Girly Saturdays at Park Cafe and Polish

Because I *have* to come up with new restaurant ideas constantly for my page in the Sunday Independent, it’s VERY seldom that I return to the same restaurant twice. Even my old favourites have been neglected of late. So when I do go back to the same place, not twice, but thrice, you need to know there’s something special about it.

I’m in love with Park Cafe. I didn’t even know it existed until I was invited to do a review there recently. The owners also own Polish Nail Salon next door, and I think a combination of the two is just the perfect girls’ afternoon out.

I go for French lessons at Alliance Francaise every Saturday from 9am- 1pm, so obviously I’m starving by then and want a quick, easy lunch. I don’t have the energy to look for parking and wait for a table in Parkhurst, plus the last few Saturdays have been rainy which spoils the sidewalk vibe further. Also, you need to be in a certain type of mood for Parkhurst. Let’s face it, you can’t go there with no makeup on in your track pants and hoodie.

Park Cafe is unpretentious but still lovely.  There are pregos, sandwiches, pastas and salads, and a wide selection of cakes. All 3 times I’ve been I’ve had a salad, which comes with a generous helping of the MOST DELICIOUS torn Italian bread ever. If I’m honest to myself, that’s the real reason I order the salad. Rishav has tried the chicken prego which he loved (particularly how saucy it was), as well as the Croque Monsieur (their version of a Gruyere and ham sandwich) which he also really enjoyed . It’s just simple, homely, good food. There are roses on the table, the menu is pink and the whole cafe feels wonderfully girly. Guys, don’t worry, the portions are definitely guy-size! They also do breakfasts- I’m planning to try that soon.

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They do great coffee (supplied by 4th Avenue Coffee Roasters) and even better cake. The astroturf carpet creates a park like vibe which is perfect for a rainy afternoon.

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One Saturday, Rishav dropped me off and I lunched solo (there’s free wifi so I could Instagram happily), and then went to Polish next door. In terms of efficiency, you can’t get better than this. My mani and pedi were done simultaneously, and I was out of there in about 50 minutes. I tried CND Vinylux (made by the same peeps who do Shellac) for the first time, which you apply and remove like normal polish but lasts a week. It’s not gel so doesn’t get cured under a UV light and there’s no buffing at all required to get it off. I loved the finished product and as promised (despite me being skeptical) there were no chips at all until around 8 days after.

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I think that if you’re in a hurry and want to get your nails done (as opposed to wanting an extended pampering experience), definitely try Polish.

Visit www.parkcafe.co.za and www.polishnailspa.co.za

Address: The Parks Shopping Centre, cnr Wells and Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood.

Phone: Park Cafe: 011 447 0250 Polish: 011 447 7952