I like breakfast. So do the kids. My wife is not much of an egg person and prefers her superfood in the mornings, but she is partial to fresh fruit and sometimes enjoys scrambled eggs and salmon. We have been trying to have a regular family outing at least once or twice a month but it seems that even with the multitude of breakfast spots available in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, there are very few places capable of throwing an edible egg on a plate. Yip. You’d think it would be simple: eggs, toast, bacon, mushrooms, sausage, maybe a tomato or hash brown and a decent coffee. I struggle to understand how difficult some restaurants find serving a decent breakfast! I have never worked in a commercial restaurant so I can’t really profess to understand the logistics of a breakfast service at a popular place but I figure I sure as hell can tell when what I am being served is crap or not.
Take our most recent outing. I lugged the kids off to a big local mall to buy clothes (groan) and we chose a well-known Italian chain for breakfast to fuel up before the military manoeuvre. I don’t know about you but usually when you go to a brand name place (and an upmarket brand at that), you expect a certain level of service and quality. We have eaten at one of their other stores closer to home and sitting upstairs with a decent view seemed like it may be a pleasant start to the day. Tut tut, assumption number one crashes and burns. I should have figured that the rest was not going to live up to my expectations when my double espresso arrived in a double espresso glass but was only a single shot of some bitter tar scraped from the filter paper in the storeroom last night and the ice water accompanying it came in a dishwasher hot glass and was about the temperature of piss. I am a coffee snob so I can’t stand the crap some of these places offer as ‘coffee’ – I like it strong, black and aromatic. After about 30 minutes of the kids threatening to chew at the table legs (only 4 other tables occupied in the entire place so maybe they had to rear the chickens first), the scrambled eggs and bacon, over easy eggs and flapjacks and scrambled eggs and croissant arrived. Barely. The scrambled eggs were stuck to the bottom of the plates and had that dark dry skin covering them – obviously made three days in advance and left to dry out under the African sun like bokkoms. Thankfully the croissant had been re-incarnated by microwave resuscitation else I am sure my 5-year-old would have lost a tooth on its stale exterior – strange considering the bloody place is a bakery. The flapjacks tasted quite good but felt like they had been baked just prior to the invention of the wheel and rejuvenated shortly before arriving on my daughters plate. One look made me wonder if they would outlast the chips from that Supersize Me movie. The bacon had died in the 5am buffet at the local low-cost motel and was being recycled here before being sent off to flourish as mad pig disease later in the day. I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture. There was not a single redeeming quality about the entire place. No wait, I lie, the polished copper pizza oven is an impressive eye catcher as you walk in the door. I’d give the place a triple zero. Hint hint.
In hindsight, we should just have gone to Wimpy, it’s a fast food place but it does a passable breakfast that while not spectacular is usually ok for the kids and you can count on it being the same breakfast and same quality no matter which place you stop at.
I have eaten at 4 of their restaurants around Johannesburg and I have NEVER been disappointed. Not once. Not even the time when I discovered a little piece of steel wool languishing beside the delicious fried mushrooms accompanying my Tashas Classic. They took one look at the plate, replaced the entire breakfast, provided me with another espresso and did not charge me a cent. I’ve had a similar experience at another upmarket place and they treated me like I planted the bloody wire in the cooked egg and still made me pay for the meal without so much as an apology. My daughter loves Tashas Mini so much that she actually asks for breakfast like it’s a brand in itself. My son has defeated a toasted bacon and egg bigger than his head many times, much to the amusement of other patrons and we have never had cause to question the quality of the meal or service. It’s my go to place when I want more than a coffee and it’s great to meet others for a guaranteed pleasant experience that will not have you embarrassing your friends (and maybe yourself) when you feel you have to complain. I’ve tried their sandwiches (Tashas Panini is great) and pasta for lunch and never been disappointed. I suppose the only thing I have to say is that it’s such a great place that getting a seat can be a problem sometimes.
I’ve probably jinxed it now and I am sure you may have had your own experiences there and elsewhere but in my opinion, it’s the best place for breakfast in Johannesburg. By far.
ps. the featured image I used on this post is not from any of the restaurants mentioned, it’s from Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/antijoe/3218751495/).
pss. my closest Tashas is the one in Rosebank so most of my experience is from there.