Brunch is the most forgiving meal of the day – nobody can judge you for ordering your heart’s desire, whether it’s a pile of pancakes, a rich eggy dish, cheesecake, or even a bottle of crisp, cold bubbly. We give you five great locations to settle down to a leisurely guilt-free brunch in the capital city.
The gardens at Afro-boer set the perfect scene for stringing up a hammock between two trees and insisting that somebody plies you with delicious cappuccinos or copious glasses of bubbly. They also offer a house-special Bloody Mary (R40) with pickled celery to ease you into the brunch groove. A range of perfect brunch items include cheddar mieliebread filled with fried halloumi, pork bangers and tomato chilli jam (R70). Pair this with a Cucumber Collins, made with fynbos-infused artisanal gin, granadilla, lemon and sparkling water (R50) or a switchel (R 60), another gin-based drink, and the day should easy off to a brilliant start. Other highlights are baked beans on rye (R50) or toasted banana bread slices with chocolate spread (R48), and for those wishing to re-establish the balance, a lactose-free almond-and-pear green smoothie (R38). If you need a caffeine spike to attempt the rest of the day with the necessary verve, a pour-over coffee made from selected small-batch roasted beans should do the trick.
The advantage of eating at a boutique hotel is that you can tuck into food at any time of the day, and at Black Bamboo they are much less pedantic about serving brunch items at 11pm instead of 11am than most other businesses. Chef Pellie Grobler makes a killer beetroot Bloody Mary, which is just the best thing to sip on while lounging among their impressive collection of sculptures and enjoying the sound of water trickling from an impressively architectural fountain. Enjoy classics for brunch such as Eggs Royale (R75), featuring smoked salmon trout topped with sautéed spinach, soft poached egg, roasted baby tomatoes and lathered with béarnaise sauce. The Milano (R65) consists of asparagus wrapped in springbok carpaccio with parmesan shavings, poached egg and drizzled with hollandaise sauce; the Smoked Trout Rösti (R80) features smoked trout and sweet potato rösti, poached egg, spring onions and wasabi mayo. If all this sounds a little too much, opt for something a little more toned down such as Toastini Bologna (R65), a toasted croissant topped with Bolognese mince, a soft-poached egg and chopped chives. They also serve a number of brilliant speciality teas (African Summer, Cranberry Rooibos) as well as fantastically fresh juices and, for the caffeine junkies, great coffees and espresso-based beverages.
Few things are more luxurious than enjoying a meal in a small piece of wilderness right in the middle of a busy Pretoria suburb. The Blue Crane Restaurant has gained new ownership and come into its own. Located in the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, this is a wonderful spot to engage in some bird watching – there is a thriving community of the famed Blue Crane living here. If you are not a serious birder, then just sit back and enjoy the ambience and the good food. Sundays are particularly busy, when they have all sorts of buffets and roasts going; there’s a smouldering fire in the boma, and the gentle chatter of guests competing with live jazz makes it super appealing. To elevate your Sunday brunch experience, a large ice bucket sports a variety of local bubblies that can be ordered by the glass. They offer continental, warm or full brunch menus, the latter of which includes juice, hot beverages and dessert, for R145 per person. The warm items include scrambled or fried eggs, a vegetarian tartlet, chicken livers, grilled bacon and tomatoes stuffed with mushroom and cheese. You could, of course, just let one meal roll into the next and stay for lunch: lamb on the spit, slow-cooked ossobuco in red wine, or chicken and broccoli in phyllo.
This delightful venue is becoming a stalwart of the Pretoria culinary scene, and Rachel Botes and her inspiring young team are always pushing the boundaries to come up with innovative and exciting food. They are closed on Sundays, so you’d better have your brunch there during the week, when you can sit out on the enclosed stoep and take in life on the street. After many years, they’ve decided to acquire a liquor licence, so soon you’ll be able to have a great glass of bubbly with your brunch. Start off your morning with a rich strawberry smoothie blended with coconut milk and served with fresh seasonal fruit and handmade granola biscuit (R55), or a Twisted English, consisting of a three-cheese tart topped with the chef’s own oven-dried tomatoes and served with a preserved-bacon-infused boiled egg and sprinkled with fried parma ham bits (R90). Something slightly less glamorous, but a staple for many, is beans and toast, which features Rachel’s own home-baked butter beans served with two hand-crafted beef merguez sausages, a poached egg and mango preserve on ciabatta (R 90). Other glamorous egg dishes include Middle Eastern scrambled eggs, Indian eggs or Egyptian-style eggs. Their handmade pork sausages (also served with Carlton Café’s signature French toast) can be ordered as part of the DIY brunch menu. If your mood is particularly decadent, end with a slice of signature New-York-style baked cheesecake.
Situated on the corner of the Brooklyn food court, tashas has a view over some beautiful Leopard trees, but failing that, you can always keep an eye on the who’s who passing by. Enjoy a glass of prosecco and choose one of their creative dishes such as a breakfast tart (R66): puff pastry topped with Napoletana sauce, mozzarella, breakfast sausage, red onion, bacon, button mushrooms, roasted tomato and fried egg. The tashas steak stack is a perfect brunch option and can be ordered either with sirloin (R84) or fillet (R104) and is presented with grilled onions, sliced mushrooms, grilled tomato and an egg. For those who hanker for the comforts of a more traditional breakfast, a dish of soft polenta with crispy bacon, mushrooms, poached egg, a spot of chilli and parmesan shavings (R62) should hit the spot, but there are all sorts of other items such as Turkish eggs or pain perdu that would be perfect for brunch.