What better way to spend some weekend-morning downtime than over a shared brunch with friends? In celebration of this far-ranging and widely loved meal, we’ve rounded up our top five brunch spots in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
1. The Pot Luck Club
Perhaps it goes without saying, but any restaurant with the name of Luke Dale-Roberts tied to it isn’t going to disappoint. Situated in The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, The Pot Luck Club has a dedicated Sunday brunch menu complete with bubbly. Paying homage to the chef’s days in Singapore, a variety of platters including delectable offerings such as pork belly sliders, beef tataki, burrata cheese with braaied pumpkin and vanilla churros are on offer.
2. Chardonnay Deli
True to its leafy Constantia surrounds, Chardonnay Deli looks over a lush greenbelt and has a distinct farmstall atmosphere. With a wide range of freshly baked cakes and pastries, the relaxed restaurant has ample options for those with a sweet tooth – many of which are banting- and vegan-friendly too. It’s technically not brunch that’s on offer, but you can order anything on the breakfast menu until 11.30am. For a more savoury start to the day, we’d recommend the avo smash on sourdough with poached eggs, smoked salmon and spinach.
3. The Raptor Room
A restaurant that understands the importance of the midway munch between breakfast and lunch is The Raptor Room, which has a dedicated brunch menu. Offering a more traditional take on the popular meal, their simple yet scrumptious menu includes poached eggs, flapjacks, French toast and our fave, the Big Momma Brunch Burger with bacon jam, avocado, goat’s cheese and a fried egg. Every Sunday there’s a bottomless boozy brunch, where, for R150, unlimited mimosas or Bloody Marys can be added to your meal between 11am and 2pm.
4. Four and Twenty
Thanks to their all-day breakfast, brunch can be enjoyed anytime at Four and Twenty. This sidewalk cafe situated in quaint Chelsea Village serves food so delicious you’ll have trouble settling on just one option. A decadent and unusual choice is the Sweet Breakfast Hot Dog: a honey-buttered croissant filled with caramelised banana and topped with fresh strawberries, macadamia nuts and mascarpone. Classic brunch favourites such as eggs Benedict, shakshuka and tartines also make an appearance.
While it may be an obvious choice, no brunch guide is complete without mentioning Hemelhuijs. With a brilliant menu reminiscent of a foodie science experiment, the city-centre establishment also serves all-day breakfasts and chef Jacques Erasmus puts a South African flair to traditional dishes using local produce. With its range of inventive toast toppings to vanilla baked guavas with double-cream yoghurt and perfectly poached eggs served on mosbolletjie bread, the meal is taken quite seriously here.
For a solid dose of spring energy, Glenda’s is the place to be – the entire restaurant is a tribute to the season with its French-romantic feel, flamboyantly floral wallpapers and fresh flowers aplenty. While the menu is fairly classic (think smashed avo toast, grapefruit carpaccio and Croque Monsieur) it’s an all-round feast for the eyes. Then there’s the in-house bakery Dotty Choux, which creates superb cakes and pastries – the salted caramel popcorn cake is a second-slice-please kind of confection.
2. Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar
If it’s filled with plants and has ‘eggs’ in the name, it must be a brilliant brunch spot. The Art Deco-style geometric door grilles of Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar are enough to entice you to step inside, where the aesthetic continues. Located in Melville, this trendy eatery is always busy – especially over brunch time. The deep-fried eggs served with fresh basil and apple are unlike anything you’ve tasted before. For those with more of an appetite, the red shakshuka with Yemeni flatbread is filling and delicious.
Simply named Nice, this little restaurant on Parkhurst’s 4th street is a firm favourite with the locals and, as the home of the famous breakfast baskets – served either sweet or savoury – it’s easy to see why it’s called ‘SA’s breakfast and brunch hotspot’. If you’re in the mood for a high tea, you’ll be spoiled for choice with everything from strawberry roulade to Nutella brownies and lemon meringue. This may just become your go-to spot… if it isn’t already.
4. The Shadowboxer
The Shadowboxer in Greenside is where Joburg’s creative crowd goes for brunch. Recently opened by the same team behind The Good Luck Bar, this restaurant-cum-bar is where a casual meal could turn into a boozy Saturday get-together, with plenty of interesting options such as bubble-tea cocktails on offer. Food-wise, we’re all for the hearty breakfast bowls and Snickerdoodle French toast with berries, cream cheese and maple drizzle.
A new neighbourhood cafe in the diverse and artistic neighbourhood of Brixton, Breezeblock features a much-Instagrammed interior and courtyard designed by artist Justin Brett as an ode to the ’70s. It’s already drawn locals from all sides of the city – and why not? There’s excellent coffee, great food and a beautiful space in which to enjoy a wholesome, relaxed brunch – try the scrambled eggs on toast or oats and granola, or opt for signature baked pancakes and huevos rancheros.
Sprigs serves up a veritable storm when it comes to vegetarian dishes that are both adventurous and good for you. The Kloof-based restaurant started by sisters Clare and Fiona Ras strikes the perfect balance between health and indulgence. With dishes that change daily, you’ll always be in for a surprise, although if you do stick around past brunch time, the veggie-friendly buffet is a winner.
According to trend forecaster Roxanne Robinson (who recently compiled a wonderful Durban food guide for House and Leisure), Market boasts one of the city’s best courtyard seating spots and serves an all-day breakfast and mimosas. What more could you need? Tucked behind a classic 1930s building at the foot of Marriot Road in Berea, this restaurant is known for its simple, quality cuisine using locally sourced and/or organic ingredients. We recommend the pulled-pork Benedict with passion-fruit hollandaise or the moreish cinnamon spice hotcakes served with banana, crème fraîche and honey.
3. Antique Cafe at Churchill House
Part cafe, part antique shop, Churchill House has a style that’s grand yet quaint at the same time, with distressed turquoise walls that perfectly offset its quirky decor and mismatched furnishings. Besides the selection of pastries and cakes at the on-site bakery, good old-fashioned breakfast options such as scrambled eggs and corn fritters will have you back for more. While you’re at it, browse the antique furniture and vintage objets, all of which are for sale.
4. Freedom Café
A part of The Concierge boutique hotel, Neil Roake’s updated Freedom Café boasts stylish yet offbeat interiors. Don’t be surprised if breakfast (make sure it’s before 11am) turns into a long, lazy late lunch – begin with any of six different types of eggs Benedict, or one of the tasty toast options. Health-conscious patrons are spoilt for choice with a quinoa or chia seed-based breakfasts, steel-cut oats, ancient granola or fresh fruit and yoghurt, as well as freshly squeezed Robot juices (red, orange and green). The kale, corn and coriander fritters are a winning flavour combination, and the sliced pear and Nutella French toast round off a meal on a sweet note.
5. The Glenwood Bakery
Bread comes first at The Glenwood Bakery, a real Durban community favourite. After running successful restaurants in London since 1991, Adam Robinson moved back to Durban to focus on the aspect of food he loved best. Each artisanal loaf is hand-formed, slow-fermented and baked to perfection in a hearth oven. Known for their complex aromas and flavours, these breads are inclined sell out within 30 minutes, so you’d do well to reserve a loaf or two to avoid disappointment. During the week, breakfast is toast, Viennoiserie (pastries) and ‘The Egg’ (a poached egg with roasted tomatoes and coppa ham on a slice of ciabatta toast), and on weekends eggs Benedict and eggs Royale are on offer. Enjoy with a cup of coffee sourced from excellent roasters in the Glenwood area or a speciality loose leaf tea from Colombo.