27 June 2016

Travel Post: A Long Weekend in Melville (Part I)

This past long weekend the husband and I decided to have a city escape. I decided on Melville as I've heard good things about it and we've never been there before. We saw a lot and ate a lot, so I've decided to split the post into two. The next instalment will be on the blog on Thursday.

Ginnegaap Guest House, 4th avenue, Melville

I have to admit, it was not the name that drew me to this guest house... However, when I saw the beautiful old Victorian house on which had availability for our dates plus an affordable price tag AND breakfast included, I was sold. Most of the reviews I read had something positive to say about the breakfast, and it's not often that you find that.

Our room was really nice and decorated in white and lime green which were offset by the light brown closet. There were small pieces of artwork in the room and a beautiful lead glass window above the bed. The bed was comfortable (with electric blankets!) and the bedding was soft, the pillows were just a bit soft and floppy for my taste. There was a small TV with DSTV, a fan, a heater, a bar fridge, and a small tea and coffee station. We also had a plunger and different kinds of coffee and tea which I really liked. The bathroom was a nice size featuring a big shower and soft towels.

Breakfast was served in the dining room which was so inviting and beautifully decorated. The table with the cold breakfast is in the middle of the room with the small tables placed around it in a U. There were homemade granola, Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit, and honey, along with various cereals. There were tea and a pot of coffee quietly brewing in the corner. After eating our cold breakfasts, the waiter came around with a small menu from which we could choose our hot breakfasts. I can't remember the name of my breakfast but it's a slice of health bread topped with ham, pickles, cheese, and two fried eggs. Delicious!

We stayed at Ginnegaap Guest House for two nights, and frankly, I could have stayed there a bit long. The owner and her husband are very friendly and attentive and I mean, the breakfast alone is worth staying for!

27 Boxes

The idea behind 27 Boxes was to create a unique market place. The "mall" consists of 27 containers that each houses a shop. Jewellery, artwork, food, candles, you name it! I love the concept and it's a very interesting place to spend a morning or an afternoon. There is also a big restaurant (I'm not sure if that counts as a container!) called The Countess where we ate on our fist day there.

The restaurant is really beautiful and reminds me of Truth Coffee in Cape Town with all the dark walls and the steampunk decor. Their menu contains many interesting combinations for both drinks and food. The restaurant was unfortunately having an off-day on the day we decided to go, as nothing seemed to go right. They didn't have the craft beer in stock that was supposed to come with the burger special, we waited over an hour for our food, my husband's burger patty was a bit dry, and my brisket (although tasty overall) was extremely fatty. The waitress did apologise for the inconvenience and offered us milkshakes on the house (FYI - the strawberry and basil shake is out of this world!). I don't believe in holding a grudge against a restaurant for one bad experience, so I'll definitely go there again on another occasion, preferably when they're not so busy.

Rubi Coffee Bar

Another little gem is the Rubi coffee bar. Here you can get pretty much any type of coffee drink you like. Everything is fresh and delicious and the barista even roasts his own coffee right there! I had a medium-size cappuccino for around R20 and it was one of the best capps I've had in a while!

7th Street, Melville

This is the heart and soul of Melville and is the street where everything happens. The street is lined with restaurants, bars, and even a bakery and a bookshop. There truly is something for everyone. We weren't sure how safe it would be to walk (it's safe), but we chose to take an Uber each night for dinner. As we were so close it costs us R20 a side (that's the absolute minimum an Uber can cost you).

Hell's Kitchen 

Hell's Kitchen is perfect for a night out on the town: either to start your night, or to end it. There were a lot of people our age and I immediately felt at home. The decor is very, very cool, and the music is right up my alley. They have quirky art on the walls and there's one framed black and white photo of Johnny Depp and Keith Richards (I think it's KR, to be honest I only had eyes for JD) that I just want to take home. Hell's Kitchen have their own beer, Hell's Lager, and their own cinnamon-laced whisky called Hell Fire. It sounds awful but it tastes amazing! Much later that night we got hungry and ordered the bacon and cheese pizza which was surprisingly yummy for bar food!

 La Santa Muerte

This Mexican restaurant has to be my favourite place that we went to the entire weekend. La Santa Muerte ("holy death") is next door to Hell's Kitchen (they share owners and, by the looks of it, most other things!). The decor is edgy and cool although I didn't take any photos as we sat "outside" in a courtyard-type place almost between the two restaurants. The food here is unbelievable. I would drive all the way there from Pretoria just for dinner. My husband had the pulled chicken nachos (it was an enormous portion) and I had the pulled pork tacos. Oh. My. Word. And if the main meal wasn't delicious enough, we ordered churros to share for dessert. Churros are basically long thin doughnuts that you dip in warm melted chocolate. We've had churros in Madrid, Spain (the home of churros) and let me tell you, this is totally comparable. La Santa Muerta's churros are a bit more "spongy" and thick, but they are delicious! Churros are always served with a hot chocolate sauce, but here they gave us a little something extra... I couldn't stop eating the pale custard (I still dream about it) which was made with the Hell Fire whisky from next door.

If you're reading this it means that you've read all the way through, thank you! I hope you enjoyed hearing about our long weekend, please join me on Thursday for the second part. Have you ever been to any of these places? Can you recommend anything? Please let me know!

Until next time!


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