Melville is one of those Jozi suburbs that has a story behind it. Mention Melville in a group of people and one of them is bound to smile as they recall a night out that is partially forgotten due to a multitude of circumstances. However, when I did move up to Jozi, I was told Melville was in decline. It had changed from this hippy-but-not-really suburb to one that started to enjoy the infamous Jozi crime and white line culture. Nevertheless, looking back, I do remember a particular night where my friend and I blagged our way into this new club, stayed for five minutes and somewhere along the line, we was in Roxy’s. Yeah, go figure.
Anyway, we aren’t too interested in the crazy Melville. Melville is famous for its pizza. One of the longer running establishments in the Melville district is Ant Café. I would say their speciality is the fantastic pizza that they make. The coffee here is said to be superb but I prefer the pizza. The pizza is created in a wood-fired oven and served unto you on (rather hygienic) pieces of bark (well, plain old wooden serving boards) and has the taste of some food fit for a Greek god. The pizzas are thin. Like seriously thin.
On Monday night, there is a pizza special where any of the pizza’s on the menu cost under R40. A large pizza for that price is really good. Being seriously thin, we normally order a single pizza for a single person although if you aren’t that hungry, it could be okay for two. I do have my favourites but in all honesty, check out the menu and order whatever looks good to you. Be adventurous – the pizza’s are really good so you aren’t going to go wrong with any choice you make.
The vibe at Ant is very mellow. I think the word is bohemian but I’ve never been to bohemia so I can’t truly say. The music is down tempo 60s and 70s with a dash of modern, contemporary, chilled vibes being thrown in. It’s frequented by quite a few foreigners and what looks like older students. There is a different feeling there than a trendy, indie type establshment. It’s also not really a purely student hangout. I think an important factor that contributes to it is the décor. Just take a look for yourself…
When to go: Ant has the great vibe every day but I suggest going there on a Monday evening. There are a limited number of tables so I suggest maybe going at around 19:00 especially if your group is fairly large. If there is a queue for tables, you can always check out the second-hand bookshop adjacent to Ant. Ant is apparently the smallest restaurant in Melville. They do now have tables outside in the back but this is strictly for summer. We were frozen solid when we went in mid-winter and attempted to sit outside.
How to get there: Ant is situated on 7th Street in Melville. From the M1, turn towards Emmarentia/Wits (not towards Hillbrow) and keep driving on Empire Road till you get to Lothbury Road. Turn right. Ant should be about a kilometre up that road.
Cost: Pizza costs about R40. You will need to buy one per person. Drinks aren’t that cheap with the house wine costing R100. If you are on a budget, do ask what the price of the wines is. They don’t have a wine list – but if you want wine, walk up to the wine rack and choose as you please. I think that’s pretty cool. Also, they do not take cards so ensure you have cash. There is a Standard Bank ATM up the road.
Anything Else: Leave your patience at home and just enjoy being transported to this place you’d never think would exist in Jozi. Just a few kilometres away lies Africa’s economic hub yet here you are, existing in this extremely chilled out bistro where all your worries seem way too complex for the world and all you need to do is just chill and just be.