(Images all from Arbour Café’s Facebook)
The Arbour Café is just short of three years old and has rapidly become known as a popular little neighbourhood gem in the Birdhaven area.
The French-inspired café and crêperie is a popular destination for breakfast and coffee enthusiasts and most mornings (especially weekends), the courtyard is abuzz with activity. I have always loved the fact that you can sit in the quaint little courtyard, enjoy the fresh air and not have to see a car or a road, a true rarity in Johannesburg.
Arbour has a great selection of breakfast options, you can choose from the signature French pancakes or crepes, unusual, delicious omelette options or build your own breakfast – eggs on either rye or baguette with an array of sides including streaky bacon, hand-made beef chipolatas, creamy wild mushrooms and Norwegian smoked salmon. No French restaurant would be complete without a fresh selection of croissants and Arbour has plenty to choose from. I opted for an omelette with flambéed chorizo, mozzarella, roast rosa tomatoes, onions and basil – the omelette was light and fluffy and packed full of very tasty goodies.
Lunches boast a delicious mix of salads, sandwiches and savoury pancakes or for those opting for something a bit more substantial, ribeye steaks cooked to perfection, lamb cutlets, seared salmon with creamed avo or duck confit amongst other delicious options will almost certainly leave you struggling to decide. Sunday lunches are accompanied by a live jazz band and make for a perfect way to while away your Sunday.
With the arrival of summer and warm evenings, Arbour will be open in the evenings from Wednesday to Saturday evening. I find fairy lights always create such an enchanting, romantic atmosphere – evenings in the Arbour courtyard are beautifully romantic with fairy lights overhead and along the trellises on the walls. The restaurant has recently expanded into a lovely covered verandah section that works perfectly to protect you from the sun during the day or shelter during a Highveld thunderstorm.
The dinner menu is very similar to the mains available on the more substantial lunch offering and mains are available with a side of your choice. I like the fact that sides are more interesting than the usual on offer in restaurants – you get to choose between the likes of roasted sweet potatoes with ginger and honey, or steamed crunchy beans, broccoli and toasted seeds or even perfectly roasted butternut and beetroot – not a sad bowl of creamed spinach in sight!! Arbour has an interesting, well-priced wine list as well as a good selection of local and French bubbly and even Prosecco.
Larry Hodes, the owner, keeps a keen eye on the restaurant and ensures that service remains slick and speedy. Staff are very friendly and it is great to watch the banter between Larry and the Birdhaven regulars.
I am told that Arbour has a brand new take-home menu that customers can pre-order and collect. They consist of canapés, starters, main courses and sumptuous desserts that are made fresh. The menus all focus on seasonal ingredients tailor-made to suit tastes, dietary requirements and numbers.