It’s near sacrilegious to admit out loud that you’ve never brunched at Jacques Erasmus’ City Bowl haven, Hemelhuijs. Its cult breakfast status means, that even as a Joburger, you could hardly consider yourself a serious bruncher if you’ve never tried the Hemelhuijs offering. Thankfully, in a thoughtful collaboration between Hemelhuijs and So Yum, Joburgers can regularly get a taste of what the fuss is all about – between 8am and midday every day.
Most of the breakfast menu consists of fresh, farmstyle Hemelhuijs classics. It’s unlikely that you’ve eaten a more perfectly soft-poached egg. You’ll find it sitting on top of a herby tomato-and-onion ‘smoor’ with plenty of grilled farm sausage, which tastes like the flavours have been infusing for hours. The dish is served with a thick half slice of mosbolletijie bread. On the egg side of breakfast, says the waiter, customers can’t get enough of the homemade potato rösti, served either with herbed crème fraîche and soft-poached eggs or avocado and exotic mushrooms. If you prefer porridge first thing in the morning, the soft mielie pap with honey and butter will take you straight back to your fondest childhood memories.
Where So Yum features on the breakfast menu, it’s all Asian-inspired. There’s a soft and savoury Japanese rice porridge with shredded chicken, soy, fresh ginger and fragrant herbs; a teriyaki salmon omelette with exotic mushrooms and Asian greens; or some traditional dim sum, where you can select your favourites from the So Yum lunch menu.
Don’t miss the hand-selected fine teas here. There are nine teas from which to choose, including blue flower Earl Grey and fresh ginger and lemon with lime leaves. They come served in the prettiest little glass teapots and rounded glass mugs. Speciality drinks – such as Vietnamese-inspired coffee with vanilla and condensed milk – deserve an honourable mention, as do the fresher than fresh juices, served in glass beakers in either 250ml or 500mls. Options include cucumber melon and pear; carrot, beetroot and ginger; apple, celery and ginger; and Valencia orange or grapefruit. Add mint, basil, lemon, ginger or fennel to any juice for R4.
A little patience will go a long way while waiting for your breakfast, so perhaps this isn’t the place to go when you’re in a rush. If you have some time to kick back, the flavours are certainly worth the wait. Table service is friendly.
The restaurant is in the middle mall section of Hyde Park, so you can either find a table in the passageway amid the hustle and bustle or you can have a seat inside, which is much more calm. Indoors also comes with the benefit of a view of the gorgeous Hemelhuijs Home Collection, which is on display behind the restaurant’s main counter and available for purchase.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Wonton soup with pork dumplings resulted in 2 days of food poisoning and unbearable cramps.
Tasty food, exceptional and intuitive service. Good wine and atmosphere. Well worth the cost.
Had my dinner-club here earlier this week. Service was a bit rushed, and non-attentive. Dim sum was good, as always. The Peking Duck was slightlly dry, unfortunately. Sure it was just an off night.