The brunch business is booming in Johannesburg. Hipsters and foodies are taking over, and the bar for brunch has been set high. Whether you’re stopping in Joburg for a short while before connecting on to elsewhere, or spending your whole time here, take look at the following list to see where’s hot for brunch in Jozi.
1. Pablo Eggs-Go- Bar, Melville
Having only opened in April 2016, Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar is off to a roaring start. Sitting on the corner of Melville’s trendy 7th Street, this brunch spot attracts Joburg’s cool crowd by the dozens. Even on a miserably wet Saturday morning in early January, when Joburgers are supposedly still on holiday, a queue for tables still snaked out of the front door. A good sign. An impressive and original food menu awaits inside, with an even more extensive cocktails list. Waiters recommended the Shakshuka and the “breakfast burger”, the Eggs-Go-Bar signature dishes, and they certainly did not disappoint. Only after a sizeable Bloody Mary and a refreshing mimosa did the penny finally drop regarding the perplexing name of this spot. Anyone who hasn’t watched the story of Pablo Escobar unfold in the series “Narcos” might leave a little confused by the Colombian twist to some of the dishes and the cocktail names such as “Medellin Mojito”; but they’ll be satisfied nonetheless.
2. The Whippet, Linden
The Whippet in Linden is one of those “trendy” places that keeps being recommended by smug brunch enthusiasts who discovered it before you did. Fair enough, though, as it definitely is worth shouting about. Again, a Saturday morning queue was involved in the fight to get a table here, but coffees were promptly supplied to ease the pain a little. The food was fresh and tasty – particular shout out for the flatbread; a crispy, oily base for all the usual breakfast suspects; eggs, bacon, mushroom and more. A good reason to visit Linden.
3. Salvation Cafe, 44 Stanley, Milpark
Yet another trendy brunch spot that feels like it’s been directly lifted from Shoreditch, London, or from Berlin’s edgy Kreuzberg. In fact, it’s easy to forget you’re in South Africa at all. 44 Stanley is a little complex in Milpark that offers boutique shops and a couple of little restaurants, and of course a beer yard. It’s a calming little pocket of Joburg making it a perfect spot for some weekend brunch at Salvation Cafe, one of the few options of eateries there. Sat beneath the canopy of trees next to a gently trickling water feature, and it would be very easy to spend the whole day here.
4. Vovo Telo, Parkhurst
Yes, Vovo Telo is indeed a chain, but there’s something quite enticing about the Parkhurst branch on a Sunday morning. It’s buzzy and friendly somehow, with a cute courtyard out the back where eggs and coffee can be enjoyed in the shade. It’s always very busy, so some patience may be required, but it’s a safe bet for a decent brunch. With a bakery attached, the place smells incredible and Parkhurst is also a lovely area to stroll through once the brunch-shaped gap in your stomach has been satisfied.
5. Junipa’s, Bryanston
The vibe of this place is probably a little less “cool” than many other Joburg spots, but that is exactly what’s quite attractive about Junipa’s. It doesn’t try too hard to be anything it’s not; it’s a simple, but decent all-day bistro with a pretty extensive breakfast menu. It must be pointed out that there’s a distinct lack of avocado on offer, but a strong focus on eggs, which is also welcome. A special mention goes to the coffee and pastry section here, to which there is a whole separate area dedicated. Service is attentive, and families/mummies who brunch are a very common sight here. You do look out onto the car park of Hobart Grove shopping centre, but unfortunately that’s often par for the course in Joburg.