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love food – kitchen, deli, cafe

love food – kitchen, deli, cafe
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Cost
R80 avg main meal
Ambience
Cheap & cheerful, Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool, Hip & happening
Food
Bakery fare, Bistro fare, Buffet, Deli fare, Health food, Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Xolisa Phillip

Food
The ethos here seems to be “the simpler, the better”. You walk in and are greeted by Love Food’s centrepiece, a sizable harvest table decked out with a kaleidoscope of salads, a variety of proteins and an assortment of starches. The food, which is inviting to the eyes before one has even had a taste, sells itself. Customers who arrive early during the lunchtime rush get the best picks from the Love Food harvest table, from which they can select different proteins (chicken strips, pork sausages and baby hake), salads (coleslaw, leafy green, pea and green bean, and spicy roasted corn) and a starch (pearl barley).

The green salad, consisting of lettuce, grated carrots and cherry tomatoes, was satisfying. The lettuce was crispy, the bright carrots crunchy and the tomatoes sweet. The brown pearl barley salad was well-seasoned, chewy and tasty. The baby hake was packed with flavour – although well cooked, this did not strip away any of its taste or texture.

If a buffet-style lunch is not in order, there is a selection of sandwiches (mozzarella, sun-dried tomato and pesto; pastrami, cheddar, gherkin, mayo and mustard; salami, cheese, gherkin, mayo; and mustard, ham, cheese, gherkin and mayo) and the special of the day to beat the hunger.

For something sweet, Love Food offers lemon tart, homemade ice cream, brownies and homemade choc-chip cookies.

Drinks
Coffees, imported Teapigs teas and sodas are available.

Service
The staff have a dignified restraint about them – not too overbearing while at the same time leaving a customer feeling well taken care of. Ask questions and they are readily answered without being made to feel like a nuisance.

Ambience
A delightful gem tucked away in the heart of Braamfontein. This is a quaint café that has a tranquil, laid-back feel to it which belies the bustle of its backdrop.

It is hip, modern with a few throwback items that lend it a certain charm. The décor, which is tastefully done, is pleasant and adds to the dining experience. Nice spot for a working lunch or a catch-up session with friends over delicious food.

And…
Each day's menu is posted online.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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  • Rupesh Kassen

    Food
    Love Food was one of the pioneers of the Braamfontein food scene, frequented initially by the hip and trendy, but now their secret is shared with the neighbourhood’s community of artists and office workers. It has become an institution, with queues out the door for the generous lunchtime harvest table and breakfast treats. Chef and owner, Jamie Lorge’s food is inspired by famous London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s use of seasonal ingredients, leading to sensational tastes. The lunch menu is the true star of the show, but they also offer great options to start your day. Breakfast items include rye toast with scrambled eggs, pesto and cherry tomatoes, French toast with syrup, Emmenthaler cheese and bacon, or waffles with seasonal fruit. Make sure you get there early to a have first pick of the lunchtime harvest table, rich with exciting salads that can be paired with proteins of the day. The lunch menu changes daily and is posted on their website to get you salivating. Expect salads with imagination, like beetroot, feta, watermelon and baby spinach; lemony cous cous and lentil salad and roasted aubergine with lashing of lightly herbed yogurt. Balance your meal with delicate fishcakes, pork sausages glazed with honey mustard or perfectly roasted chicken thighs. They also offer a warm meal of the day (cheesy mince wraps on the day I visited) and a range of gourmet sandwiches. I’m definitely returning for Burger Friday, with tempting options of homemade beef, prego chicken, or beetroot and lentil vegetarian burgers. Topped with salads, slaws, cheese, honey mustard mayo and homemade chili sauce, just the idea of it is enough to make the mouth water. Also on offer are sweets like lemon tart, brownies or freshly baked cakes to partner with their specially selected and micro-roasted blend of coffee.

    Drinks
    Other than excellent coffee, they offer healthy smoothies and a range of imported teas from ‘TeaPigs’.

    Service
    Welcoming and warm from the time you walk in. Handsome chefs stand at attention behind the harvest table offering explanations of the dishes, and will dish your choices.

    Ambience
    The minimalist space was recently expanded and offers more space for patrons inside. The calming space is also great for the mobile worker.

    And…
    Grab a spot on the large shared table outside with a view of the lovely tree-lined Ameshoff Street.

  • Marie-Lais Emond

    Braamfontein’s trendy insiders know the neighbourhood’s dotted lines. They link the Great Dane in De Beer Street to the design houses along de Beer and Juta streets; the Black Forest Bakery to The Neighbourgoods Market, Dokter and Misses design studio with Father Coffee; and Doubleshot Coffee and Tea in Melle Street to the Love Food Kitchen, Deli and Café in Ameshoff Street.

    All of these people frequent each other’s places. Love Food’s Ottolenghi-inspired chef-owner, Jamie Lorge, will visit almost all in a day – and everyone who can, will stop in at hers. While Love Food is open for breakfast, most fans queue for the harvest table lunch and grab their one-on-ones when the throngs clear. It’s a good place for singles, too, because everyone shares tables quite naturally, especially the big one at the top of the steps. Even the pavement is busy; it’s prime for the designers and stylists.

    Food
    Sensational tastes is the main reason for food lovers flocking here. If you judge a restaurateur by their salads, this is quite a high level for such a young chef. Her salads are exciting, really exciting: they can be the heroes of any lunch. Recent examples (they change daily) include chilli-hot nori with shaved carrot, radish and sesame oil salad and a beetroot and pink grapefruit salad with green onion, baby spinach and lemon zest.

    The breakfasts are featured on the blackboard and, for lunches, people crowd around a table where Jamie holds sway, guiding through the dishes of the day with their surprise elements: salads with an optional choice of protein, such as shredded beef, chicken pieces or warm fishcakes; gourmet sandwiches; and daily specials, like beef lasagne. The salad is quietly dressed before you get your plate, so the mostly local garden-grown ingredients can shine.

    <strong>People</strong>
    These are globally conscious people with taste, which is why they eat here. The men, if they aren’t in their own designs, wear spotted bowties, hats and Laduma Ngxokolo cardies. The women are the double-swathed scarf types, probably arty academics from Wits or the various galleries. Most patrons are in their 20s or 30s, and the vehicles that roll up, Vespas or e-tuktuks. Many walk from the nearby Braamfontein hot spots.

    Service
    It’s pro and friendly. White-aproned staff do more clearing than serving, as diners select their culinary finds from the table.

    Drinks
    Order the excellent coffee, or go for Frankie’s gingerbeer and lemonade, a healthy smoothie, or iced, herbal or ceylon tea. There’s a R20 corkage fee if you’d like to bring your own wine.

    Ambience
    Strangely, there’s no great art on the walls. (Perhaps the customers have enough of that where they come from.) It’s gentle, warm and lovely. There is a collection of Jamie’s gran’s vinyls and the vibe is one of upbeat excitement.

    And…
    Every month Jamie has a dinner club evening (which tends to sell out quickly) to show off her more formal skills, at R330 for three courses.
  • Chef-patron Jamie Lorge loves food – and it shows. This great little urban bistro is perfect for the lunch rush: meals are ready-made and served buffet-style. The daily ‘graze table’ caters to a mix of university students and office workers. Urban-hip design with cement floors, exposed bricks and worn wooden furniture.

User reviews

  • My favourite place to eat during the week. Provides a welcome break from the office and the food is always so delicious and fresh! I don't know how they get salads to taste THAT good :)
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  • I went there once and said that would never go again

    I went another time and I got the same bad experience

    The portions are too small and overpriced - I ordered a tarte that was finished in two bites! The food portion size is suitable for a starter

    The owner and the other one are actually quite rude and have a fake smiles

    I will never visit that cafe again.
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  • My husband and I often dash to Love Food Kitchen for a work-day lunch. The food is really good - a buffet selection of one or two protein dishes and loads of beautiful salads or veggies. This isn't a date restaurant, or drink-the-afternoon-away diner; it's a good way to get delicious, healthy food fast, in your lunch break. That said, the service is fast and friendly, the owners are involved and willing to help with any queries, and the decor is cozy and stylish. I'm honestly baffled by the only other review here - because while it's not a silver service kind of restaurant, I've only ever been greeted warmly and treated well at Love Food Kitchen. Stay just the way you are!

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  • I took my boyfriend for a weekday brunch at love food - excited to try it after finding out about it online. While the decor, food and general vibe was pleasant and inviting, sadly the service was so atrocious that we left before even having our drinks. The staff were rude and impatient - rushing us to order and sit although we were the only patrons needing service at the time (there was only one other table there). We were disappointed because this restaurant has such potential - if only the owners would understand that service is number one in this industry! One can't feel relaxed and comfortable if one simply feels that one is not welcome. Hoping for an improvement so we can go back!

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  • Finally got around to doing lunch at Love Food last week, and what a nice experience! Interesting salads and good meat dishes to choose from. Well-priced and unpretentious. The only thing missing is a few craft beers.

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  • Stoped for a quick breakfast. Cooked fresh and off the menu. Brilliant.

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  • Went there yesterday for lunch, it was viby and the food was great! I'll be a regular for sure. Loving Love Food!

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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