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HL spotlight on: melville, Joburg's little bohemia

Graeme Wyllie; Supplied

Foodie hangouts are once again breathing new life into one of Johannesburg’s most Bohemian suburbs. Use our guide to eat and drink your way through Melville.

love me so

After a rocky entry into the restaurant market as a resultof a controversial name, this rebranded space is bound to become a regular for those who like to build their own ramen bowl. On warmer days, indulge in a super-fresh poke dish, and catch half-price cocktails at 5-7pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1-3pm on Sundays. Visit 63a 4th Ave, 060-717-6728; facebook.com/lovemesojozi.

melville grill lounge

Feel like a traditional Sunday lunch? Melville Grill Lounge’s African cuisine section features mogudu (tripe), maqina (beef trotters) and umleqwa (‘hard-body’ chicken) served with pap, dumplings or samp. Or try the grill platters, packed with wors, chops, wings and brisket. Visit 76 4th Ave, 011-022-1793. 

mootee bar

Finally, there’s a real cocktail bar on the block! Opened by four semi-scientist friends, it’s no surprise that Mootee Bar includes a Breaking Bad-like lab alongside the bar. Aficionados will be pleased by the attention to detail in the crafting of drinks – each of which is made with no fewer than 13 ingredients. Visit 78a 4th Ave, 010-900-1399; mootee.co.za.

bread & roses

You’ll be tempted to switch the all-day breakfast for a midday meal at this casual, comfy corner spot. Go for a spicy frittata with chorizo and pancetta or opt for unfussy bistro fare, such as a fresh steak or serrano ham open sandwich on home-baked bread. Visit Cnr 4th Ave and 7th St, 079-429-7956; facebook.com/BreadandRosesCafeandBistro.

the lonely hearts club

In place of the old La Luna restaurant is an eatery that offers delicious Spanish-inspired tapas by head chef Rayno Adlam. The Lonely Hearts Club specialises in vegetarian options and meaty grills – for a treat, sample the tender lamb rump with baba ghanoush, roasted garlic and tomato salad with a red-pepper dressing. Visit 9 7th St; facebook.com/LonelyHeartsClubMelville.


What started out as an Asian street-food chicken shop has evolved into a much-needed venue for niche music events. In Glory’s courtyard, old-school garden furniture, a pot-plant jungle and pops of primary colours will charm you from the get-go, making it a perfect location in which to sip on one of the best mojitos in town. Visit Cnr 7th St and 3rd Ave, 082-499-7808; facebook.com/glorystreetfoodandbar.

hell's kitchen

Whether you’re a fan of the brand of classic rock played at this 1920s New York-style ‘speakeasy’ or not, do sample the fiery cinnamon whiskey Hellfire, brewed in house. Add a helping of fiercely spiced chicken wings for some extra heat. Visit Shop 4, 7th St, 079-980-9591; hellskitchen.co.za.

la santa muerte

Mexican-food lovers, this one’s for you: La Santa Muerte boasts an impressive menu, serving dishes such as chipotle BBQ pork-belly taco with red cabbage, coriander and pickled onion, drizzled with a lime and yoghurt-sour cream dressing. The grilled wild-mushroom taco, refried beans and jalapeño relish is a top contender, too. Visit Shop 2, 7th St, 076-609-0383; lasantamuerte.co.za.

pablo eggs-go-bar

For the ultimate eggy breakfast or brunch, look no further than Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar’s shakshuka, served in two ways: the red version in a Middle Eastern-style tomato-based sauce, and the green, with leeks and baby spinach. A special mention also goes to the crispy, deep-fried eggs with sliced apple, basil and apple-cider vinaigrette. Just be sure to book ahead. Visit 2 7th St, 063-335-9348Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar Melville.