Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published January 29th 2013
Kicking back for muffins and more at Johannesburg Airport
Mugg & Bean Cafe @ Johannesburg International Airport
Mugg & Bean café is a welcome respite for both transit and departing passengers at Johannesburg international Airport. This popular South African café chain, famous for it's freshly-baked-on-site mega-muffins, also provides a wide and varied all-day menu with a good sit down service for the weary traveller.
Choc Chip Muffins ready for the oven and Blueberry ones on the way!
Many of the meals come in a small (bowl) and large (meal) size, which is just as well, as South African portions are bordering on humungous. I had a delicious 'Chopstix Chicken Salad': a bowl of soy-ginger marinaded chicken salad with crispy noodles and mung beans (36.50 Rand), and my companion had this fresh smoked salmon and avocado salad.
Main meals are between the 40-80 Rand mark and range from the light salads we had through to gourmet sandwiches (jalapeno lime chicken, anyone?) which are served with signature chunky fries, 'designer' omelettes through to substantial grills. There is a bit of a tex-mex theme going through the menu, but in a modern, fusion way which appeals to international travellers.
The staff are attentive, helpful and very friendly though service is not ultra-quick, so you need to plan for that and keep an eye on your departure times, as some of the gates are a good 10 minutes walk from the central café. While you are waiting for your meal, you can distract yourself watching the bakers whip up trays and trays of the muffins which almost drive you mad with the magnificent smells wafting out of their ovens. Chocolate chip was warm on the trays when we were leaving, and blueberry and bran and carrot had just gone in to cook.
The only negative for the café from my perspective was the plastic forks and knives – airport security gone mad perhaps? Seating was in a quiet, spacious and light area of the terminal with full glass windows overlooking the departure gates – just the space you need to relax before cramming into a flying tin can to reach the next destination.
Mugg & Bean have well over a hundred cafes throughout South Africa, mostly to be found in shopping centres. They also have branches in Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Zambia.