With her much-loved diner, Karen Dudley has achieved the near impossible: she’s made the work lunch sexy and exciting. And she’s been keeping it up for years now. Whether you go for their famous ‘love sandwiches’ – made according to your specifications on the counter – or choose from the myriad of healthy and delicious salads and proteins displayed under the counter, you can’t go wrong, and you will always find something new and different.
Pick your protein (like honey-roasted pork bangers, or chicken breast roasted in ratatouille) and then proceed to dither between the lovely salads and sides: scrumptious roasted butternut with tahini and red onions, cauliflower with chilli and cos lettuce, buckwheat with white onions, parsley and cucumber; a wonderfully fragrant fried mushroom rice with spring onions. The dishes are simple but stellar; the unstintingly fresh ingredients allowed to shine.
The variety is ever-changing – you will actually see new and different salads coming out of the kitchen while you eat. It’s exceedingly good value – R65 for three salads or R75 for five. It’s perfect for sitting down or taking back to your desk.
The offering is limited but appropriate – you’ll find well-made coffees, teas and Sir Juice.
Full of verve. The staff at The Kitchen always seem inordinately pleased to be working here, and it really contributes to a most pleasant atmosphere and experience.
There is nothing stuffy or pretentious about The Kitchen. In fact it feels like stepping into your slightly crazy aunt’s cluttered kitchen. Though tiny, there is always room for one more diner, and though almost frenetically busy, you will never be hurried from your seat.
If the food appeals, and boy it should, you could try your hand at duplicating some of the recipes with one of Dudley’s well-received cookbooks. Also worth noting is The Dining Room next door, which is open for dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for private parties.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Take our advice: come early and come hungry! The Kitchen is hugely popular for its plentiful salads at lunch time – there are up to 20 on offer every day – and the famous “Love Sandwich”, which is made on an artisanal roll from the nearby Woodstock Bakery then filled with your choice of gammon, grilled chicken, honey-mustard sausage, melanzane, pastrami, falafel or avo and bacon and The Kitchen’s signature pestos, salads and secret “Love Potion”. The salads are available to take away or to eat in: choose either three or five of your favourites (add protein if you like), then find a seat at one of the long tables or at the counter. It can get pretty packed at lunch time, but a space usually opens up quickly. There are also a few tables on the pavement outside.
Breakfast is also on offer earlier in the day, with the likes of owner Karen Dudley’s creamy, dreamy eggs, French or anchovy toast, or the Appleteria – yoghurt, apple, house-made granola, almonds, dates, cinnamon and honey. Enjoy a coffee and a treat after your meal; the World Peace brownies are highly recommended – gooey and deliciously chocolatey.
Tea, coffee, fresh juices and other soft drinks.
The service is always friendly and helpful.
Mismatched, vintage crockery and communal tables make you feel like you’re eating with friends, making for a fun dining experience.
The Kitchen has a stall at the popular Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill on weekends.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
This bustling little eatery in Woodstock is always crammed with happy diners and lots of regulars who come for the generous portions, fresh and colourful salads and the great vibe, as set by amiable owner Karen Dudley. The culture at The Kitchen allows for customers to create their own salads and sandwiches, which bring so much freedom. Homey large bowls of pre-made salads are displayed in bounty behind and on top of the counter. The set menu and specials of the day are written out on a large chalk wall. The majority of the salads are vegetarian-friendly, but optional meat like roast gammon and chicken can be added if you need a protein fix. During winter they offer a soup of the day; the minestrone soup for instance is well seasoned, hearty and bursting with tasty veggies. It’s fun to creat your own sandwich, I opted for the combination of daily roasted chicken with a mixture of lentil and green salad – absolutely delicious.
As this is a breakfast and lunch deli spot, the restaurant specialises in healthy, fresh juices, teas and coffee options rather than a fully stocked booze bar.
The servers are very attentive to each diner and their experience.
The walls are adorned with and eclectic mix of antique crockery, lending an ornate feeling. You can’t help but feel relaxed in this quaint but trendy Woodstock space. There’s an energetic buzz during lunchtime. Seats and tables are shared; there are also a couple of seats outside to snap up when the weather’s nice.
Don’t worry too much if you get there and can’t seem to spot a seat – seating fills up quickly but the seats turn quickly as well.