“Bryanston feels like a friend that you’ve known for half your life – you know it has flaws but you tend to overlook them and just see the beauty!” This is how Bryanston resident Myrtle Wilson describes the suburb she’s lived in for 25 years. Among her favourite things about the area are its friendly people, spacious and elegant properties with beautiful trees and its convenient location. “Bryanston is close to everything that matters – Sandton, Rivonia, Fourways and Hyde Park are all a short distance away,” she says.
Marcia Wefelmeier, another Bryanston resident, agrees that the suburb has lots going for it. “It has the total package, so to speak,” she says.
Having been a New Yorker for many years, I find that living in Bryanston has the same city edge to it but with a suburban feel. You get all the benefits of living in a beautiful suburb while being close to things like good restaurants, shopping, biking trails and parks, and excellent schools.
When it comes to eating and drinking, there are plenty of local gems that residents mention, most of which are in local shopping centres like Hobart Grove Centre, Nicolway Bryanston and the newly revamped Bryanston Shopping Centre.
Junipa’s at Hobart Grove is an all-day café that serves bistro food, artisan bread and freshly roasted coffee – as well as the “best croissants in town”, according to Myrtle. Marcia’s favourite go-to “date night” restaurant is The Riverside Caffé & Bistro at the Riverside Shopping Centre. “They have the best calamari in town, including the Riverside Calamari Pizza with bacon and prego sauce,” she says. Resident Natasha Stone says that the new Café Del Sol Botanico restaurant in the Bryanston Shopping Centre is one of her favourites, with its innovative, upmarket Italian food. Natasha also mentions the Landmark Bar that adjoins the restaurant as a great drinks spot. Marcia agrees, saying, “When we’re missing New York City, it’s our favourite bar to go to.” Resident Georgina Smither mentions Social On Main as the new ‘it’ place to visit in terms of drinks venues. Georgina also loves going to the Garden Shop for weekend plant shopping but also to grab a coffee at Munch Café afterwards. The nursery is excellent for children, and includes a large playground and animal park.
Bryanston isn’t all restaurants and shopping centres, though – with its parks and biking trails it’s also hugely popular with fans of the outdoors. Natasha’s husband is a keen mountain biker, and living in Bryanston means they’re close to the Braamfontein Spruit – and the PWC bike park is nearby. The Bryanston Country Club is very popular with golfers, and the newly refurbished clubhouse in its spacious grounds has made it an attractive option for young families on weekends. The GETFIT Challenge is situated in Bryanston, and Natasha says, “It has been the most amazing find that keeps my hubby and me fit, healthy and challenged.”
Overall, Natasha describes the feel of the suburb as a mix of young and old. While many Bryanston properties consist of larger stands with freestanding homes, there is also a fair number of cluster developments for families looking for security, and new apartment developments for the young and up-and-coming. Marcia and her family, for example, live in an older house that needed some TLC – “the previous owners lived in it for over 25 years” – while Georgina Smither lives in a modern, double-volume loft apartment in a Summercon development with great views looking out to Lanseria and the Magaliesberg. Besides the convenience and views, Georgina also appreciates the safety aspect. “I can sleep with my upstairs and downstairs sliding doors open at night without a worry,” she says.
Residents agree that Bryanston is an older suburb that has seen renewed growth. Natasha has seen a definite increase in security and road closures, and notes that there are more developments with larger stands being turned into cluster/housing developments. “All the surrounding shopping centres have undergone major facelifts or bigger newer ones have been built,” she says. Overall, Myrtle sums it up by saying, “Over the years we’ve lived here, we’ve seen Bryanston evolve from a ‘countrified’ suburb to something more commercial with denser housing. But somehow it has retained that country feel and I just love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else!”
Try the following restaurants, bars and specialty shops:
- The Superspar at Hobart Grove Centre for a huge selection of fresh produce, takeaway foods, pastries, salads, sandwiches and liquor
- Café Del Sol Botanico in the Bryanston Shopping Centre and the Riverside Caffé & Bistro at the Riverside Shopping Centre for upmarket Italian cuisine
- Tasha’s at Nicolway for fresh, delicious lunches and dinners in a sophisticated setting
- Munch Café at the Garden Shop for great food and coffee in a space that’s geared for kids
- The Fisherman’s Kitchen for seafood – especially prawns – at the Cramerview Village Centre
- The Local Kitchen Co for wholesome meals that the whole family will enjoy
Property prices in Bryanston
R5,6m: Average asking price (four-bedroom house)
R1,76m: Average asking price (flat)
R2,51m: Average asking price (complex)
R15,000: Average asking rental (two-bedroom flat)
Property market composition: Bryanston
26% of total sales listings for Sandton/Bryanston (North) area
35% of Web page views
20% of total rental listings
Experience Sandton and Bryanston North here:
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.