Best-kept Secrets

Four new or interesting places to eat, stay and shop.

Yuppiechef

NEW BRICKS & MORTAR STORE - Cape Town

Yuppiechef – New bricks & mortar store; The Midlands Kitchen – New farm-fresh food pitstop; The Little Church Llandaff Oratory – Quaint tea garden & gift shop; Woolly Bugger Farm – Secret trout-fishing country escape

The revolutionary site that, in 2006, put the “yuppie” into the purchase of cool kitchen gadgets, is again revolutionising the retail space; but this time they seem to be moving backwards... but are they?

Twelve years ago, Yuppiechef launched their business selling the quirkiest and best-quality kitchen goods online. No brick and mortar shop with high rental and constant upkeep. Rather, it was simple, online e-commerce which blew the lid off retail in a big way. Then, late last year, Yuppiechef opened its first actual store in Cape Town – the first of a planned many.

Yuppiechef co-founder Andrew Smith said the new strategy was to create an “omnichannel”, which includes a combination of physical stores and e-commerce. E-commerce enabled Yuppiechef to start a retail business with no stock, staff or expensive rentals and was part of a pioneering industry in South Africa. But over the years, the company has learned that there will always be a need

for the old-fashioned shopping experience. Some people don’t want to simplify their shopping experience, they want an authentic experience.

<optional quote space-permitting>“Customers shouldn’t have to see Yuppiechef as either an online retailer or a physical store,” Smith said in a statement. “No channel has to win or lose. Instead, Yuppiechief is a single retail brand [and] customers should have the freedom to interact with us on their terms, whenever and wherever they are.”

This move from Yuppiechef followed closely in the footsteps of international online retail giant Amazon, which also opened a number of shops in the USA.

Willowbridge Centre, northern suburbs, Cape Town; 021 200 5935

The Midlands Kitchen

NEW FARM-FRESH FOOD PITSTOP - N3 Exit 132, KwaZulu-Natal

Those travelling to and from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal haven’t been spoilt for choice in the way of pitstops and food options, or anything new for that matter, in the last few decades. But now The Midlands Kitchen, just off the N3 exit 132 at Nottingham Road, is encouraging you to “come hungry”. It’s not surprising with its enormous building housing a host of restaurants with extensive big-town menus with ingredients which are “locally sourced, real ingredients”! There’s seating inside or out, on a veranda with a beautiful view beyond the N3.

Choose from Artichoke’s authentic vegan food (the Bhimtal Bowl, at R65, had our mouths watering!), 100% pure, made-by-hand Artisan Pies (est. 2017!) served with relish, El Tostada original Mexican, The Chicken Authority (organic and free range, of course), Falafel (a fusion of the Middle East and the Mediterranean), Mama Stellino’s photogenic authentic, artisanal woodfried pizzas (from R105 but with incredible gourmet toppings), Mr Biswa’s Durban Curry restaurant and The Burger & Butcher organic burgers. There’s also the Chef’s Harvest Table and The Earl of Sandwich with “everything between bread”!

And to drink? Exit 132 – Artisans of Coffee offers a variety of brews with interesting cup sizes: A Bull (500ml), A Cow (350ml) and A Calf (250ml), and A Rich One (full-cream milk), A Skinny One; plus Full Charge (caffeinated) and Half a Charge (decaffeinated)! For early birds, there’s the Breakfast Bar, Juice Brew to not wreck your diet on your first day away, and Wild Child Gelato, milkshakes, pancakes and waffles, with awesome flavours.

Add to this, rolling lawns for kids and dogs to stretch their legs (and designated “Doggy Poo Parlour” in a faraway corner), spacious clean bathrooms for the humans, and takeaways too for hasty Gautengers who haven’t yet had their holiday. There’s really no reason not to stop!

www.themidlandskitechen.co.za; 033 266 7046

The Little Church – Llandaff Oratory

QUAINT TEA GARDEN & GIFT SHOP - Van Reenen’s Pass, KwaZulu-Natal

You may have heard of, or even visited, the so-called “smallest church in the world” atop Van Reenen’s. While, in fact, it cannot lay claim to being the smallest in the world, it is the smallest in SA – and it’s the dinkiest little Roman Catholic oratory you’ve ever seen! Privately owned by Geraldine Johnstone, amazingly, you can hire it for weddings and other Christian services.

Its history is quite fascinating… built by an eccentric retired magistrate who later became a priest, in memory of his son, Llandaff Mathew, who lost his life in an endeavour to save the lives of other miners at Burnside Colliery near Natal on 19 March, 1925. His body was never recovered after another massive rockfall. The fully consecrated Roman Catholic church seats only eight – the number of lives, we’re told, Llandaff saved – so it’s an ideal venue for those with small families and minimal friends! It was declared a national monument in 1960.

Another noteworthy mention is the adorable tea garden (and antique gift shop with reception dining room alongside), with its delish homemade food, friendly owner-run service, and the magnificent view – great for wedding photos or quiet contemplation after your halfway stop, which makes for a refreshing change from the usual roadside offerings. Accommodation can also be sought out here at Llandaff Lodge and Mike’s Cottage.

www.littlechurch.co.za; 058 671 0106/072 156 1401

Woolly Bugger Farm

SECRET TROUT-FISHING COUNTRY ESCAPE - Tonteldoos, Mpumalanga

You might think this farm’s cool name originates from its pet-friendly policy, but if you’re headed to this part of the world for fly-fishing you’d know it’s, in fact, the name of a lure. But it’s not just the name that reeled us in, it’s the fact that at 7 kilometres outside Tonteldoos, and 22 kilometres due north of Dullstroom, this fantastic 270-hectare farm is far enough away from any real civilisation that you can walk extensively with your dogs, fish for giant trout or 4x4 to view sites overlooking spectacular expansive landscapes.

The luxury stone self-catering cottages are far enough apart to ensure solitude and tranquillity, with a fireplace inside and a braai outside. Guests can also utilise the lapa with braai, splash pool and ablutions. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or family gathering, Woolly Bugger Farm is just what you need to feel like a fish back in water!

Tonteldoos (meaning ‘tinder box’) is located in a peaceful valley near Dullstroom, a popular fly-fishing destination. Surrounded by farmlands, Tonteldoos town has a pub, a cheese farm, a country kitchen and a few places to stay.<ends>

www.woollybuggerfarm.co.za; 079 103 0949