There’s something utterly charming about a spot that specialises, choosing not to cloud the one thing they do well with other offerings. And then there are others that get the mix just right. These Joburg cafés do dessert particularly well and are perfect for the upcoming sunny season.
You can expect a wealth of handmade chocolates here, as well as organic coffee. Lounge in the handsome orange-and-brown parlour while you sip on delectable hot chocolate priced between R48 and R54 (or the new Zéphyr Caramel hot chocolate for R58). Vicki Bain is the resident chocolatier. She trained for 15 years in Belgium and uses only the best chocolate (Valrhona and Callebaut) made there. Her truffle creations include ginger, honey and lime; salted-caramel ganache; and kumquat-and-chamomile. Pair them up with classic favourites to create a box of six for between R65 and R82. Also on the way are chilled chocolate ‘cocktails’, made with Vicki’s own handmade flavours – and no alcohol.
The main speciality here is ice-cream sandwiches and the variety will make your jaw drop. Have your ice cream sandwiched between cookies, blondies or churros, along with a choice of spreads and toppings. Think double choc-chip cookies squashing a filling of Oreo Monster ice cream, spread with dulche de leche and topped off with vanilla fudge (all for R48). Or churros sandwiching chocolate ice cream, spread with Nutella and topped with cinnamon-nuts (all for R50). You could also just go for an ice-cold granita – the strawberry-lemon flavour is entirely too hard to resist (R29).
This food heaven is mostly about gelatos, waffles and coffee – preferably in combination. There’s also incredible popcorn that comes in generous tubs, with flavours like butter-toffee and sea-salt honey butter. Other concoctions include the affogato in a chocolate-coated waffle cone. White chocolate hazelnut gelato is topped with a single shot of espresso for R45. Or have the Great Mood sandwich cookie, made with white-chocolate-and-macadamia cookies, vanilla gelato, hundreds-and-thousands, and white-chocolate drops before being drizzled with more white chocolate (R45).
Here everything is made with a real, rich, ice-cream custard. Enjoy flavours of chocolate, Oreo, Nutella, roast banana or matcha (one scoop is R25). The shop also offers other yummy treats like banana splits and ice-cream cookies, and loves serving sundaes on Sundays (R50).
French crêpes and Belgian waffles are good here, but you’ll be even happier if you go for their unbelievably good patisserie tartlets. Rather Tart had a regular stall at many upmarket food markets for good reason before they opened this dessert spot. Go for the Top Deck crêpe made with Nutella and condensed milk (R45) or a waffle, like the one topped with mixed roast nuts, banana, caramel, and cream or ice cream (R55).
This is a luxurious ice cream nook and all the products – except for coffee – contain the famous Sally Williams nougat, chocolate or Turkish Delight. There are ten premium ice-cream flavours from which to choose (R25 for one scoop; R48 for two) with flavours like rose with Turkish delight or honey-almond. New flavours for summer are also on the way. Also try one of their satisfying milkshakes topped with Sally Williams confectionery (R49.99). Flavours could include orange-Turkish or choc-coffee.
Everyone knows you go to XO to get awesome cronuts. The well-loved flaky doughnuts come in flavours of cinnamon-buttercream, chocolate-hazelnut, salted caramel with passion fruit, Milky Way and milk tart (R31 each). Yaseen Essa also uses them for his Crazy Shakes (R54), where a mighty shake – like Peppermint Crisp, spicy chai or peanut butter – is majestically crowned with the relevant cronut.
Calling themselves “The Cake People” Chateau Gateaux has become synonymous with its fresh and decadent handcrafted cakes for every occasion. From taking a break from shopping at the mall and sitting down for a rewarding bite to special celebratory events, Chateau Gateaux delivers. Their daily treats are comforting and familiar easy-going favourites like a variety of their chocolate, vanilla and carrot cakes. The signature cheesecakes – light, fluffy and tangy – are the drawcards. And so are their mini-collections ranging from cute little Mississippi Mud Pies, Chocolate volcanoes to varied cheesecakes.
This is a little boutique chocolaterie in Sandton popular for its hand-made chocolates and confectioneries. The family-run business also operates as a coffee shop and café with a loyal following. The ethos here is driven by great service and attention to detail. Everything is made with natural ingredients with the process leaning towards traditional methods. Enjoy a selection of bonbons, mini chocoholic ranges, baked chocolate goodies, novelty chocolates, including sugar-free ranges for diabetics. Waffles are also a specialty. There is even a variety of gift boxes to take home.
Hidden in plain sight in the corner of the Illovo Post office Centre is the pretty and romantic Parisian coffee shop and tea lounge, The Patisserie is well known for its pastries, cakes and confectionery treats. Indulgent baking, courtesy of Helen Theo of Helen’s Cakes – is what it’s about. Helen took over The Patisserie in 2011, but the establishment has been around since 2003. The place has become famous for its authentic Parisian macarons, petit fours, red velvet cupcakes and Mille Feuille. You can also take home decorated cake boxes boasting a wide range of cakes, cupcakes, tarts and biscuits.
Paul is one of Joburg’s trendiest patisserie, bakery and café at which to be seen. It adds to the pulse of the ultra-luxurious High Street of Melrose Arch. The bakery specializes in over 140 breads, and the establishment prides itself on the pastry prowess to match. Expect indulgent cakes, beignets, tarts and crepes. These are all baked in-house for guaranteed freshness and quality. The macarons here are quite competent too.
If you’re on the hunt for homemade Italian ice cream, from custard base to sorbets, Gelato La Cremosa is your best bet. For a broader experience, you can learn how the artisan product is made, taking note of the natural ingredients that are used at the store’s main branch in Dainfern Square Shopping Centre in Sandton. The Melrose Arch store is more about enjoying luxury. Only the best seasonal ingredients are used with no preservatives, colourants and artificial flavours. All gelato flavours (except for cookies and cream) are gluten-free. Sorbet flavours are also vegan. You can enjoy these with a variety of cakes, waffles, cookies or brownies.
Doppio Zero Greenside attracts a lot of the media and film producer crowds who work in a number of the production houses in the neighbourhood. This gives it a unique vibe. This branch, the first one of the growing franchise, started as a bakery and alfresco café and has become a leading full-service restaurant with Mediterranean and Italian influences. The desserts here are some of the best in the city. They push the boundaries in terms of flavour pairings and creativity. There is a lot to try. From a great selection of cakes including apple caramel, custard coconut nut, gelato cake, and Bar One cheesecake; to the Nutella crepe and guava pavlova, the options are delectable.
Arbour Café is a French-inspired café and crêperie hidden behind the stylish shops of Wrenrose Court in Birdhaven, next to Melrose Arch. The spot specializes in Galettes (savoury pancakes) and crepes. Boasting a charming courtyard, enjoying their specialty with a glass of bubbly is something special. Choose from a variety of their exciting crepe flavours like the brandy flambéed orange butter sauce; salted caramel and apple; decadent Nutella and banana or the mixed berry compote and crème fraiche.
Tagged as Benoni’s best-kept secret, The Victorian Secret is located under a tapering oak tree in the gardens of the historic Tait House. It’s a small cafe and patisserie specializing in delicious macarons. Alongside the macarons, various gluten-free options from the bakery like the espresso brownies and glorious Monte Carlos are served. It’s the perfect spot for a high tea. And as a bonus, they bake for pets too.