Hanging out in Melville

One of the reasons we selected this particular AirBnB was its location in Melville. I had read that this was the happening, Boho area of Johannesburg. Given that we had arrived in the city with little by way of concrete plans, it was surprising to realise that we had been so busy that we hadn’t yet spent much time locally. We decided to fix that on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, we ate in a little Italian restaurant, Cafe Picobella just a couple of blocks away in 4th Avenue at 5th Street but we had previously driven down 7th Street which is the hub of Melville’s restaurant and bar area. We decided that we would start the day with brunch there.

After the overnight storms, the day had dawned bright, clear and hot. We walked up to 7th Street and strolled up and down to see what grabbed our attention before settling on Bread and Roses where I enjoyed an omelette with smoked salmon and cream cheese and Ishbel went for the steak and eggs.

IMG_0698 2The restaurants attract a lot of people from all over Johannesburg, not just the locals. The influx of people inevitably attracts street vendors as well. Our eye was caught by these ladies selling baskets.

IMG_0693 2After brunch, we had a short wander but the temperature was already up in the 30s, so we headed back to relax at the apartment. We’re pretty much down to two meals a day at the moment, and that’s particularly true after such a large breakfast so we took some time to review our Soweto photos from the previous day, had some communications with friends and family back home, and played our instruments for a while.

In the early evening, we decided we would venture out again to find a dinner venue. Again we strolled up 7th Street but we were sold on Poppy’s by the sound of cool jazz music floating out of it. We managed to grab a pavement table that allowed us to hear the music and see the band.

IMG_2982 It turns out that these three cats had all played in Hugh Masakela‘s band. Masakela was known as the father of South African jazz and built a global reputation as a musician. When he was a young man playing jazz in South Africa, Louis Armstrong sent him one of his own trumpets as a gift. He died at the start of 2018, but Ishbel and I were lucky enough to have seen him play in Brighton a few years ago. He was wonderful. As you can imagine, stumbling across musicians of this quality in a neighborhood restaurant in Johannesburg was a rare and unexpected treat for us.

We enjoyed our meals accompanied by a couple of pints of Soweto Gold then, after the band had finished, made our way home at the end of our most laid-back day of the trip so far.

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