Bambanani, Melville (JHB)

We were invited out for breakfast one Sunday morning to a little place in Melville called Bambanani.
Not expecting much, we set off hungrily, and were most pleasantly surprised by what we found.
Having subsequently returned to Bambanani (a xhosa word meaning stand together/unite) on 2 further occasions, I feel adequately qualified to give a fairly accurate review :)
So without further ado, read on...

Date last visited

August 2010

Location and Setting

Bambanani is situated at 85 4th Avenue, in Melville, JHB.
It is fairly central, if a little closer to those in the West / Central areas of JHB. The exterior of the establishment belies what you will find inside...
It was a chilly autumn morning when we visited, and the first thing to greet us upon arrival were several cosy fireplaces churning out a good amount of warmth. 
Now I am totally clueless when it comes to fancy interior design terms, but I loved the look and feel of the place - very warm and welcoming.

For the kids...

Bambanani prides itself on a large kiddies play area, situated outside and behind the main restaurant.
There is an astro-turf area where the little ones can scoot about on kiddies motorcycles and clamber up on jungle-jims, and for the more adventurous little tikes out there, there is one of those huge multi-storey scaffolding type maze constructions.
Send your kid in there and you may not get them back for several hours...!
To add to this, dedicated child minders make their presence felt, so you can comfortably leave your precious little ones in their care. Tipping is of course always welcome.
The restrooms were clean and well presented, with very decently equipped changing rooms for those stink bombs that the little ones sometimes produce... :)

For the adults...

The warm, welcoming atmosphere is just awesome at Bambanani. It sure helps that all the staff we dealt with were relaxed and friendly, and fairly prompt to boot.
Food-wise, this being a breakfast, I can testify that several members in our party laid great praises upon the Eggs Benedict... :) 
Over and above this, the menu is varied and caters nicely for the kids as well.
All of those in our party loved their meals - a variety of different breakfasts were enjoyed at our table :)
Several cappuccino's and an awesome slice of lemon meringue later, it was unfortunately almost time to go... :)

Anything else?

Not much else to add - an excellent time was had by the adults, the kids had a great time and we will most definitely be back in the near future.
The staff here are superb - you get the feeling that they are really happy to have you in their establishment.

Oh and there is the option to dine inside or outside - the upper outside dining area overlooks the play area, so you can keep one eye on your food, and the other on your offspring playing below :)
The lower outside dining area is neatly spread around the play area, so if you want to avoid the stairs, then this is for you.

Free admission.

Final words

Bambanani turned out to be a superb hit - great food, great vibe and kid-friendly as well.
Truly a place of many happy returns!

Getting in touch

Call Bambanani on 
011 482 2900.
Their website is currently under construction at

Highly recommended.

Anonymous –   – (February 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM)  

They just done a nice new refurb to the interior!
Ciao Marco

Tibor Szabo  – (February 21, 2011 at 1:37 PM)  

Thx Mr Marco, good excuse to book a table there sometime soon...!

Anonymous –   – (January 14, 2012 at 5:33 PM)  

If you like iceberg lettuce, bad service (waiters that ignore you or are never in the area you are in), undersized and undercooked meals and overpricing this is the place for you. I paid R35 for a plate of 'spaghetti bolognaise', which arrives with no cheese and is tasteless. My (small) burger was still raw on a soggy bun and served with a 'salad' of 3 baby tomatoes, 2 slices of cucumber with heaps of wilted iceberg lettuce a la Roadhouse food. R58 get's you this delight.


Tibor Szabo  – (January 15, 2012 at 9:26 PM)  

@Anonymous - Ouch!

Thanks for the comment - we actually haven't been to Bambanani in over a year, and I hope that yours was an isolated experience.

Anybody else out there had a similar experience...?

Anonymous –   – (June 26, 2012 at 10:55 AM)  

I have been a few times.

My experience was not as bad but indeed these places for parents with kids do not really invest in good coffee or food, same with Serendipity.

I actually don't go more often because of the quality of the f&b.

Tibor Szabo  – (June 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM)  

@Anonymous - agreed...

Good quality food, drink and kids facilities are a hard combination to get right, it seems.

Papachinos seems to get it right though, at least whenever we visit :)

We also find that Primi Piatti generally keeps a high standard on all counts - they usually have a Primi Pods area where the kiddies can make their own dough creations and get them baked in the pizza oven.

Anonymous –   – (September 11, 2012 at 1:51 PM)  

Many friends have told me about their great experiences at Bambanani and so I decided to give it a try with my family. Little did I know that it would be the most anuseating day of my life. The service was so bad, we waited forever before receiving our refreshemnents and a waitress to help us.I couldn't
order a Fanta or Creme Soda for my boy because they were out of stock(This is a kids place, and no Fanta!!!!)The food took forever to arrive, upon arrival it was ice cold. My poor ravioli had no sauce with it, boiled and coated in butter - if you you're going to put something on the menu please know how to make it. I found a piece of hair on my ravioli when it arrived, I then removed it and set it aside. I didn't want to seem like a difficult person so I left it. After eating four pieces of my
ravioli I was disgusted to find an insect in my food. My husband also ordered a pasta dish, there was no sauce with it at all, it had no taste. Come on R 65.00 for boiled penne on its own - ridiculous. I immeditaely called for the waitress, she removed both our plates and said she was going to send the manager over - again another half and hour wait. Service at this place is poor, the food tastes awful and they are just plain dirty to the extent that the kids computer play room smells like 'pee'. This place is a total no no, please avoid.

Tibor Szabo  – (September 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM)  

@ Anonymous - sorry to hear about this... I have forwarded your comments to Bambanani.

Let's hope that they remedy the problems that you experienced there!

Anonymous –   – (October 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM)  

Dear Annonymous,
We are deeply grieved to hear about you're complaits and from the whole of Bambanani we would like to sincerly apologize.
We are currently under new management and have been ironing out the problems that Bambanani has had in the past including all aspects of the restaurant to ensure 100% guest satisfaction.
We hope that you will revisit us and see the changes for yourself. If you would like to contact us please feel free to send me a mail or call us on 011 482 2900.
Thank you for you're feedback.

Tibor Szabo  – (October 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM)  

Hi Candice,

Thx for posting a follow up reply here - I trust that the person who posted their complaint will give you guys another chance :)

Looking forward to popping around to see the new improved Bambanani!

Anonymous –   – (June 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM)  

I've heard quite a bit about Bambanani, but living in the West Rand I don't normally go to Melville. This weekend we were close to Melville and decided to try out Bambanani. Luckily I didn't see these comments beforehand otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, sitting under the trees, watching the children play. The childminders did a very good job, one of them helping the 5 year old with a puzzle, and more than one helping the 2 year old on the equipment. I did go and look for the children a few times, but every time there was no need to have worried.

I ordered the Ravioli and it came with the most delicious cream, wine and sage sauce. It was a tough decision between that and the enormous burgers that I saw the other people had. Personally I thought the prices were very good compared to restaurants that I frequented recently. Their kiddies meals are also well priced.

Complaints that I had - when we got there there was no one at reception, so we just walked straight through, then had to ask someone to help us. Service was a bit slow. My 5 year old girl immediately went to play in the kiddies 'shop' area. She loved it, but then came for a sip of her milkshake. When she wanted to return it was locked from the inside, possibly by one of the other children. It only opened again as we were leaving. Lots of tears from her about that.

Green light District South Africa  – (September 26, 2015 at 5:36 AM)  

Went there lateish last night for a pizza and we rnjoyed it thoroughly. With 2 small girls, we will defs be back. Decor is lovely (including David Krynauws' lights ☺), our pizza was great and our girls had a blast! Thank you!

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