha Group brands. Developed in Dubai and brought to life in South Africa.
“Le Parc intends to bring joy and be regarded as a happy space,” explains CEO and founder, Natasha Sideris. “It’s bright, different, unique and fun. It’s delicate and feminine, and there’s something for the kids too. It’s an experience, and one which I think people need. It’s not just a come and dine and go place anymore… it’s a step inside a whimsical world.”
Led by interior architect, Neydine Bak, and architect, Dewald Struwig, their approach to design celebrates honesty. Each store takes inspiration from its surroundings to become an intimate and considered experience. For Le Parc, the location reflects a retail and food focus.
“There are not a lot of places where you can dine and shop, this is the whole experience,” says Natasha.
Indulge At The Food Emporium
The Le Parc menu offers 75 items all made on order. 20 of the dishes are tashas Classic Menu favourites, and the remaining 55 dishes are brand-new, reflecting a French theme. Wondering what to expect on the menu? Think Ratatouille Eggs with Crispy Brinjal; Smoked Salmon Salad; a tashas-take on a Bahn Mi (crispy baguette with a savoury filling); and even Calamari Provençal.
And let's not forget to mention the gelato. Le Parc makes its own ice-cream – six different flavours and one unique "flavour of the week" – all to be enjoyed either at home or at the food emporium. There's also a candy-floss machine, waffle station and toffee apples, making Le Parc a fun place to indulge and delight your sweet tooth.
Other than the delectable food at Le Parc, there’s also a great retail offering. One of the highlights is the bread, ranging from freshly baked sourdough, baguettes, cranberry and seed loaf, coconut bread, to gluten-free options, which will be made daily and displayed in all their glory.
Explore Their Retail Experience
Browse and shop over 300 items from Le Parc, either made in-house or sourced from local partners and even a few international delights. Two oval tables will be the focal point of the retail space, which will be filled with a bounty of breads, pastries, linens, ceramics, olive oils, preservatives, butters, biscuits and sweets, even tashas much-loved homemade granola. You can also purchase bespoke crockery and linen homeware with the option of having it personalised and monogrammed.
“Some of the products will be under our brand, and some of them under the original supplier,” says Natasha. “It’s important for us to be authentic and to give credit to those suppliers and partners whose top-quality products feature in our retail section.”
And The Décor? Beautiful!
As one of the top-dining destinations in Hyde Park Corner, Le Parc has added extra seating to its space, and a more intimate feel with the addition of stained-glass frames and fabric sails across the ceiling.
"One of our biggest challenges of being located inside a mall, has always been the lighting," Natasha explains. "The sails have softened the lighting from the skylight, without making it too dark and we’ve added new architectural lighting, and candles to give the space a natural feel."
For Natasha, the most successful décor change has been the colour – from stucco and pale hues to a warm palette of pinks with pops of colour – it’s warm and completely separates the space from the rest of the centre. The décor showcases a number of collaborations, elements and expressions from local designers and artists.
“Le Parc has always had a Parisian flair, but this has been pushed to new levels with some “over the top” design aspects,” Nicky Greig, Head Stylist for Tashas Group explains. “With a whimsical inspiration from Annabelle’s in London, the pink colour palette has added pops of fun with wild fabric prints in contrasting and contradictory colours.”
The floors have been replaced with slate tiles in a typically French pattern, the space feels separate to the mall – more like a courtyard in Paris.
The space also showcases rare artisan skills, including:
Watercolour illustrations by Victoria Verbaan, which featured on the hoarding during construction and will be turned into a bespoke stationery range for the store.
Papier-mâché art by David and Alexandra Ross in the form of over-sized trophies, a croquembouche, and a vibrant bowl of fruit and flowers, all available for purchase.
A 400-piece paper art installation by Elonah O’Neil. Folded by hand and individually painted in golf leaf, each item in the installation brings a softness and play on movement and light to the space.
Hanging fabrics by Michael Spaan have added to the aesthetic alongside Ecophon fabric has softened the space.
Fabrics sourced and curated by Nicky Greig and made by Sam Schatte. Customers will be greeted with bold colours and vibrant patterns. Expect red and blue leopard print, and once-taboo pink and red combinations mean no two chairs are the same – from the oversized couch to the chairs and barstools.
Custom-made book cabinets by The Iron Banister, play home to the largest collection of Assouline books in South Africa. Globally, Assouline are recognised as the first luxury brand on culture and have been available in South Africa in limited quantities, until now.
Handmade, bespoke stained-glass panels by Live Light Stained Glass, now surround Le Parc. Shades of lilac and jade green create a vintage feel of Paris.
"The real point of departure from the more conservative look-and-feel of tashas, was when we conceptualised the idea for the papier-mâché fruit bowl," Natasha explains. "It ignited a more artistic and colourful interpretation for the space. The more we developed the concept, the more we realised we were creating something completely new for the South African market."
Le Parc is open Monday to Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Sunday, join them for breakfast or lunch.
Don't forget to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest offerings, delicious creations and information about this whimsical destination in the heart of Hyde Park.
Address: Hyde Park Corner, Shop U29, William Nicol Drive and Jan Smuts Avenue and 6th Road, Hyde Park, Johannesburg,
Unique & Indulgent Dessert Hot Spots In Joburg
There's nothing better than a piping hot cappuccino and a decadent pastry first thing in the morning. Loof Coffee is one of the most unique coffee shops and dessert hot spots in Joburg. Their stores are located in Norwood and Greenside, undoubtedly two of the city's top foodie destinations. Pop by on a Sunday morning to join their community running club - you'll be generously rewarded with free coffee and tasty bubble waffles. Sounds like the perfect balance of heart healthy and sweet tooth satisfaction to us.
Just Teddy is where Middle Eastern flavours meet French mastery. If you're looking for a sweet treat to celebrate a big occasion, this is the dessert hot spot to get it. Situated at the upmarket Hyde Park Corner Shopping Centre, Just Teddy is all about making the special moments in life that much sweeter. Whether you're in the mood for a tasty tartlet, fine French pastry or decadent double-layer cake, Just Teddy has it all. Their menu also caters for gluten-free and vegan diets, so one and all can enjoy a taste of their unique delights.
Details: (Tel) 010 203 9038 | Address: Shop LM4 - Hyde Park Corner Shopping Centre, Corner William Nicole Drive &, Jan Smuts Ave, Hyde Park, Sandton, Johannesburg.
No one does indulgent desserts quite like the French. If you've always dreamed of sampling authentic Parisian pastries, visit Paul Bakery in Melrose Arch. Their dessert menu is mouth-wateringly appetising, and it features a wide range of classic French tarts, eclairs, pastries and cakes. Paired with a cup of their double thick hot chocolate or premium coffee, this is a taste adventure you don't want to miss out on. So, the next time that sweet tooth comes calling, you know where to turn.
Details: (Tel) 010 020 3002 | Address: Corner The High Street and Crescent Drive, Melrose Arch, Birnam, Johannesburg.
Chateau Gateaux has been in the business of making handcrafted desserts since 1997. They have a number of branches in and around Johannesburg, meaning that the perfect dessert is never too far away. Join them for a slice of moreish four chocolate variety cake or their iconic layered Mozart cake. You can also order a Chateau Gateaux cake, pudding or delightful mini creation to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Go on and spoil yourself, you deserve it.
Details: Find your nearest Chateau Gateaux outlet here.
This might be our favourite dessert hot spot of them all simply because it is unlike any other coffee shop or café we have visited in Johannesburg. Lemoni on Park is an unassuming curbside café situated in Bedfordview. Their al fresco dining area is perfect for a late afternoon dessert date. Take your pick from their delicious array of Mediterranean-inspired tarts, biscuits, pastries and cakes. Their mini baked cheesecakes are absolutely to die for! Don't blame us if you can't help but go back time and time again.
World Chocolate Day is celebrated annually on 07 July as a commemoration of the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550. It is also celebrated more simply because chocolate is loved worldwide. The day is observed in the best possible way – by eating chocolate, and plenty of it! While we've never needed an excuse to tuck into a slab of delicious milk chocolate, we thought we'd give World Chocolate Day a little more attention this year.
In light of the pandemic and the recent lockdown level increase, we could all use a sweet little pick-me-up. Thanks to Woolworths, this World Chocolate Day looks to be a decadent one. Their epic Chocolate Festival kicked off on 21 June 2021 and runs until 25 July 2021. Offering chocolate lovers of all kinds a delicious array of sweet treats on special, the festival has come at just the right time. So, this World Chocolate Day, head over to your nearest Woolies food store or get shopping online for great deals on your favourite choccies. Buy any three Lindt chocolates or select Woolies chocolates and get 30% off! Here are just some of the chocolates on offer and how to get your hands on them this World Chocolate Day.
Photo created by https://www.freepik.com/freepik
Woolworths Chuckles are the stuff of childhood. We distinctly remember sneaking a bag or two into the movies to mix up into our popcorn as children. Lovers of shortbread biscuit coated in smooth milk chocolate will be delighted to learn that Chuckles are included in the Woolies Chocolate Festival selection. However, these morsels of goodness now come in an assortment of flavours and tastes. Try out Chuckles peanuts, coconut ice in milk chocolate or shortcake milk chocolate bites. Woolies Chuckles now also come in bars so you can savour the chocolaty pleasure for even longer. Spoil yourself with a bag (or three) and celebrate World Chocolate Day the right way.
Assorted Chocolate Boxes
For the more refined choccie lovers, Woolworths has a great selection of chocolate truffle boxes. Our top pick is the Chocolate Decadence box - 16 pieces of decadent chocolate made using only the finest local ingredients. Sneak in a chocolate truffle a day or gorge on the whole box come World Chocolate Day, there is no judgement here. For the health conscious, there's an assortment of dark chocolate nibbles to enjoy. The dark chocolate glacé ginger pieces box is the perfect guilt-free spoil. So whether you're all about rich, decadent chocolate or healthy treats, Woolies Chocolate Festival has got you covered.
Not much beats a Lindt chocolate. From their classic slabs to their latest inventions, Lindt's chocolate masters know how to tempt and treat chocolate lovers world over. Add some of Lindt's Lindor Singles Slabs to your shopping basket. Made up of 18 individual 'moments of bliss', this chocolate bar is ideal for those of us who lack portion control when it comes to Lindt chocolate! We recommend the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate singles for a perfectly smooth and irresistible chocolate experience. Stock up for the winter by purchasing any three Lindt chocolate bars, boxes or fruity sensations at Woolies and get 30% off.
De Villiers Chocolate
De Villiers Chocolate is sourced in Africa and handcrafted in Cape Town. If you've never sampled one of their chocolate bars, get yourself a few slabs at Woolies. As part of the Chocolate Festival, De Villiers chocolate range will be on special until 19 July 2020. Their inventive flavour combinations will send your tastebuds into a happy tizz. Take your pick from sea salt and caramel, cacoa nib and salt, intense 70% dark chocolate, honeycomb milk chocolate, orange peel and vanilla, salted almond, coffee milk or coffee and dark chocolate, coconut blondie, milk chocolate biscotti and raspberry, vanilla and almond white chocolate! It's a flavour sensation.
If like us you'll be going OTT this World Chocolate Day, you may want to make your very own chocolate treat to enjoy on the day. We've found a mouth watering hot chocolate recipe for you to try out at home this winter. P.S: We accept a chocolate bars as thanks!
Toasted Coconut Marshmallow Hot Chocolate
2 x 400 ml coconut milk cans
100 g dark chocolate of your choice, roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, seeded
150 g coconut marshmallows
Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until just simmering. Add the chocolate and vanilla, stir, and return to a simmer.
Pour the hot chocolate into a large jug.
Place the marshmallows in a large bowl and microwave for 30 second periods, stirring each time, until they become soft. Scoop onto the hot chocolate before serving.
Lindt chocolate brownies anyone? The Fat Zebra in Linden is one of our top spots in the city to find chocolate treats of all kinds. However, it's their generous chocolate brownie that always has us coming back for more. Pair these brownies with one of their famous house coffees for pure indulgence.
Patisserie de Paris
Fancy a deluxe French-inspired afternoon tea? Patisserie de Paris in Blairgowrie is famed for their delicate high tea menu, which includes their renowned chocolate brownie fingers made with Belgian Callebaut chocolate! Rich and sweet, these are a must-have on your high tea menu.
One of our favourite new coffee shops in Bedfordview, Lemoni serves up the perfect brownie for those of you without much of a sweet tooth. Introducing the Cheesecake Brownie! We noticed this intriguing dessert option on their menu a couple of months ago and fully intend to give it a try on our next visit. If you happen to beat us to it, send us your verdict on whether the combination of dark chocolate and cream cheese is the next big thing on the brownie scene.
Vegan brownie lovers, we haven't forgotten about you. Kaylee's Eatery in Bedfordview offers a wide variety of vegan desserts, including a decadent chocolate brownie served with your choice of vegan ice cream. If you haven't fully committed to the vegan lifestyle yet, this may be the dessert that helps you take the final step. It's so good, you won't even notice the absence of dairy, plus the added nutty undertones in the ice cream complement the fudgy brownie oh so well.
George's Bread & Co.
Our resident baking expert wholeheartedly backs the cakes and confections made by George's Bread & Co. in Boksburg. This recently established bakery and cafe offers both brownies and blondies (white chocolate brownies, not blonde Boksburgers) at their confectionery window. You can either take these to go or pop yourself down at a table to enjoy.
Geldhof Chocolate Shop
We couldn't compile this list without including the Geldhof Chocolate Factory Shop in Meadowdale. The experts in Belgian chocolate, Geldhof makes an addictive chocolate brownie. They're not overly sweet, but are completely delicious with an abundance of rich, dark chocolate chips and a white chocolate ganache topping. Sink your teeth into one of these if you dare!
Do you know of any other top restaurants or bakeries in Joburg that make delicious chocolate brownies? Let us know about them!