Joburg's Brik Cafe Does Summer Dinners
They’re all truly sustainable, responsible, ethical and with made with true consciousness.
Brik Cafe does a lot of things really well - in that exemplary way we often envy. They do pre-breakfasts, breakfasts, coffees, brunches, lunches, teas, after-work drinks with snacks and now they do fabulous summer dinners, also featuring one of the most interesting and cleverly curated little wine lists in Johannesburg.
There’s a lot to experience at this restaurant and being considerate and kind to our universe just fits in naturally. Very naturally. This is not to say that the food is vegan or vegetarian only.
A reasonable part of the menu is - but all ingredients, be they from animals or vegetables, are sourced as locally as possible and sustainably. Everything is recycled in some way or other. Almost everything is made from scratch, except the things other people have specialised in, like the Truthery cold press juices, Malies baobab ice creams and Caz kombucha, though there’s lot of Brik.Cafe pickling and preserving happening all the time.
Summer dinners are served from 6pm to 9.30pm pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and could begin with what Brik.Cafe simply call salads. One of the most delicious of these is made with warm eggplant and Brussels sprout leaves, mint, hoisin, home preserved lemon and some fresh lemon too. It just smacks of summer. But there’s quite a choice.
Before a fabulous selection of unusual desserts, you’ll find the sturdier dishes like ricotta and spinach gnudi with a green and nutty mole and burnt butter; or choose terrific roast chicken under velouté sauce with bean bread; thoughtfully cut meat for steaks; tender calamari with roast grapes, grilled cabbage, homemade taramasalata and yes, crackling Brik.Cafe pastry.
Brik.Cafe wasn’t named for the pastry but for the ruddy brick corner of the Rosebank fire station, the part with the beautiful bay window, which owner-cook Sasha Simpson lusted after and finally tuned into her food haven. She wanted to do it completely responsibly right from the start, and she did.
Ten years in the catering industry have given Sasha the opportunity of working hand in hand and consult to an array of clients on very creative and exciting projects – Converse, Starbucks, Magnum, Oreo, Super Dry, Scotch & Soda, Blue Ribbon, Ponds, Danone, Woolworths, Trenery, Country Road, Dermalogica and Ponds to name a few.
Says Sasha: “We wanted a space that reflects the heritage of the building – that’s how the name was chosen. A strong name that tells a story of the fire station that utilises the space, that represented the building up of small businesses and the growth within our country. The design was chosen to feel like you were being hugged buy the warm colour.
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“Following the monotone trend in Europe we kept to neutrals and the burnt brick red.”
After the bricks and chairs, the next elements to catch the eye are in the air. The first is a crotched rope ‘chandelier’, specially made to hang before Brik Cafe’s stunner bay window by Sasha’s mother, grandmother and sister.
The other is what Sasha calls her ‘cloud’, hanging above the pass, a huge and gentle bundle of a kind of what appears to be some cross between Impepho and heather.
The bamboo chairs and metal chairs are designed and made locally by Neil Grantham. Takk studios and David Krynauw are both responsible for the wooden seating and tables.
A delightfully relevant find was the huge mortar and pestle from the old Waverley Pharmacy, from where the apothecary jars came too, lovely pieces of local Joburg heritage that mingle in a very friendly fashion with all the honest wares on the shelves.
And what’s the secret of the impressive service at Brik.Cafe? If you ask the man with the finest smile, Charles Mdluli, he says it’s about thinking efficiency and speed but he also reckons it’s because of the teamwork the staff indulge in, with their common purpose of ethical food provision for utmost enjoyment.
Even for Brik.Cafe it’s hard to dodge all plastics, so what there is becomes eco-bricks. Water and juice bottles go to ‘It’s Not Made in China’ to become tees and bags, some of which are for sale in the retail corner of the restaurant, full of unique and rare finds.
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Mondays 7am – 3pm
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 7am – 7pm;
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 7am – 10pm;
Sundays 9am – 2 pm
Find it on the corner of Baker Street and Bath Avenue, Rosebank.
Phone: 066 573 6697
A Day in the Life of BRIK
The typically who, what and when at any time at BRIK
7am – it might be one of the cyclists relishing coffee and a pastry over a weekend or the mum on a weekday who’s on her way to or from delivering the kids at play or real school – coffee and a cocoa protein ball (from the glass cabinet)
9-11am – the locally resident breakfaster – Apple and Rolled Oats Bircher (with triple thick yoghurt and city-hives local honey)
12pm – the laptop worker – a trendy coffee and the Best Ever Grilled Cheese (four cheeses actually)
3pm – the shopper – any of the fynbos teas and Basque Baked Cheesecake (with whisky custard)
4-5pm – the happy hour type office worker – any of the greater craft beers with the tapas type snack foods
7pm – diners from greater Johannesburg – the delicious dishes from BRIK’s summer dinner menu and wine (curated by manageress, wine host Odette Botha)