The first Melissa’s store in Gauteng — with its self-service deli, buffet table and table service — is airy, open-plan, with floor-to-ceiling windows, raw facebrick walls, wooden tables and custom-made Oregon pine shelving.
The shop’s opening last Wednesday was a who’s who of the Gauteng gastronomic scene. And by Saturday morning the place was packed.
Named after one of its owners, Melissa van Hoogstraten, it offers an à-la-carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, cakes and coffee and snacks.
“We are a small, intimate operation and the food and people are not pretentious,” said Melissa’s senior buyer, Deon van Wyk. “We know what makes great food.”
Melissa’s opened its first store in Cape Town’s Kloof’s Street in 1996 and now boasts eight stores in the Western Cape.
It has more than 300 lines of beverages, biscuits, condiments, dressings, vinegars, reductions, as well as jams, marmalades, rubs and dukkahs.
But with the holidays on their merry way, the best place to start would be the Christmas fruitcakes. Also check out the fig flowers — which are slightly juicy dried figs — and the liquorice and chocolate nougats, which, in a mix of the French and Italian nougat styles, are not too hard and not too soft.
Light summer meals, such as its crunchy, innovative salads; a wrap with slow-roasted beef with goat’s cheese, dates and pine nuts; Thai fishcakes; and open-toasted rye with smoked salmon trout, cream cheese and caper salsa are available as a sit-down lunch or as a takeaway and range in price from R42 to R58.
Melissa’s has a neighbourly approach and it has fresh, sourdough bread baked in a wood-fired oven, croissants and herb and olive loaves on offer every day. Once you are done with the basics, take your pick of the cakes, tarts, salads, boboties, lasagnes, dips and patés that are produced daily on the premises.
Whether you eat in or take away, Melissa’s will have you feeling all homey inside.
Melissa’s Parkhurst, 38 4th Avenue, Parkhurst. Visit melissas.co.za or call 021 888 2999.