Leafy Greens is Johannesburgs first raw vegan café offering a buffet lunch on Saturdays and Sundays and with every meal sold R1.00 is donated to feed a child in Africa through the JAM Movement.
In my search for healthy meals I discovered one of my new favourite cafés; Leafy Greens. Why do I love it so much?
Due to its proximity, in less than 30min I can be there. After a long week of therapy, it often feels as if my own personal cup is full. I need to detox and breathe in fresh air to rejuvenate myself. The Café is a perfect place to do this as it's away from the city and has the feel of entering a secret garden, giving the café a relaxed natural feel. It’s my oasis of eating that is found at the end of a pathway of arched trees.
2. Wonderful Food
Since its opening in 2010, Antonio has carefully crafted this organic vegan menu.
An al e Carte menu is available before 11:30 for breakfasts or brunch, just a quick almond milk coffee or cold pressed juice, but the true vegan experience lies in their lunch buffet. The buffet offers over 30 fully vegan delicious dishes. The food is all freshly prepared and sourced from their own organic garden.
On the buffet my favourite dishes have been the spicy chickpea curry, crunchy kale salads, vegan mayo, rice wraps with thinly chopped fresh vegetables, golden and sweet roast butternut and gluten free pizza with vegan cheese. Due to the buffet being based on the current in season fruit and vegetables, it is always changing slightly.
Before Leafy Greens, I can honestly say I had never eaten half of the food that can be found on their buffet. The new experiences have never disappointed my palate. So much so that I have bought Antonio’s recipe book and regally use in my own home. Recipes are easy to follow and if you do get lost just phone the shop and ask the friendly staff for advice.
The first time I tried to make their famous strawberry cheese cake, it was a terrible flop, it was sickly sweet and tasted like bark! After chatting with the staff I realised that the Stevia concentrate sweetener was to blame and either to rather buy liquid coconut sugar or adapt the amount put in.
Leafy Greens has a top class drinks menu from coffees, cold pressed juice to smoothies, a coconut or a lovely glass of wine. A small kids menu is also available.
3. Sweet Tooth
I have a sweet tooth, even though I try my best it still feels like punishment at times when I see others eating a rich creamy dessert or ice cream parfait and I cannot. What better then a Leafy Greens raw desserts to fill that craving? Gluten, Dairy, Egg and artificial sugar free, you might raise an eyebrow until you raise your first bite to your lips.My personal favourite is the chocolate Carmel fudge tart. It's all the rich creamy melt in my mouth goodness I could ever want.
4. & 5 Lifestyle of Clean Eating and Healthy Living
Before leaving this organic safe haven make sure to visit their Health Shop. You might decide on a take away cold pressed juice, nut butter or vegan fudge all branded by Antonio’s. A selection of in season fruit and veg from their organic garden is also available.
If you haven't realized by now leafy greens is not just a café but is trying to introduce a lifestyle of clean eating and healthy living.
Various workshops and cooking classes are hosted on premises and Antonio also has her own blog. Other bonuses of the restaurant include free wi-fi so you can Instagram all those pictures of your yummy food and that the café is dog friendly. Your pooch must be on leash however as chickens roam the gardens.
The garden trail lined with trees is an approximate 500m walk from the parking lot. Followed by a flight of stairs and/or a long sloping ramp up to the restaurant.
There is no dedicated disabled restroom at the café. Also due to the self service buffet style lunch, juggling a walking stick and a plate can be difficult. The table however is an accessible height for wheel chair uses. These are a few slight inconveniences that you will need to endure but the staff are great and more than willing to go through the buffet with you, dish and carry it back to your table for you.
As Leafy Greens is growing in popularity, I recommend booking a table in advance and asking to sit under the trees as this most shaded area in the summer. A small inside area is also available
Prices are in the slightly higher range with an average meal for two costing R300.
This year I have celebrated my birthday, Valentine's Day, my Moms visit to Johannesburg… And if my husband wants to treat me or convince me that he needs more things for his fish tank, this is where he takes me.
I love the food at Leafy Greens, delicious, nutritious and healthy food with the majority coming from the farm on the property.
It is a must visit restaurant in Jo'burg. You will be amazed at how delicious and filling the nutrient dense food is here.
The buffet selection is extensive and very fulling. It is also sometimes possible to buy organic vegetables from the well stocked shop.
I would frequent the restaurant more often but it is almost an hour's drive from the main areas of Jo'burg that it can be difficult to convince friend's to give up half a day for lunch but it is a lovely day trip outing when visiting Leafy Greens.
The isolated location of the restaurant is part of the charm but don't expect a rushed meal.
The desserts are too sweet and could be less sweet but still enjoyable. The caramel cacoa tart is lovely. The food including the desserts, milkshakes and smoothies are quite expensive in my opinion and more expensive than other restaurants but delicious treat occasionally.
Bookings are recommended on weekends as it does get busy.
The staff are swept off their feet on weekends but friendly and helpful.
I am so on the fence about Leafy Greens! I love the setting and the concept. I have only ever been able to eat from the buffet because I find the hours rather restricting and this restaurant is not open all that often. I am never totally sure what I am eating (despite the fact that the food is usually labelled on the buffet table), so I usually judge by my eye. Some of the dishes are totally divine, like the curry and the bread (oh my oh my that bread!) while others are a miss for me. Granted it could be because my brain and stomach are not used to a completely 'raw' dish.
I have not been blown away by the drinks or desserts. The cheesecakes are so sweet and a tad difficult to stomach all by yourself. I wish they would not only use agave nectar as their sweetener because it can be so overpowering.
I also find the buffet to be a little bit on the pricey side however I usually leave there with a serious food baby!
I recommend it is a place you try at least once or twice.
What a lovely setting in a garden. You feel like you're out in the country, its such a peaceful setting.
The first time, I was a total 'piggie' and ordered 2 'raw' cheesecakes. The berry cheesecake and the Chocolate & Orange cheesecake. I had most of these 2 slices, but boy, they are super-rich. The filling is made mostly of ground cashews and although both cheesecakes were really good, just too rich for me. Share a slice with 3 friends.
If you want a novelty drink, order the Fresh Mozambique Coconut - a whole coconut with hole in the top - you sip the 'water' through the straw and then eat the coconut flesh (or take it home).
On another day, I had a raw pizza slice. Buckwheat & spelt crust, topped with artichokes, 'nut cheeses', avocado and dehydrated onion slices. OH MY GOSH! I practically inhaled that pizza slice. The onions were out of this world!!!!! At another table they ordered the whole pizza - it's a sight for sore eyes!!! If you don't order anything else, order the pizza. And make sure it has the onions!!! Although the pizza slice is not big, with the salad topped with a creamy dressing its a nice portion - and for R45 a must to order!!!
My friend ordered the Gourmet Sandwich - oh my word! It was quite a generous portion!! 2 Slices of amazing gluten-free bread, topped with veggies and with a side salad. Absolutely amazing!!!!!