Succulent Cafe – Northcliff

*Guest Blogger Alert*

The following review is brought to you courtesy of fellow
restauranteerer and food fanatic Steve. You’re welcome blog land!

Northcliff is not the culinary hub of Johannesburg. Let’s be
honest, other than a few pizza places, the quite acceptable Eat Bistro and
a few of the usual chain restaurants, the options for foodies are as plentiful
as condor eggs.   But if you look hard enough, some respectable places are sprouting up out of the concrete. Tucked away in the same centre as Eat Bistro is the invitingly named Succulent Café, a delightful little addition to the suburb. So I found myself having a breakfast to plan, and at a loss of somewhere new and interesting to visit. Stumbling upon their website after an hour of attempts at achieving inspiration I decided to give it, Succulent Cafe that is, a go.  We arrived on a crisp Saturday
morning in mid-winter Jozi; “Jislaaikdit is leeukoud” is what the locals would
have said .

So here was the setup:

Team: 4restauranteerers
(including myself, my wife, the mother-in-law and the sister-in-law; so looking
to impress)

Décor: Succlent Café is a mish-mash of the aspirational dreams of various biscuit tin and crockery collectors,contemporary décor specialists and off-the-wall-mad-scientist electricians (as exemplified by the steel colander lamp shades that adorned the lighting above counter near the kitchen). The influences range from 50’s café style to farmhouse chic (good grief, did I just say that? Ina Paarman would be proud) to contemporary interior design. Some of it is on sale too!

Vibe: We were there fairly early, so it was rather empty when we arrived, but there are a variety of settings to sit, eat, converse and admireyour surroundings in.
These setups are not forced, rather their eclecticism is inspired by the
décor and they range from the usual table and chairs, to a high counter with
stools (which looks like it is aimed at the kids who want to make pizzas) and a
few cosy sitting-room style arrangements.
The music that was playing was strangely odd, ranging from dramatic, orchestral
movie soundtrack moments to the latest in Afrikaans treffers.  Not all that unsettling, mind, given the decor.

Service: The service was prompt, informative and just hidden enough to allow you room to have a chat without any undue interruption.

Food: The breakfast menu, which is served until 12pm has some interesting options aside from the usual bacon and eggs and continental options.
These include two varieties of French Toast – American (With mozzarella
cheese, bacon, maple & mustard syrup and fried banana; and Mediterranean
(With feta cheese, grilled tomato, bacon and olive tapenade.  The lunch menu includes some great sounding salads, specialities and great pizzas.

We decided on two portions of the French Toast Mediterranean, a custom bacon and eggs breakfast and some waffles which were not on the breakfast menu, but were gladly prepared anyway. Service win!

The French Toast Mediterranean was quite large – just what was required, with the various flavours doing well to provide a pleasant taste sensation whilst the ravenous devourers consumed them hastily. The olive tapenade was perfect. The custom breakfast was relatively uninspiring, with the eggs slightly overdone, which was a bit of a disappointment. The waffles, however, were a triumph.  Light, fluffy, and presented with the most delightful vanilla cream and an entire jug of maple syrup.  Various incarnations of the “yum” concept were mumbled between mouthfuls.

Most of the meal was spent talking about the décor and investigating the prices of the various items for sale.  The cold air was kept at bay with some blankets that were provided by the waiter.The engaging conversation that ensued about the collectability of various editions of biscuit tins from the 70s(which were displayed on the walls) was highly entertaining and allowed us to think about more than the food.  I
think that the simplicity of the food actually added to this good experience.

The lunch menu, which includes the following examples: Pampoen Kop Pizza- Mozzarella, Roasted Pumpkin and Feta topped with shaved Parmesan, Rocketand Toasted Pumpkin Seeds; and the specialty Camembert  Burger (A Camembert
Stuffed Beef Burger  with Olive Marmalade, Grilled Onions, Sautéed Black Mushroom Slices and Greens) looks like it is also worth investigating. There are also very delectable cakes on offer, not to mention the GIANT cupcakes!

In addition, there are various “ready-to-heat” dinner options that you can order from the kitchen, which is a nice touch.

I’ll be back fairly soon…. If only to look at the steel colander lamp shades and wonder about the mind of the decorator…