Hot Spot: Corner cafe where everyone feels like a good neighbour
What makes a neighbourhood really great to live in? A DVD store with arty titles? A nearby laundry, or a bottle store with a late licence?
For me there's something far more important - something that elevates an area from the liveable to the lovely: the neighbourhood cafe. This is the place you can shuffle into, wearing slippers, when you're hung over on a Saturday morning, or where you can have boisterous afternoon catch-ups with friends.
It's a place where there are friendly smiles, the barista knows how you like your coffee, the Wi-Fi is fast and the food is reasonably priced but special.
Red Sofa Cafe, in the city bowl suburb of Vredehoek, is such a place: cosy and comfortable (and, yes, there's a massive red sofa), with hanging plants and a red-brick wall. Light floods in through wide windows; there's also a stoep for sunny days (and dogs).
Restaurant manager Tabitha Guy's breakfast menu has something for everyone - winter oats or yoghurt, and fruit for those who are well-behaved; a plate of bacon or a banana and Nutella croissant for those who aren't.
The Effing Delicious (spring onion scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, brie, rocket and avocado on sourdough rye) is exactly that.
Lunch time is equally good. The spicy chicken and avocado wrap (R55) is perennially popular for good reason -it's feisty and fresh, with a hint of creaminess from the avocado and cumin mayo. The cheeseburger (R65) has a homemade - and very beefy - patty and sweet potato wedges. Enjoy it with a craft beer (there's a whole bunch available, including CBC Amber Weiss and Darling Brew) for R85.
You won't get death stares from the staff if you've been nurturing your de luxe flat white for too long. But Guy's legendary cheesecake (easily one of the best in the city) pulls adherents from far afield.
- Red Sofa Cafe, corner of Exner and Derry streets, Vredehoek: 021-461-7274, www.redsofacafe.co.za