Johannesburg- Voodoo Lily is a restaurant in leafy Birdhaven that boasts a bright vibrant look and a fresh menu for singles, couples, friends or the whole family, an amazing New York-style restaurant of the well-known restaurateur Larry Hodes.
It’s the ideal place for amazing meals from morning to night, tea and coffee, after work drinks, all types of functions, a post-dog-walk snack, or a place to work with a separate corner adapted as workstations and library space with books you can exchange.
“Birdhaven is an incredible suburb and Voodoo Lily is up to the challenge of being the ‘go to’ restaurant for the community, delivering an excellent service for business people, couples, families, and friends,”Larry Hodes
We the Braam Vibes team headed out to see for ourselves what Hodes says he’s worked diligently with the help of people like Ryan du Toit of Dutwaa Creative, who contributed to the development of the revamped Voodoo Lily brand that’s now what Hodes refers to as what stands out once you step into Voodoo Lily, two stunning mosaics – a magnificent wallpaper mosaic depicting a voodoo lily created out of thousands of photographs of people, pets, sayings, scenery, food and festivities, and much more. This is what represents the character and lifestyle of the extended local community, as well as a large mosaic artwork behind the bar.
We had no doubt that Voodoo Lily would rise to the occasion. Hodes has an impressive 30 years of experience in the restaurant business with a sound understanding of the Birdhaven, Melrose Arch, and Illovo community through Arbour Café, just around the corner from Voodoo Lily, which has blossomed since he took ownership of it three years ago as well as Calexico at 44 Stanley. Not forgetting Voodoo Lily’s very own Chef Josh Simon who created an exciting, fresh, and mouth-watering menu, offering something for everyone throughout the day.
A friendly and pleasant welcome by Voodoo Lily’s manager, Dean Appleton who shares some info about the restaurant and is very excited to show us around says that people can expect a dining experience, from the music to the décor to the relaxed vibe outside to the specially selected music anytime between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After showing us around and taking pictures of the restaurant and people, the Braam Vibes team sat down to have a look at the menu while they had wine to drink. Hodes advises one of us to try out their Hot Brisket on rye, Loaded latkes, Fresh gnocchi with pulverised broccoli and garlic, which Chef Josh has been perfecting since a friend’s grandmother made it for him in Bologna years ago.
The signature dish on the breakfast menu is Shakshuka, a Mediterranean fragrant tomato sauce, eggs, olives, zaatar yoghurt and challah toast dish that Hodes says Chef Josh fell in love with some years ago in Israel. The menu incorporates cuisines from a variety of cultures, from New York and Chicago to Mexico, the Middle East, Spain, Italy, and South Africa, with a great range of sweet and savoury, light and hearty meals, and trendy beverages, all fresh, interesting, and totally delicious.
Voodoo Lily also features a must-try cocktail menu, a range of beautiful wines and local craft beers, as well as old favourites. To round off the menu for everyone, little people and doggy friends are also accommodated.
Hodes said that he got to understand the market- that if you take away the community then there is no Voodoo Lily, previously called Voodoo Café. And why he decided to keep the name after taking ownership he says the name Voodoo Lily; is what creates interests about the place, you never know what to expect when you hear it.
“My favourite thing about Voodoo Lily is the location. It has one of the best in Johannesburg – and with the new look, the striking artwork and décor, the cocktail bar and the new menu, I believe it is destined for greatness.”Hodes
Hodes said that he’s recently incorporated a bar into the restaurant to retain the community feel and family friendliness and to continue being a dog friendly environment following requests from community members.
Hodes added that on the cards in the next few months is a ‘dark kitchen’ on the Voodoo Lily premises, which he says will be established in currently unused space in the basement.
“The Johannesburg restaurant market is beginning to happen and there is a definite move towards delivery as demand for quick and convenient food options increases.”Hodes