Thursday, 26 August 2010

Restaurant review: Munch, in Parktown North

As a point of principle, a while ago I refused to go to the Twigs restaurant at the Garden Centre on the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue at the lower side of Rosebank – even though it has one of the nicer kiddies’ playgrounds in a restaurant near my home. The food was good when they got your order right, but the service was indifferent at best and shocking at worst. Apart from my own bad experiences, I could no longer deal with my husband’s grumpiness about the place, as it was his orders that they seemed to mess up the most. 

So when I saw that the restaurant had changed to Munch, I took a deep breath and arranged to meet my friend and her grandlets there on Saturday afternoon. What a pleasant surprise! 

The covered patio now goes around two sides of the building, and the décor is mostly white with touches of lilac. All very elegant, and very Parktown North. The menu is much smaller, but I think that allows the chef to be more focused. The hamburgers are still to die for, the roasted butternut and beetroot salad special was hearty and tasty, and my friend’s fish and chips looked outstanding. They still have the pizza oven, and although pizzas are not on the menu, it seems that they have pizza specials each day according to inspiration or available ingredients. 

Munch also has a kiddies’ menu, with classics like toasted sarmies, fish fingers and baby pizzas (which looked big enough to satisfy my appetite) – basic food, but the kind of food that little people love. 

The staff are interested, attentive and friendly, although it took a lot of waving to attract enough attention to get the bill. 

Main courses for adults are between R50 and R70 per plate on average, while the children’s food is around R30 per portion. 

The good: The playground has been updated a bit, and is still a huge hit with the littlies. 
The bad: There isn’t a bad – we had a great time, ate good food, and look forward to going back. 
The ugly: The loos are still dingy, dark and far away from the restaurant, and there are still no changing facilities to cater for littlies with junk in their trunk. 
* I have since learned that the toilets belong to the nursery, which refuses to upgrade them. Shame on them! Have you got any ideas on how the restaurant can get around this? My thought is for them to find a nook and set up a changing station with a changing mat, wet-wipes and handwash for moms, somewhere in the restaurant. Not sure how that would sit with the health guys though - but it's worth investigating. If you've got any ideas, post them below, I'll forward them on.
** This review was originally written for JoziKids

Shameless promotion of a fundraising event.

So, about four years ago, I was invited to join the most phenomenal group of women. Calling themselves Third Thursday, the group was comprised mostly of part-time working moms who met once a month (no prizes for guessing when) to plot and scheme ways to make a difference in the world. LeadSA, long before 702 came up with the idea, if you'll forgive the indulgence. 

In our time, we've raised funds for Habitat for Humanity (two houses worth, actually), the LEAP School for Maths and Science Excellence for pupils from Alexandra, the Tsolofelo Baby Sanctuary on the West Rand, and various other schools, creches and children's homes, on a smaller scale. We've done it through hosting events with appealing speakers, from futurist Graeme Codrington to Ruda Landman, Debora Patta and Deshun Deysel, South Africa's leading female mountain climber. 

When we raise funds for a charity, we give them every penny of profit once the costs (such as catering) have been paid. Nothing disappears into the 'admin' that is the black hole of so many worthy causes. And our leader used to be the Head of Treasury at Nedbank - so she knows how to do things right. 

We beg, borrow but definitely don't steal to get amazing sponsorships for prizes to say thank you to our guests. We've been sponsored by Bill Harrop, Lion Sands, Clarins, Clico Guest House, Ina Paarman and numerous others (who I hope won't be offended that I'm not listing them all for fear of making this post too long).

This year, we decided to go BIG. We're hosting a dinner event at the Indaba Hotel on 13 October, and our speaker is Gill Marcus. Yes, the Gill Marcus that's the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the one that's been at the helm of ABSA, the one that was one of the leading lights in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. She's talking about the shoes that she's filled in her career, because the charity that we're supporting this year is the Big Shoes Foundation, of whom Judge Edwin Cameron is a patron. (He was going to be joining us, but rather inconveniently has to attend the St Mary's Valedictory Service that evening). 

Here's where the shameless promotion comes in. We've got 450 tickets to sell, at R500 per ticket. That gets you an evening with one of South Africa's brightest woman achievers, a three course meal, an opportunity to network with some pretty amazing people, and the chance to contribute to a charity that is making a difference in the lives of children who don't have anyone to stand up for them. 

We'd love you to come. We'd love your whole family to come. We'd love you to ask your company to take a table (or two or three) of 10, to say thank you to you for a job well done this year - and to show that they care about the future of some very special children. We've got some great prizes for lucky draws, and we've got some wonderful items up for auction. 

So. Click right here to tell Helen how many seats you want to book. She'll get back to you with more details. 

C'mon. You know you wanna!

Monday, 9 August 2010

If we met in real life...

So, I'm not one for memes, but I like this one that I found on The Gypsy Mama's blog, and I like it. So, here are my thoughts - please comment and leave yours, even if we have met in real life already!

If we met in real life:
- You'd see just how much I love my boys, and how proud I am of my husband.
- You'd find that it takes me a while to come up with smart things to say. Much easier to do so when you can plot your 140 characters before you blurt them out!
- You'd see my flashing my nails. My very not-real nails that really make me feel like a lady, but that are just so not tough enough to be at the fingertips of my life.
- You'd understand that family is so important to me.
- You might find that I'm bitterly angry about a couple of things at the moment. Some things that were total accidents, some things where the Stupid People just don't seem to get it.
- You would get a lengthy explanation of the tragedy of not being able to choose your in-laws. One of mine is great. The other one? How long have you got?
- You'll see that I'm a jeans-and-Tshirt kind of girl. But I do love stilettos and dressing like a smart, sassy woman.
- You'll learn that I don't do war movies, or slapstick comedy.
- You'll figure out that I'm not nearly as tech literate as you might think I am. I kind of get the tech by osmosis from my resident Alpha Geek, and I play with the toys, but asking me about the really hardcore stuff? You'll get a blank look from me, followed by "You should ask Brett".
- If you get to taste my cooking or baking, you'll learn that I'm pretty good at it. I don't do recipes much, and although I have all the Jamie Oliver books, I hardly use them. Unless it's for a bit of inspiration.
- You'll learn that my best friends are guys, and that they're now scattered to the four winds. One of them passed away nearly six years ago, and I still miss him.
- You'll get smartly told that no, we will not be trying for a girl next. See: Two arms - one for each boy. If you can figure out how to give me a third arm, I'll consider a third child. Maybe.
- You'll be told that I should have been writing an iPad review for @ExMi instead of writing this. Sorry, @ExMi!