I always get excited when I stumble across a new area with fantastic shops and restaurants, and right now, Linden has my attention. I spent Saturday morning walking along 7th Street, with its wonderful vintage shops, antique and decor stores and small market, then branching off the side roads, finding amazing coffee, cheese, salads, tapas and cupcakes.
We decided to make it a day of eating and turned down Third Avenue. First up was The Cheese Gourmet which is unbelievable. I don’t know why I’ve never been here before because this little shop is pure gold. As you walk in the smell is sensational – they have over 140 cheeses from 45 different South African cheese farms – as well as an amazing selection of olives, cured meats, jams and marmalades. We tasted a few cheeses, bought their signature Pepe Chalot (a French goats cheese), a tub of olives and a couple of ready made banting meals then forced ourselves to leave before it was too late. Not easy.
The Fat Zebra was next. We were just going to have coffee as they have an amazing retro coffee machine and we were told they have the best coffee in Jozi, but their menu was too delicious to resist. It’s real cafe style food and everything is cooked in the huge pizza oven. I had Tapas (the most delicious sticky ribs and peri peri chicken livers), my friend had the softest juciest fillet steak, and it was really hard not to try their desserts which looked fabulous. It wasn’t easy leaving here either with its great decor, atmosphere and food, but I decided there and then to make it a regular stop. Which I have – their breakfasts are scrumptious too.
And then right next door to The Fat Zebra (they almost share a stoep) is the unbelievable Oregano Catering. Oh. My. It’s a small unassuming shop from the outside but inside it is a bit of French heaven. The cakes! The meringues! They are predominantly a catering company but have a few small tables where you can enjoy cake and coffee. I had a slice of nougat cheese cake, my friend had a fig crunchie and the smell of chocolate brownies baking in the oven nearly killed us. We bought a few things to take home and carried on down the street.
Now fat and full, our arms laden with parcels, we were glad to have a bit of a walk. We made our way from Seventh and Third to Seventh and Fourth, which is where The Whippet is, together with the small boutiques and vintage stores. The Whippet was one of Linden’s first ‘trendy’ coffee shops and restaurants and their food is consistently good. It’s a very hip and happening place with a chilled atmosphere, delicious fresh food and dare I admit, the best milk tart in town. I will happily tell you that we shared it for fear of exploding
I’ve since learned that Linden was one of the original farms that Johannesburg was laid on, and the area was known for its fruit trees. A lot of those fruit trees still exist, and apparently some of the jams at The Cheese Gourmet are made from their very own trees. Pretty impressive.
So, Linden is definitely worth exploring and all of our Johannesburg Guesthouses are nearby. Make the trip. You’ll enjoy it.