SoulJozi serves up healthy meals in an earth-friendly space

Image: Sanet Oberholzer

At SoulJozi, the experience is about healthy eating almost as much as the space. A chair made with a stop street and t-junction road sign is perched next to a table made with a “no entry” sign. Old suitcases have been used to fashion another quirky seat and a row of four swings hang whimsically in front of a window overlooking the commuters and foot traffic outside. Despite the rush of the streets, it feels strangely tranquil inside.

A new eatery in the heart of Maboneng, SoulJozi is all about healthy, organic living. If you ask for directions to the restaurant you might be asked if you’re going to the “vegan” restaurant. While they do serve foods suited to a vegan diet, they also serve breakfasts incorporating eggs and cheesy goodness. While not expansive, the menu also serves up toasted sandwiches and wraps.

A smoothie bowl from SoulJozi.
A smoothie bowl from SoulJozi.
Image: Sanet Oberholzer

What puts the food offering squarely into that healthy and organic bracket is the smoothies, smoothie bowls and super lattes on offer. I opted for the popular Jax Attack smoothie bowl. Banana, hazelnuts, cacao, almond milk and dates are blended together in a smooth, thick consistency and topped with cacao nibs, oats and gogi berries. It’s light yet substantial and proved impossible to finish. The cacao nibs are fantastic!

If you’re in need of good, strong coffee you may want to rethink ordering a cappuccino. It transported me to my childhood days when my mother would make milk coffee by boiling milk and adding this to a dash of coffee. A domestic take on a latte if you will. It’s soulful and comforting but lacks the caffeine kick if that’s what you’re after. My feeling is that the better option would be to order a super late, a tea or one of the Buchulife herbal waters. When in Rome.

Lizo and Richard Arkle, the team behind SoulJozi, decided to incorporate their love for the environment into the store, using reclaimed materials to make all the furniture and fittings strewn around the place. All the items are for sale and, once sold, Richard creates another item of furniture with material procured from landfills, doing their bit to be kind to the environment in a unique way.

They hosted their first SoulJozi Experience at the beginning of November. A three day event that gives local artists and artisans a platform to showcase their products, it also features live bands and DJs. “Our goal was to bridge the gap between the vendors and the retailers, and to bring the culture back to Maboneng,” says Lizo Arkle.

They plan on hosting more JoulJozi Experiences in the future. They’re also working on a recycling drive for Maboneng, a walking tour, evening workshops and intimate events in the store which will include poetry evenings, conversation evenings and acoustic music shows.

For now, if it’s a light breakfast or lunch you’re after, pop in. The service needs some improvement when it comes to attention to detail but a dashing, warm-hearted smile from Ricky, the man on the floor, more than compensates. If you’re not after the superfoods, it’s worth checking out for the quirks and furniture at least. It’s fun, it’s bold and even a little inspiring to do your bit of good in this world.

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