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February 7, 2020

 Voodoo Lily…A Little Bit of Magic

Voodoo Lily Cafe…the name itself paints an enticing picture, encapsulated in mystery and magic. As we wove our way through the few tables sprawling onto the walkway, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had teleported to another destination outside of Johannesburg.

A welcome haven from the heat, we were greeted by a friendly face who showed us to our table. Before I even sat down, something unusual caught my eye. Already I was enthralled as I made my way up to a large bookshelf. Smiling the waiter explained the concept of the free library they have: a beautifully contained space with large wingbacks and books that one can just take and return. The concept is a pleasant surprise and I’m reminded about the spirit of generosity…what you give without inhibition, you will receive much more of. Suddenly Voodoo Lily Cafe in heart of Illovo and little Wrenrose court has my heart before starters have been served.

The very ambience is charming. A 270-degree panel of glass doors invites warm natural light, complemented by beautiful, soft lighting within the café. Charming accents of green in the murals on the deck and the interior walls seem to seamlessly integrate with the large green trees lining the roads and the park across the way. The element of nature is further enhanced with the wooden theme making its way from the deck to the tables and of course, framed images of the famed Voodoo Lilies around the cafe.

When I finally made my way back to the table, I noticed the number of regular patrons…the Manager greeting them by name and people seeking him out in return to bid their farewells and give their compliments on the food. There are tangible energy and hum that draws you in, and yet a sense of tranquillity pervades. Take it from a mom and wife, it is massively impressive to have such an elegant setting that warmly welcomes families.

It’s clear this cafe is leaving an indelible mark on this community. Chatting to the manager, Dean, he confirms that Voodoo Lily Cafe has been conceptualised to be a space for the community, serving businesses and families around the leafy suburb, while providing a sophisticated dining experience. In my opinion, they have achieved precisely that.

There were couples delighting in another’s company at various tables. Families enjoying quality time and work colleagues enjoying some think time with one another away from the office all filled the cafe. And the food…well that needs all your attention.

The crisp hake goujons and calamari were a mouth-watering sensation (for those wanting a small meal, the starter lends itself to that beautifully). Being from the coast, fish is a firm favourite of mine and my main course was the most delectable Salmon on a bed of fresh summer vegetables. I emitted an audible “wow” as I tasted what I can honestly describe as the most sublime beurre blanc that accompanied the salmon. It had a freshness that one would expect only from the coast. Our meals were sophisticated with elegant plating but with a deeply rooted sense of homeliness.

As we polished off our meals, I was delighted to hear that a refreshed, menu would be out soon with an admirable new French toast variety…this made me giddy with happiness. I’ve been informed that although the Cafe has a strong health focus, with a few superb vegan options, the French toast will be indulgent: everyone knows it’s good for your mental health to indulge every now and then. Dessert was simple and delicious – my favourite vanilla ice-cream topped with fried banana, chopped nuts and Nutella. What a way to end a mid-day lunch date. An important note to mention is that the staff are truly exceptional; they are attentive, knowledgeable and make great conversation. We were thrilled to hear that the Cafe is available as a private function venue for intimate events. But wait…there’s more.

For those with family members of the furry kind, they have a luxe doggy menu… a key differentiator if there ever was one.

As we took our leave, we left with the sure feeling that there was a little part of us left behind and a big part of Voodoo Lily Cafe left with us. Perhaps this is where their magic leaves a trace…you leave with a sense of wanting much more of this luxe, relaxing experience that you’ve just enjoyed.

Hours pass by like minutes and it’s easy to make Voodoo Lily Cafe a part of your daily life.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch daily.  Contact 011 442 6965 for bookings.

Written by Kim Jansen for Luxuria Lifestyle South Africa