I’m not a morning person. And while no amount of java can completely perk me up, a delicious brunch certainly does the trick.
While brunch was popularised in the United States in the 1930s, the concept of combining breakfast and lunch originated in England in the late 19th century.
Now brunch has become a part of our everyday life.
With SA in the throes of warmer weather and the country now at Level 1 of the lockdown, brunching isn’t just ideal, it’s welcomed after months of hibernating in our homes.
As such, I was delighted to learn that one of my favourite spots in the suburbs, Arbour Café and Courtyard in Birdhaven, Johannesburg, recently launched their bottomless bubbles and brunch concept.
Co-owner Josh Simon explained: “Having been fortunate enough to travel extensively and experience different ways of cooking and eating around the globe, I was inspired by the time I spent in Florida, USA.
“Over there, brunch is a ritual that brings friends and family together to connect and spend time over good food. I saw how much the guests enjoyed bottomless mimosas, the brunch menu and the incredible Southern Hospitality. When I returned to South Africa, I wanted to set up a similar concept, which is exactly what we have done.”
And foodies have embraced their new offering.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive and exciting. Our customers are open to trying new things, and while some people have heard about the brunch concept, a combination of breakfast and lunch, those who hadn’t, were eager to try it.
“With the weather being warmer now and more people having been vaccinated, there is excitement in the air as people look for different ways to spend time together, safely and outdoors.”
A skimming through the menu, it is clear that they cater for different palates and diets, too.
Simon added: “The menu is a combination of some old favourites and soon to be new favourites, too. Having always been inspired by French café style eating, we have created the menu to reflect this.
“From the famous buckwheat galettes to brioche French toast with L’Ormarins infused strawberries, the food is decadent and comforting. We have also ensured that there is indeed something for everything as brunch is such a diverse meal by its very nature.”
And if you don’t drink alcohol, there are freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juices as an alternative to the coffee or tea options.
Arbour Café and Courtyard is open throughout the week from 7am to 3pm and on Sunday from 7.30am to 2.30pm. For bookings, email: [email protected] or call 010 753 2007.
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark
This is another brunch spot that has been given the thumbs up by foodies. Aside from the fantastic ambience, which makes it the ideal place for meetings or a lingering social chat, this award-winning spot offers made to order dishes.
The fresh flavours, inspired by global palates, are complemented by ever-evolving specials added to the menu. Don’t even get me started on the in-house baked cakes and bread.
They are open throughout the week from 8am to 4pm. For booking email: [email protected] or call 011 482 7795.
BELOW ARE BRUNCH SPOTS SUGGESTIONS FROM THE LIFESTYLE TEAM
MARY & JOE
Shop 9, Lighthouse Quarter, 14 Chartwell Dr, uMhlanga
uMhlanga Village is littered with great restaurants, and Mary & Joe has to be one of the best on the strip. Its comfy bistro vibe is what has made it popular with so many Durbanites, as has its menu.
From personalised omelettes and eggs Benedict to a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, brunch is serious business here. Porridge is having a moment, and Mary & Joe have cleverly capitalised by having it on their menu.
Try their creamy oats with stewed cinnamon apples, coconut cream, and toasted almond flakes.
They are open throughout the week from 6am to 6pm. Call: 031 561 6593. - Lutho Pasiya
5 Mahatma Gandhi Rd
Maha is one of those places where Durbanites who love to have food adventures know about and actively frequent. It gives a bistro vibe in an area that many Durbanites would rather avoid.
Famous for its breakfast and lunch, it's perfect for brunch, where you can have their Smoked Trout Omelette, with cream cheese, cucumber relish, seed crumble, or their Zucchini Pancakes served with spiced brinjal jam, mungbean hummus, roasted peppers, Moroccan pesto and dukkha spice.
Naturally, they also have their mimosas, but only after 10am.
They are open throughout the week from 6am to 4pm. Call 082 817 2957. - Buhle Mbonambi
JARRYDS ESPRESSO BAR + EATERY
90 Regent Rd, Sea Point
It’s got a sophisticated look and a great vibe, whether you are looking to hang out or have a business meeting. And breakfast is served throughout the day.
The menu is for everyone, whether you are looking to have an indulgent meal or a healthy one.
They have omelettes, smoothie bowls and sliders. However, their breakfast bruschetta, which is layered with streaky bacon, avo salsa, pesto, balsamic reduction, sour dough and poached eggs, seems to be quite popular. That’s not forgetting the hype around brunch crowd favourite – the shakshouka.
Their ingredients are locally sourced, and their speciality coffee and artisanal bread are renowned among regulars and newbies to the establishment.
They are open the entire week from 7.30am to 3.30pm. Call 074 076 0474. - Debashine Thangevelo
Vryguns Farms, Paarl
This spot is ideal if you don’t mind a bit of a drive out of town.
Talented chef Rob Hahn is in charge of the family-friendly eatery that showcases country cooking at its best.
Home-style dishes made from locally sourced produce are updated seasonally and paired with Perdeberg wines or their very own craft beer. You can opt to dine inside the relaxed, air-conditioned restaurant or outside in the garden.
Parents can sit back and relax beneath the trees while children can enjoy the fun garden play area. If the weather permits, a jumping castle adds to the excitement over weekends.
They are open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm. Call 072 416 4493. - Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi