Author Archives: thato.mokhou

Dreaming of a Narina Trogon in Braamfontein

The perfect setting for a quiet lunch where the bustling streets are muted can be found in the heart of Braamfontein. Narina Trogon, a sophisticated and stylish restaurant has a subtle presence in the part of the city that is constantly buzzing with student activity. Our lunch was drizzled with a silent magic that exists within this uniquely designed restaurant.

Meticulously curated, it reflects the ideas of its owner. American-born Carlyn Zehner, an art curator by trade, who moved to Johannesburg in 2006.After decades of living in New York City and London, she brought into fruition her dream of owning a restaurant. She has put much care into every detail from glassware, furniture, lighting fixtures right down to the salt cellars and teapots.

81 De Korte Street is the home of Narina Trogon, a perfect location for passers-by keen to grab a quick coffee or light lunch however, not ideal for guests planning to graze all day as parking along the street is limited. We eventually found parking – which tested my parallel parking skills to the maximum!

The restaurant’s striking green mosaic facade and wide-street side windows welcomed us into a blendof urban renewal with a strong design ethos. We made our way into the main dining room which seats up to 80 people. The venue also consists of a small courtyard and two smaller dining areas, which, with retractable glass screens can be converted into private or conference spaces. Continue reading

Be mesmerized by the Mosaiek

For the working folk, Saturday is the best day of the week. One gets to sleep in. See friends; do some shopping; have a long, slow coffee. Feel good about life, the universe and, if not everything, at least most things. An event that certainly left us feeling good was the Metro FM African Masquerade hosted at the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

Three of the country’s most soulful artists, Kabomo, Unathi and Zonke graced the stage of the state of the art venue in celebration of Metro FM’s 26th birthday. Themed “African Masquerade”, people from every corner of the country poured into the sophisticated Teatro wearing masks and fashionably dressed.

Adjacent to the Teatro is a smaller sized venue, Viaticus, which was prepared as the VIP lounge for guests to mingle and enjoy an African cuisine before the start to the musical extravaganza. It was already half full when we arrived with couples occupying most of the couches. The bar was lined up with inviting drinks – of course we helped ourselves to one or two.

Sounds of Unathi and Kabomo’s music flowed through speakers as the lounge gradually filled up and conversations got us in the mood. At 7pm, an upbeat house song invited people into the main theatre were magic would soon ignite. Guests gathered in the spacious foyer, some stood at the front desk to collect their complimentary tickets. Continue reading

Saving Rietvlei for a Summer’s Day

Johannesburg is a city with limited entertainment resources. This densely populated hub leaves one to choose between malls and public parks for any form of amusement – especially for children. While a coastal destination would make an ideal alternative, a drive to the Rietvlei Zoo Farm easily ignites the excitement in anticipation of warmer Summer days.

September 1 marked the beginning of Spring and our enthusiasm as mothers led us to pack our babies and picnic baskets into our cars and spend the day in the outdoors- to Rietvlei Farm, the perfect place for family picnics, provides vast space for chairs, tables, gazebos and picnic blankets.

Situated in the south of Johannesburg on Swartkoppies Road, the farm offers boundless recreation. It receives an influx of visitors during the hottest months of Summer when the grass is beautifully green, the flowers have blossomed and the trees are renewed. The first day of Spring came with great disappointment as the farm was not ready yet to host visitors. The wind was harsh sending dry and flaky grass into our neatly packed baskets. Trees were still dull and the rest of the farm looked arid and barren. It seemed we were too eager for the warmth of Spring.

Nonetheless we salvaged what we could and made the most of the day. The tail end chills of Winter prompted us to steal an unoccupied lapa that became the best solution to keeping the children warm. Continue reading

A wedding with a Vaal River view

An hour long drive to the Vaal River from Johannesburg seemed endless and the excitement could not be contained as we anticipated the celebration of my sister’s wedding. The sky was overcast and the wind was relentless but we were determined to commit to all the festivities.

A convoy of cars snaked along the N1S highway towards Bloemfontein. After driving through the Grasmere Tollgate the open road led the way to one of Sasolburg’s diverse venues. Situated on the banks of the Vaal River, Riverside Beach Club is a paradise for boat lovers and water skiers who have access to over 60 km of waters.

The 70 hectare nature and game farm also offers camping and lapa facilities for private functions. The largest Gemsbok lapa seating a maximum of 200 people was prepared to serve as the reception venue for my sister’s wedding. White draping with fairy lights covered the ceiling and the floor was covered with crisp white Tiffany chairs and white-clothed tables. Crystal centre pieces were delicately placed alongside pearl balls and mirrored flower boxes. This Gemsbok lapa was transformed to fulfil the bride and groom’s wedding dream.

A sign welcoming guests to the boat club appears along a narrow driveway leading to the main area of the farm. One can also see many rows of boat locker facilities. The club has one of the largestboat locker rentalfacilities on the Barrage Reservoir however; it is only members who have access to boat locker facilities that can enjoy more than 1kmof privateriver frontage and additional facilities. My uncle is one of these members and it is his boat that transported me, the bride and groom, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids across the river to the smaller lapa where anexcited congregation waited for the bridal party. Continue reading

Finding your Bliss in the city

While meandering through a series of specialty boutiques, restaurants and art galleries at 44 Stanley Avenue in Milpark, you will find Bliss, an oasis that offers an opportunity to escape the hurried streets of Johannesburg and recharge before launching back again.

Nestled in the serenity of 44 Stanley, this chic and sophisticated lounge serves to offer an atmosphere of bliss from the doorstep. Black and pink boutique chairs stand decorative against crisp white walls and floors. Inspirational quotes written on a chalkboard encourage guests to live the bliss experience through the tapas-style meals, sushi and cocktail offerings on the menu.

Classy patterns and brightly coloured cushions adorn the corners of this upmarket restaurant. Owner, Katleho Tsoku joined the 44 Stanley community 2 years ago when she opened her doors to embark on an unknown journey. She says her sense of style caters to a particular niche. The look and feel of Bliss is unique to her and resembles nothing else found on the streets of Johannesburg. Continue reading