One of Joburg’s lesser-known neighbourhoods, Richmond is the city's unofficial media capital, home to international and local media houses such as Associated Press, BBC, and News24. Until now a popular shortcut for motorists heading out of quirky Melville towards Milpark and Braamfontein, Richmond has lately become a popular stop because of The Richmond Studio Café.
The café is the brainchild of partners and former journalists Antoine de Ras and Mantombi Makhubele. A long-time Richmond resident of 11 years, photographer De Ras first fell in love with the space when it was a stationery shop and following the former owner’s retirement, bought it with the idea to house his photography studio. That was in 2016 as he left the media game.
De Ras then dreamed up The Richmond Studio Café, this time envisioning it as a shrine to the journalist’s drug of choice: coffee. Part of the café remains a studio complete with photo props, and the furniture is on wheels, making for easy conversion back to a studio space in the evening. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide ample natural light over warm wooden features with De Ras’s ever-expanding collection of vintage cameras taking décor centre stage. Sourced over the years from second-hand stores and donations from friends, the cameras have found new life as light fixtures and fabulous wall displays dotted around the café.
The second half of the duo Makhubele is a self-confessed foodie who left the Sunday Independent newspaper to start her own travel company siyaTravela (a fun play on township slang that translates to “We Travel”).
Together they present a simple and uncluttered menu with early light breakfast options and lunches that includes their signature deliciously more-ish gourmet Melt sandwiches. Our favourites are the Through the Lens Tuna Melt and The Viewfinder Vegan Toastie. For the hungry, take a look at the Richmond Specials and order up a half a kilo plate of Richmond Rack Ribs with dips and chips, or "say Cheese" chilli-potato skins.
With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, a warm atmosphere and within easy reach of the suburbs and the city The Richmond Studio Cafe has quickly become a haven for local journalists, photographers and others working in media.