Tried and tested

This happens when you are on a sabbatical and think you have all the time you want on your hands – your friends think it is time to find new spots in town and you volunteer to do the research and the bookings.  So it happened that for the month of April it was my task to be adventurous and actually check out new spots. I would just like to add that my friends are very judgmental… you can imagine how nervous I was at the beginning of each time we tried out a new spot.

Bolton Road seems to be the new place to be at anyway. A couple of new restaurants have opened up on the corner of Bolton Road and Jan Smuts. There is Bolton Road Collection (Which is next up on my to-eat-out-list), then there is Coalition Pizza which is a great spot to have Pizza e Vino. And then there is Sin+Tax somewhere adjacent to Coalition Pizza. However, the entrance is actually in a side alley next to Coalition Pizza and rumor has it that you can only get in with a password. All in the New York  “speakeasy” kind of bar vibe. The interior is simple but effective. The owner and head mixologist Julian just won the local World Class Bartender competition and will be representing South Africa in the World Finals (by the way another Sin+Tax bartender become third.. so if two of the best South African mixologists work in the same bar, you know it is worth the visit).  Julian has a “main menu” and a seasonal one, which actually changes today as I write this. So, I am very excited to go back and try the new winter cocktail menu.  My recommendation would be to come in smaller groups, maybe a max of 6 people. More gets tricky in terms of nice seating and the guys at Sin+Tax are also quite selective on the number of people they let in, which I guess makes half of the “Old New York days” vibe.

Workshop 55
Next on my list was Workshop 55 in Parktown North (one of my favourite neigbourhoods anyway). It is tucked away in an old residential home right on 7th Avenue, and is made of a bar area and a restaurant area with an open kitchen. We started off in the bar area with some amazing Gin and Tonics. Then went over to our table. It works with a flat fee, so basically each guest pays a flat fee of 240 ZAR and gets three tapas-like dishes. If you want more, you pay extra. It is ideal for sharing on the table and to be honest, it was enough for all of us. We didn’t even have space for dessert. After dinner, we went back to the bar area.  You can easily spend your whole night there without having to move to another place since restaurant and bar area are completely separate and quite different in style, too.

Although not a newbie in our experience-seeking and tried & tested successfully since December, it is worthwhile mentioning it in this context. Situated on the top floor of the Trumpet Building in Rosebank, Marble offers great views of Johannesburg and especially beautiful views for sunsets. Again, here you have the choice of going to the bar only or to combine bar and restaurant. The dining experience is amazing, a truly South African 5* braai  – the Chef might not like my blunt description but since I am not a food blogger I might get away with it (the fact that he is easy on the eye might attract a lot of female guests, so I have heard).

Workshop 55
Marble Sunsets


Maboneng is so much more than just “Market on Main” or the “Living Room”. I have been to Maboneng before, usually on a Sunday to go to the market, meet with friends and maybe enjoy a drink at the mentioned Living Room. However, I have never really walked around the streets of Maboneng, looked at all the amazing street art that can be found all over, took in the energy this place, listened to some great live music, had a coffee/lunch stop at creative place and just felt so happy to be calling Johannesburg my home. Continue reading “Maboneng”

Saturdays are meant to be spent in Braam

I will miss this city. That’s for sure. I hated it when I first moved here 9 years ago and I know that I will miss it like crazy when my time comes to an end here. Maybe that’s the reason why I look at it with a different eye now? Or perhaps, it has really changed over the past couple of years so much that the perception has changed too. Continue reading “Saturdays are meant to be spent in Braam”

Reasons why I love Jo’burg #6 – Kramerville

Sundays in Kramerville

The hype about Kramerville has been around for a while now – so it’s not as if I am giving away any secret insider tips..Yet, it seems the hype hasn’t slowed down yet, like it is the case with so many trendy things. Instead there are continuously new places opening and new things to explore. Continue reading “Reasons why I love Jo’burg #6 – Kramerville”

Bungee Jumping in the City

The City of Gold aka Johannesburg is creative. We might not have the best natural surroundings for bungee jumps, but we have the Orlando Towers in Soweto. An old power plant with two cooling towers, colourful decorated. I have driven past a few times already and I have seen it on various TV shows. However, actually being there is a complete different feeling and I feel something that the city can be proud of and advertise more to international visitors as well.

So, we were invited of the press launch of a new TV show (the same one that I took with to Switzerland). First time I drove to Soweto myself in my car – an experience I was more afraid of than necessary. Probably all the bad publicity that is still linked with Soweto (although the PR engine is doing a very good job to steadily improve Soweto’s image). There is a bar/ restaurant/ pub attached to the towers “Chaf Pozi” where we met and where the official part was held, where we got local food and from where the brave ones went up the towers. Chaf Pozi is quite an interesting place. Something, I can only recommend to all Jo’burger: just take a drive out on a Sunday, have lunch there, a drink and watch people jump. Such a viby place. Go with a bunch of friends and who knows maybe the one or other is even keen to jump….


Orlando Towers
My two favourite TV presenters launching their new show
Local food in beautiful enamel pots and plates (I am very bug fan of enamel)
Doing what they do best. Up for an adventure anytime
Chaf Pozi by the towers
If you look carefully you see someone who has jumped off


Nice read: in praise of Johannesburg

I came across a nice piece about Johannesburg: In Praise of Johannesburg by John Simpson.

The city is really not as bad as its reputation, trust me.
All my visitors so far have confirmed it.

If I had to choose between Cape Town and Johannesburg, I’d go for Cape Town, but it is also not so bad to spend a couple of years in Jozi.


A piece of Berlin in Jo’burg

I spent last night with a great bunch of people  at 44 Stanley Avenue. Whenever I’m at 44 Stanley Ave I get reminded of how eclectic Jo’burg actually is and to give the non-Jo’burgers a hint of this city’s vibe, I decided to post something about Jo’burg’s best kept secret. I was introduced to 44 Stanley Ave more than 4 years ago when I first moved to Jozi and fell in love with this hidden away piece of city straight away.

What was once a refinery and a series of industrial buildings is now a relaxed “Hinterhof-Culure” with boutiques, restaurants and design studios. Looking at it from the outside it does not reveal what’s hidden behind its walls: artistic flair, a meeting point for Jo’burg’s intellectuals, a trendscout’s paradise. Sitting under olive trees and sipping your coffee or a  freshly-squeezed ginger-apple-carrot juice (my favourite at Salvation Café) makes you wonder if you are actually still in Jo’burg. For me, being a German, it reminds me a lot of Berlin, for a Dutch it could well be Amsterdam, and then there are two lanes to play Boule, lined with beautiful rose bushes and lavender, that makes you feel ike you are somewhere in France.

At 44 Stanley you can find a complete different vibe compared to those in Sandton, Melrose or Rosebank (Jo’burg’s other suburbs I usually find myself at). Some might call it more alternative, some others more intellectual, others say it reminds them a bit of the laid-back Cape Townian look and feel – whatever it is, it attracts more and more visitors and I fear that sooner or later it won’t be a secret spot anymore… which again makes me wonder if  it is a good thing to post this post??? (I guess if you read this, I couldn’t hold back..) But then again, I made it my mission to show non South Africans that Jo’burg is a much nicer place than what the media portrays..