In my previous life, at 9 o’clock on a weekend morning you would find me fast asleep. Or, at most, half asleep, cupping a mug of tea in bed, with the duvet pulled up to my ears. I would be reminiscing about the previous night’s elaborate dinner, or trying to figure out what to wear to the upcoming afternoon’s elaborate lunch. Yes, when I was single and childless, life really was one leisurely, extravagant eating-out experience after the other.
These days, as mentioned previously, eating out is a bit trickier. You see, I am no longer single and no longer childless. Not that either of these make eating out impossible; the latter just complicates it a bit – especially if the child is but a few months old.
Nowadays, come 9am on a weekend, I’ve been awake for hours, and have played and read and sang as much as I could on an empty stomach. So you will probably find me clutching my second cup of coffee at a pram-friendly restaurant somewhere in the city bowl. That is my – our – new weekend activity: discovering restaurants that serve good coffee at the crack of dawn within pram-pushing distance of our house.
I’ve had a few great experiences over the past few weeks; the city really is filled with excellent breakfast spots. My ultimate favourite is the pastry heaven of Jason on Bree Street (peanut butter, bacon and maple syrup croissant, anyone?), but in the interest of variation, I’m trying not to go there on weekends. Plus, it’s actually not very pram friendly – in terms of space that is, not the disapproving hipsters.
My last three Sunday morning outings covered Melissa’s in Kloof Street, Knead (also on Kloof Street) and The Restaurant at the Company’s Garden. The first two restaurants are not traditionally child-friendly spots. In fact, Melissa’s floor-to-ceiling shelves groaning with gorgeous foodstuffs would make me incredibly nervous if I had a child that was able to crawl or walk. Yet we had wonderful experiences at both. Melissa’s has its usual abundant breakfast buffet, as well as a good selection of hot and cold menu items. The flapjacks layered with bacon and served with cherry compote and maple syrup is divine, as is their coffee. The small, round tables crammed with your coffee and condiments are just a bit challenging when you’ve got eager little hands reaching out of the pram or from your lap…
The Kloof Street branch of Knead is normally a bit hit and miss when it comes to service, but on our last visit we were pleasantly surprised. In spite of loadshedding and the restaurant being filled to capacity, service was smooth and the food delicious. The wood-fired breakfast pizza – with bacon strips, bits of boerewors, tomatoes and a single baked egg – is a revelation. It’s hard not to inhale the whole thing. They won’t win a prize for their coffee (which we had when aforementioned loadshedding finally ended), but it more than did the trick.
The Restaurant at the Company’s Garden is probably our favoured breakfast spot at the moment; the garden setting and fresh air is a treat in the city centre, and it really is a haven for families. Whenever we visit, it’s positively buzzing with relieved parents and happy toddlers. The former are happily consuming hot beverages and breakfasts – ignoring their un-brushed hair and drool-covered clothing – and the latter merrily exploring the garden and oversized birds’ nests. In terms of food, the good old fry-up is worth a try, as are the omelettes (the one with mushrooms and caramelised onions is delectable). Portions are generous and yes, the coffee is great.
Now I’m just praying it doesn’t rain this weekend, so that our pram can take me someplace new and wonderful.