Talking Johannesburg with Charmaine Ramalope-Makhubela
Charmaine Ramalope-Makhubela is the Culinary Artist and Founder of GlamFoodie. Of course, viewers will remember her from the reality show, The Taste Master. When she isn't whipping up a storm in the kitchen, she explores the city.
She tells us everything we need to know about Johannesburg:
Best place for a first date in the city?
The Royale, it’s quirky, casual, the food is good and it’s affordable - one shouldn’t splurge on a first date but if it goes well, you can always move on to Schucked Oyster Bar in the same centre for some bubbles and oysters.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive back in Jo'burg from out of town?
Go straight home and unpack.
Best meal you’ve had in Jo'burg, that’s not at home?
Marble, their game loin dish is my absolute favourite and I’ve never been disappointed by any of their dishes.
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When was the last time you attended a music concert/festival and who was performing?
I attended the Tiger’s Milk Melrose Arch launch last year and got to experience my brother perform with his band, the Jägermeister Brass Cartel, that was very special.
What's your earliest memory of Jo'burg?
I was probably about 5 years old and was with my mother shopping for Christmas clothes. I just remember being in awe of all the tall buildings.
If you were Mayor for the day, what would you do?
Clean up the litter and increase police visibility to make people feel safe.
Your favourite hangout spot in the city?
There are too many but I’m currently loving AURUM Restaurant at The Leonardo. It’s the perfect spot for long brunches and their food is amazing and surprisingly decently priced, considering the calibre of the restaurant.
The best-kept secret in the city?
Sin + Tax Bar — their cocktails are out of this world.
Where is the best place to let your hair down?
Saint —best pizzas, great cocktails and top-notch service. I love the vibe at Gemelli Italian Restaurant too.
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Who do you call when you want to have fun and where in the city do you go?
My husband and I love local getaways that make you feel like you’re far away when you’re actually not, eg. attractions and pockets of discovery around the Cradle of Humankind as well as Sedibeng.
Your favourite coffee shop?
Afrikoa Cafe, which is actually a luxury chocolate store and SA’s first bean-to-bar company to produce chocolate made from cocoa sourced from African farmers. Good chocolate and good coffee - this place serves the best.
Vilakazi Street (Soweto), Maboneng Precinct (Johannesburg CBD), Menlyn (Pretoria) or 4th Avenue (Parkhurst). Which do you prefer and why?
Parkhurst, It’s close to where I live and I don’t like malls.
Which is your favourite market in Jo'burg and why?
Brown Sense Market, which happens on the last Sunday of every month. It’s a family-oriented market that aims to support black businesses. There’s lots to see and the vibe is awesome.
Which building in Jo'burg would you love to own and why?
Johannesburg Art Gallery —situated in down-town Johannesburg, it’s the largest gallery on the continent and houses some of my favourite works of art by renowned artists, from Picasso and Degas to Sekoto and Battis.
Which building would you like to be locked in overnight and why?
Any of the Sandton City Diamond Walk shops so I can play dress-up and try on some designer frocks and jewellery.
Where is the best view of Jo'burg?
Flames Restaurant at The Four Seasons Westcliff has the best view of Jo’burg hands-down.
Best place for a nightcap?
Southern Sun Hyde Park, it’s usually along the way from wherever I’m coming from.
What’s the one thing that differentiates Jo'burg from other cities in SA?
The energy, it’s a fast-paced city with people on the move. We might not have the mountain or the beaches but the interesting and friendly people who come from all walks of life make up for it.
Where would you suggest first-time visitors to the city go to get the best experience of the city?
Hallmark House in Doornfontein as it’s right in the heart of the hustle and bustle. I love that it’s trendy and urban and offers 360 degree views of the city. It allows for an incredible city experience as it’s surrounded by art galleries and restaurants.