A recent trip up to Jozi allowed me to enjoy a light lunch in Melrose Arch's new piazza. Being a Saturday, the place was heaving and restaurants were filling up fast. One of them was already absolutely packed though, and even had a decent queue of customers waiting outside for tables. Now, with the golden rule of never trusting an empty restaurant in mind, I figured the opposite must be true and clearly the locals knew something I didn't. I put our names on the list. Surely this was the spot? Surely it was worth the wait? Indeed it was.
Tasha's in Melrose Arch is the fourth restaurant in an already successful chain. (The others being in Atholl, Bedfordview and Morningside.) Each branch has its own design elements but the decor in each is noticeably better than your average coffee shop/deli experience. Melrose Arch has a breezy, neutral-coloured vibe offset by beautiful touches like vintage wood, stunning marble accents and feature chandeliers with hanging cutlery. The end result is a truly beautiful environment that is chic, but warm and inviting at the same time.
The approach to food is also far more sophisticated than comparative restaurants. I was there for lunch but with my weakness for a killer breakfast I had to have a look. As well as the normal stuff there were things like an omelette with brie, avo and olive tapenade. There were rostis with various toppings like baby marrows, salmon and caviar. French toast with emmentaler, ham, mustard and tomato chutney. Croissants with bananas and Nutella. Get the picture? Well...I was impressed anyway. But back to the reason we were there: lunch. The girls had couscous salads with chicken breast, shaved fennel, brocolli and goats cheese (R76) while I went for the steak sandwich (R58). Superman went for a prego roll made with fillet (R68) and chips. Everything was excellent. I was blown away by the diversity of the menu and if anything that would be my only fault with the place. They are trying to do much: hot dogs, tuna tartare, grilled sole with prawn and lemon butter, seared salmon, quesidillas, prawn pasta, tramezzinis, shnitzels and more! That said, if everything they produce is as good as the lunch we had then good luck to them. I just think with their classy look they could finesse the menu a bit. There is a small but satisfactory winelist, and even some good "by the glass" options.
Tasha's is a funky, well designed venue with good food. Absolutely perfect for sitting outside and doing some people-watching. I would welcome one to Cape Town with open arms and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the only one.
You can find Tasha's in Melrose Arch, shop 14, the piazza. Or call them on (011) 684-1781.