Blandford without babies
The Wild Goose Cafe at Blandford Manor 106 Hyperion Drive, Northriding, Randburg Price: Affordable to mid-range Toasties without terror? Sunday lunch sans screaming? Such unthinkably simple pleasures can be found at Blandford Manor’s recently child-free Wild Goose Cafe in Northriding. I took a turn there this weekend after the release of their ode to childless cuisine – “Why no children at Blandford Manor?” – which went viral at the start of the month.
In case you missed the (at times, hilarious) 2 000-word letter in which owner Peter Chaldecott bemoans the “problem children” (and parents) of Johannesburg, it’s an insightful read that got Jozi’s loudest really going off at each other about what is, and isn’t, acceptable behaviour for parents and their little ones when dining out.
I am without children and have never really found that I get angry at a parent for the behaviour of their child – mostly because I don’t have that many interactions with people who have children, but also because, well, I once was one. Either way, I had to see what it could be like to sit in a park – Blandford is one of the few privately owned registered botanical gardens in the world – with only the calls of the resident geese to accompany my meal.
As I settled into the (surprisingly full) restaurant over a pot of rooibos tea and the signature buttery scones with cream and chunky strawberry jam, I noticed a suddenly apparent absence: of noise; of the concern over what you say; and of the nagging patience it requires to put up with unruly tykes and their parents.
The patrons gathered there seemed to acknowledge everyone else’s right to tranquillity and so, for that time over lunch, at least, Joburg was a place at peace.