Old Ducky French Café in Fourways, Johannesburg, gets amazing reviews. Take this one from Tripadvisor:
‘I highly recommend this unpretentious, relaxed restaurant, that serves delectable French-inspired food. Sublime starters, marvellous mains and delicious desserts ensured that all 12 of our guests were full of praise. The staff were gracious, kind and professional. It brought joy and a hearty laugh when the 70 year old Birthday Boy was served a complimentary slice of cheesecake, plus a yellow rubber ducky!’
Girlahead was enthralled by the place. It’s inside or out, sit where you want. Choose an inside place and the walls are trompe l’oeil vegetation, the whole look designed by Marina Appelbaum, who runs Old Ducky.
She’s one clever young lady. Sunday lunch she was working the floor, making sure every table was happy. She was also specially attentive to one particular table, hosted by her husband, Robbie Appelbaum. See some of the lovely lunchers, above – Marina Appelbaum and Thandiwe Mathibela at rear, Tando Mandela and Mapi Mhlongu in front (Robbie Appelbaum, Jerry Mabena and Sisa Ntshona missed out on the photo).
Every restaurateur should take lessons from Marina Appelbaum
-work the floor (looking good and wearing comfortable shoes, with a cross-body bag to hold essentials)
-get drinks, say a bottle of Veuve Clicquot), at an appropriate temperature
-and when there are six or more around a table, bring out a succession of sharing starter platters. And, for the main, don’t hiccup the conversation flow by asking for orders but quietly suggest something suitable to each person
-and don’t lengthen the whole performance.
Girlahead was so impressed she cannot wait for more, and not only for the taste of zucchini fries, pâté, hommus and perfectly-seared Norwegian salmon.