I am not a big fan of coffee shop chains, be it Starbucks, Barrista, Cafe Nero and their likes. I like them but if given a choice, I would always opt for a stand-alone, local coffee shop. I find these more intimate and more reflective of the native culture. These places seem to exude more warmth, are more friendly and have a certain vibe that’s lacking in the big commercial establishments. Its the same feeling I get from bookstores. I abhor the big, commercial chains where everything is neatly labelled and every section clearly marked. I prefer the organised chaos of small shops, piled high with books, where one has to literally sift through hundreds of books to find what one’s looking for. The new-age bookstores just don’t do it for me. They don’t even smell of books!
Always on the look-out for local stores, when I recently heard about this coffee shop in the east rand (eastern Johannesburg), I had to check it out. It’s aptly named ‘The Red Door Cafe‘ – they actually named the cafe after they found the red doors for it!
Located just off-the main street in Edenvale, this corner coffee shop is easy to miss if you are not actually looking for it. I reached there around lunch time and a helpful car guard (these people are found all over Joburg and they help you park and look after your car in exchange for tips, which are discretionary) pointed out a spot. There are only a few parking bays marked and you may have to park off-the-road in case these are full but that should not be a problem as its a quiet street.
Once inside, I realised that the coffee shop also housed a boutique selling knick-knacks like scarves, candles, home fragrances and a lot of other decorative items for the house. I quickly browsed through as I was more interested in my lunch and coffee!
The cafe was not very busy, when I arrived and I could choose to sit anywhere. Being a nice, sunny day, I decided to sit outdoors. The interiors of the coffee shop portrayed an old rustic charm with old mirrors and photo frames adorning the walls. There was a fireplace at one end of the room, set against a nice red brick wall. The lamp above the main bar/counter area was very interestingly made with inverted coke bottles. The main counter itself was a colorful mess of jars filled with candy, fudge and cookies with the day’s menu displayed on a large chalkboard behind the counter. In all, the decor was very charming.
The menu did not offer a very wide range of choices but that’s because they change it every now and then, to keep it more exciting. Other than offering breakfast options, the lunch menu consisted of alternatives such as fish & chips, quiche of the day, wraps, salads, prego rolls, burgers etc.
I ordered a cappuccino and chicken trinchado – a classic Portuguese dish, that came with a freshly baked roll and home-made chips. I wasn’t disappointed. The coffee was great and the trinchado was rich and mildly spicy. The nachos and salad on the neighbouring table looked quite delectable too. Something to try on my next visit!
The Red Door Cafe
Address: 26, 5th Ave,(Cnr 5th & 2nd street),Edenvale
Mon – 7am – 2pm
Tue – Fri, 7am – 4pm
Sat – 8am – 2pm