Simply resistable food
As despicable as the word "eatery" is, it can be applied to Daleahs in Johannesburg's Braamfontein.
The menu takes the middle road – there are no sweeping views or dangerous curves, a little like driving to Bloemfontein. This, however, does not seem to put off the crowds of people who squeeze themselves into the place, and there is often a wait for one of the dozen or so tables.
This is perhaps because the restaurant is a large room with a high ceiling, big windows, exposed brick walls and quirky ornaments, comfy chairs and a few big wooden tables that somehow make the place seem full of promise and you expect to get a great meal. If only the owner had invested as much effort in the menu as the décor.
The menu is chalked up on the wall above a bar and, as I have said, is middling. For breakfast, there are omelettes (R55) and French toast (R55). Otherwise there are sandwiches and an awful lot of chicken – chicken salad (R65), chicken skewers (R70), stuffed chicken (R65) and chilli chicken sandwich (R65).
I had the veggie sandwich of cottage cheese, olives and baby tomatoes on rye (R60) which was, well, middling and a little tasteless. Where was the home-made chilli sauce? A few pickles? A bit of mustard? A slice of roasted courgette?
It came with good chips, though, in a small wire basket, with a few leaves of undressed, limp rocket.
There are also sliders (miniature burgers – the beef is R70) and a few pasta dishes, which are, again, perfectly inoffensive – a napoletana sauce with baby tomatoes costs R60 and there is another with chicken. There is also a "veg" soup for R45.
Everything seems to be served on boards – even the scrambled eggs.
Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I dislike eating my food off a board; it's a little messy and the food keeps falling off it. I also wondered whether the board was clean. I get the whole rustic farm kitchen thing but a plate does the job perfectly well – and has done for a long time.
The hungry in Braamfontein would do better to try the Love Food Café around the corner in Ameshoff Street where more care is taken with the preparation and presentation of food.
Daleahs , 6 De Beer Street, Braamfontein. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays. Phone 011 403 0243