04 Mar Eating in Parkhurst.
‘Here is your Texan cappuccino.’
A slight, brown-haired waitress puts down a soup bowl filled with steaming coffee and a layer of thick foam swimming on the top. The Texan cappuccino served at Espresso, situated in Parkhurst the capital of Johannesburg’s food culture, is the biggest cup of caffeine I have ever seen. It is approximately the diameter of my face and the saucer holds petite biscotti in comparison.
First established in 1904, 4th Avenue is one of Johannesburg’s most popular streets for food and craft beer, and opened its first antique shop in the 1930s. Since the first coffee shop on 4th avenue opened its doors in the mid 90s, this road brags itself as one of the first to offer street-side dining in Johannesburg. As antique shops closed down, the restaurant culture grew. Now, 4th Avenue has an array of cuisine from Coobs, Hudsons, YuMe, Melissa’s, Rocket, and the good old Jolly Roger to couture fashion shops, spaza shops and second-hand bookshops.
It is a Sunday morning, and it has just turned 9 o’clock, and restaurants are already full. Espresso is our second choice of restaurant after starting a line at Vovo Telo further down. Espresso is owned by the Hinis family – they are Greek, so the food is good without a doubt, and apparently they know how to serve a cappuccino that doesn’t play around.
The sun pours down and I am forced to take my winter jacket off, shadows dance across the street and conversations bleat around me. It’s quiet as I walk up towards 4th, and it is as if I have passed through a veil, the world seems to ignite with calls of hello, kids screaming, dogs barking and the hiss of coffee machine’s make this street come alive.
I am sipping on my gargantuan coffee. Or should I say us. This is a social breakfast. I am a stay-in-bed-on-a-Sunday kind of girl, but with the lure of a giant coffee in my hands, my friend Francois has made this adventure so worth it. Francois lives just off 10th avenue, which is down the road from where we are sitting and also happens to be my parking lot when I visit Parkhurst.
I can’t say I am a huge fan of Parkhurst, purely because parking is an absolute nightmare. I always find that bribing a car guard usually works, but usually I have to park five or six blocks away from where I am meeting anyone.
A group of five runners trot past the restaurants entrance, a family with two big golden retrievers walk by, and a woman, in a black Jaguar, parallel parks on the opposite end of the street. It’s a busy street for a Sunday morning.
4th avenue is so popular that even a reservation on a Friday night might cost you a limb. Filled to the brim with up and coming entrepreneurs, after-work drinkers, hipsters, students, runners, families and coffee lovers. This street has an ambiance that can’t compare to anything I have seen, this is the refreshing visit you have been looking for – whatever your tastes, needs, or wants, 4th Avenue Parkhurst will be sure to cater – even if it is for the Texan Cappuccino.