For having lived here a year and half, I know remarkably little about the Joburg restaurant scene. In Washington, DC I knew which restaurants were opening and closing and most of my socializing involved sampling new restaurants and returning to old favorites. I even prided myself of keeping up with the goings on in New York City and San Francisco. So when I say that Katy’s Palace Bar is one of the more vibey (as they say here) places I have been to, it might simply be because I have nothing to compare it to. Katy’s Palace Bar is a vast multilevel space hosting Sir James van der Merwe Bar and Amatuli shop situated in an area of Krammerville that is home to design and furniture megastores and warehouses. Not exactly the place you expect to find a packed Sunday lunch venue.
The first Sunday of the month Katy’s Palace Bar converts into an It lunchtime destination, judging by the crowd and lack of seating at such an early hour. We arrived just before 11:00am and already parking was nearly absent and tables scarce. Since this is primarily an event space and is not a restaurant per se, everything is self serve. Need a caffeine pick me up, there is an espresso machine by the stairs. Fancy a tipple, there are two bars. If you are hungry and it’s before noon, there are only oysters and cakes available. Otherwise wait until noon when the pay by weight buffet opens. The food is good but not fancy, think popovers, slices of beef and gravy, lamb, chicken casserole, potato wedges, broccoli casserole, salad, pita, hummus, and olives, but it manages to strike the right chord. I managed to polish off everything that I had heaped onto my plate. The crowd ranges from kids to over sixty, but the really good 90s cover band is indicative of the average age of the people in the cavernous space. This is also a place with a view of the Sandton skyline – the central business district in Joburg. Overall a lovely place to lounge away a Sunday provided you arrive early and are okay with shouting over the music at your fellow dining companions.