When I think of Melville my memory flashes back to the dark and dingy clubs and bars of yesteryear.
As a teenager, I stood in queues outside Roxy’s and Cool Runnings, desperately smoking cigarettes in an anguished attempt to look 3 years older should my 5 inch heels and makeup let me down.
If they did, we’d end up at The Catz Pyjamas with a plate of potato skins in front of us and our pride left somewhere behind us.
Gone is that Melville – except for The Catz Pyjamas part that is.
New and exciting
There are some new and exciting spots blossoming on the street of 7th and the avenue of 4th betwixt and between the gloriously dark and mildly dingy institutions of old.
This really is a diverse place with a little something for everyone:
Your mother-in-law (to be): The Leopard
Without doubt one of my favourite restaurants; it’s quirky, feminine and very eclectic.
The menu is what the fussy might call ‘contemporary cosmopolitan’. Basically it's a fusion of Asian and European meets what’s fresh and in season.
‘Mother’ will love it and be able to tell her friends all about it, probably adding in something about how they’re really ‘cleaning up Melville’.
They have a decent but small wine list so they won’t have a heart attack if you bring your own.
You also won’t break the bank here but the royal ‘she’ will feel the royal treatment none-the-less.
63A 4th Avenue (corner 5th Street), 011 4829356
Your best mate, (For some serious bromancing): The Slug and Lettuce
Whilst it’s nothing new in terms of the ‘Slug and Lettuce’ Franchise, the décor is pretty awesome and so is the beer selection, 5 beers on tap and counting.
The menu is made up of pizzas, burgers and the ‘slug favourites': Bangers and mash, pie of the day and burgers and buns that are made on site.
Bromances will flourish here, whether in the dark interior or outside whilst watching sexy emo girls meander passed, and if yummy mummies are more your thing there is Bambanani just opposite.
The Court in Melville, No 76, 4th Avenue, 011 4828864
Speaking of which:
Your friend with a kid: Bambanani
If your friend insists on bringing the little one with to lunch (despite how adorable and well behaved he/she insists they may be) it gets a little irritating after your 3rd or 4th ‘look at me-look at me’ because the child is dominating your friend’s attention.
This place has good food, wine, whiskeys and for the kids: playstation, movies, child minders and jungle gyms.
It’s a win-win.
Once you find out you have nothing to talk about anymore, you can join in on the entertainment and have a nap while they get the bill and mumble on about how juvenile you still are.
85 4th Ave, 011 4822900
Girlfriends: The Service Station
Light and fresh, a favourite breakfast spot. Great coffee, great sandwiches and breakfasts, with a little deli and a market upstairs on weekends.
You and your girlfriend can sit on the cute little chairs or in the cute little nooks drinking cute little skinny cappuccinos looking at cute little hipster guys reading cute little newspapers or typing on their cute little Macs.
After which you can browse the little shops and buy a vanilla candle to make your boudoir smell ‘just so’ and an African beaded necklace because ‘they’re just so hot right now’.
Corner Ninth Street and Rustenburg Road, 011 7261701
Your oldest friend: Ant Cafe
This is the kind of place where you see really good conversations going down; people getting stuck into both their pizza and their tête-à-tête while sloshing back their wine.
It’s a simple place with simple pizzas: the traditional kind with a thin base and forget the fussy toppings.
There’s no wine list, all the wines are on the wall, so there’s no awkward silences between choosing what you’ll eat and what you’ll drink.
No BS, just good times.
11 7th Street, 076 476 5671
A crowd: Lucky Bean
This is a great place to go when you need to organize a ‘drinks-that-might-become-dinner-but-not-sure-how-many-are-coming’ event.
It’s a restaurant, lounge, bar and outside deck with a DJ on Fridays, so really anything goes.
The menu is reminiscent of a Tim Burton film (and I am talking ‘Alice in Wonderland’ rather than ‘Edward Scissor Hands’)
There are just so many things going on, it’s a bit of a menagerie: from burgers to noodles to Rogan Josh-style lamb shank - you are sure to find something that pleases everyone.
16 7th Street, 011 482 5572
Your weird friend: Joanna melt bar
This place is interesting; some would say in a good way and others might say in bad way…
At the Joanna melt bar, it's all about melts and they are big into cheese. They even have a mac ‘n cheese melt, yeah, like I said, they take these things (cheese-things?) seriously.
But they also have great cocktails and a good beer selection, live music and interesting crowds, so if you looking for something a little off the wall, take a weird friend here, or take a square friend and introduce them to your quirky side.
7, 7th street Melville, 0727335966
Your Granny: De la Crème Café
Like your Granny, this place has been around ever since you can remember.
It’s more of a ‘tea and cake’ establishment, but they also do a good breakfast.
It’s perfect for a midweek treat for you and your darling grandmamma.
It gets really busy on the weekends, so probably not recommended for those Granny’s with hearing problems or claustrophobia.
Physical address: Corner 4th Avenue & 7th Street, 011 726 7716.
The whole family: Picobella
It’s a family-run restaurant with good-old Italian food.
There's pizzas and pastas plus good service, making it grumpy-dad and fussy-sister-in-law friendly.
The prices are reasonable too so looking at the bill won’t start another family feud.
However, if a feud does break out, there is an outside patio section so the family can easily dine seperately.
66 4th Avenue, 0114824309
Your drunk friend: The Catz Pyjamas
Your friend’s been drunk since 1994 and this establishment has been open 24 hours since 1994, so it’s a match made in heaven.
This is a great place to come at 2am for some good food and a great night-time buzz.
They have just about everything on the menu: pizzas, pastas, wraps, fish, meat, vegetarian, chicken, platters – you name it, it’s enough to fix any ‘hangover-to-be’ before it be.
You won’t bump into anyone not out for a good time so your drunk friend will fit right in and there’s less chance of him/her offending anyone.
(And if they do, few people will remember anyway.)
12 Main Rd, 0117268596