I love that Joburg has a huge restaurant and café culture. Which is great since one of my favourite hobbies is eating. There is a rise in high streets all over Joburg, filled with boutique stores, restaurants, pharmacies, bookstores and more. But what I love more is signature little cafes and bistros that you won’t find anywhere else. Not the usual franchise places, although every once in a while it’s wonderful to go to a familiar place no matter where you are in South Africa, never mind the world: hello McDonalds.
Today I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite places to eat. Hidden at the end of a busy 4th Avenue in Parkhurst, Nice on 4th caught my eye the day I drove past looking for a little something different. I was immediately drawn to one particular piece of furniture: the old wooden chairs. They were the exact ones my late grandmother had in her house. I was so stunned by this, this personal attachment I already had to a place I hadn’t even sat down in yet. From that moment on I have loved Nice on 4th. It’s my go to place whenever anyone from outside of Joburg asks where to go, and I can’t wait to brag about how I simply adore the chairs. Yes, the chairs!
The moment you walk through the doors there is such an overwhelming welcoming and homely feeling. It’s a few things etched together to seamlessly create the perfect home-away-from-home environment. With my grandmother’s wooden chairs aside, it’s the rich warm aroma from the open plan kitchen where you can literally see your food being made; the display counter with freshly baked goods; it’s the bookshelves and pot plants along the sides of the walls; it’s the dainty vintage crockery and cutlery; and the always pleasant waiters (I’ve yet to have a bad experience.)
There’s always an array of people coming in and out. There’s business meetings, and book clubs, there’s birthday parties, and coffee catch ups. While the up tempo jazz plays in the background there’s always a smooth, happy vibe about the place. And this tends to spill outside to the eating area just on the edge of the pavement. I’m not the only one who thinks this place is a hit, as there’s never a time that I’ve been and it’s empty.
On the morning I wrote this, I decided to visit Nice once again, just to relive all my favourite parts about the place. Much to my disappointment, it seemed my adored old wooden chairs, were slowly making their way out. They only occupied the outside eating area, while the inside had newly white painted ones, and other cushioned chairs. But really, the place has already stolen my heart, so it can’t do much wrong.
Although it was breakfast time, I had been wishing for their mini steak pies, served with roast potatoes and veggies, drizzled with balsamic. And much to my happiness, the kitchen had just made some, even though I was a half hour early to the lunch menu. I’ve been to Nice so many times I think I’ve pretty much tried everything on the menu. The crumpet stack with 3 layers filled with mascarpone, bacon and strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup is another favourite. I love how the menu is simple with no frills. You get what you ordered and it’s not overpowered in tons of garden all over your plate.
Nice on 4th, is such a hidden gem, that’s both cozy and warm, but also trendy. There is such a broad age range of people who enter through the doors.
If you haven’t already realized, I would definitely recommend Nice on 4th.