For those living in the Republic of the Western Cape, or those seasoned visitors to Cape Town, you may be familiar with the Melissa’s brand – the quaint “home industry” style restaurant and shop, popular among the genteel of society. Well, thankfully, the recent upgrade to the lower parts of 4th Avenue Parkhurst sees Melissa’s introduction to the Jozi high society, but perhaps they had better understand their market’s expectations a little better.
To do an honest account of this establishment, it is perhaps better to rather break this article in two – the first part dealing with the store aspect, and the other dealing with the restaurant. Simply put, the two aspects allow for a “lovely experience” – as your mother or grandmother may describe it, an they certainly will not be alone here, for Melissa’s seems to be developing a cult following among women aged 34 – 85.
True to its style, the Melissa’s shop caters for those who wish to return to a time where home industries were common place, and promised fresher and more interesting varieties of good on offer. Make not mistake though, Melissa’s in not a small home industry store, but rather a growing stain capitalising on the emotional appeal of simpler times, and yes, we buy it hook, line and sinker. A quick walk through the farm style table displays and wooden shelves, shoppers are met by things last seem in 1983. The toasted coconut marshmallows, and jam in glass jars are particularly appealing to those who remember your mother or grandmother making these for school fetes. The reindeer biscuits were something of a surprise – no these are not biscuits for Reindeer’s, but rather biscuits made in the fashion of Reindeer faces. For those who have never seen a Reindeer – please don’t use these biscuits as a reference.
As for the restaurant, perhaps its popularity may be its downfall. Of all the locations where Melissa’s has opened, perhaps none are as well suited as Parkhurst. The sheer volume of waspish, upper class society folk, living a stones throw away from 4th Avenue in some of the most expensive properties (per square meter) in the country, will certainly keep Melissa’s busy for time to come. The manger even stated to me that their opening has been a wonderful success and that they are constantly busy. A good thing yes, but not for those of us who do not like to be kept waiting. The long queue for a table was followed by an equally long wait for the food to arrive – arriving at 09:00, we were seated by 09:25 and the food arrived at 09:50 ish. The food was good, not necessarily great, and certainly not worth the lengthy wait. My suggestion, if you want to come to Melissa’s for a bite, perhaps nibble on something before you leave home, or get here extremely early.