Watts (up) in Bryanston
Megan Owen, February 23, 2017

Last week I had coffee with fellow Bryanstonian, Derek Watts, perhaps better known for enlightening our Sunday evenings on Carte Blanche. Derek and his family have lived in Bryanston for the past 23 years.

Why Bryanston?

Bryanston used to be the North but now it’s in the middle of everything. I love the restaurants, I love the greenery. Even though we do tend to live behind electric fences.

Some of my colleagues who live in Melville think it’s snobby but I say they’re actually the snobs. I tell them if you live in Bryanston and go to a braai you can arrive and talk absolute rubbish about rugby and cricket. If you go to a braai in Melville firstly you have to braai butternut and aubergines and then talk about saving the world and recycling.

We are not pretentious like Illovo, Hyde Park and Sandhurst. I don’t believe Bryanston’s snobbish, I think it’s down to earth.

I live between William Nicol and Main Road and so I can get everywhere with those two routes. The only problem is that we get struck by lightning a lot being at the top of the hill.

How do you stay fit?

A combination of the Virgin Active and playing squash at Bryanston Sports Club – I’m a devoted member and there’s a lovely crowd there – from mid 20’s to mid 90’s. I also enjoy walking Gucci, Coco and Diesel (his dogs) at Hamilton Park or the Sandton Field and Study Centre.

What are your favourite restaurants?

Turn ‘n Tender. I go there a lot. The French Corner Bakery at Cramerview. Gemelli, however, I have to mortgage my house when I go there for a meal.

Like today for Valentine’s day?

Wow, I wonder how many Valentines I have celebrated with Belinda now – about 30? I’m actually going on golf tour tomorrow but the kids are home so I discussed it with Belinda and we decided we would stay home with the kids. I was going to take her to the most amazing expensive restaurant, romantic, it was going to be incredible, real champagne and roses. But she said we should stay home with the kids so . . . (laughs). 

Favourite brekkie?

Breakfast is a big deal in the Wattusi household. Most commonly Woolies Café at Nicolway – I have my own table there because it has good coffee and great small meals. I spend my life at Nicolway, I don’t know what I did before it!

My new favourite is The Local Kitchen. Piers is the owner and he’s so dedicated and turns out the best breakfasts – his latest one is the Valentino Rosti which is amazing (R75 – Two potato & feta rostis topped with grilled chorizo, rocket, two poached eggs & hollandaise sauce). The Local Kitchen is high on our agenda.

Tashas is good although it’s loud and you can’t hear anyone. But if you can sit outside, it’s nice.

Take Aways?

Simply Asia is one of our favourites and also ‘Old Age’ (Old Age is what Derek calls The Fisherman’s Kitchen at Cramerview). The good thing is if you go there you can feel young again because there are very few people under 90. We mainly get take aways there but sitting down is also great because you can bring your own wine. I’m really looking forward to the Nando’s drive through – that’s going to change my life. (The Nandos is coming to William Nicol and Grosvenor in the same centre as Andiccio).

What are your favourite watering holes?

I usually opt for having people over to my place for watching sport but I like Baron on Main and Landmark – they do really nice cocktails and have so many craft beers you can get confused about what you’re drinking. And Bryanston Sports Club, it’s a really sociable place and on my road so I usually play squash and go for a couple of drinks afterwards. And Social on Main, I like going there for a dop.

If you leave Bryanston in an Uber where are you headed?

Parkhurst. It has so many trendy places. My friend Boet loves Parkhurst so whenever he organises a party he makes sure it’s in Parkhurst. Otherwise I am happy to stay in my Bryanston cocoon.

Where would you live if not Bryanston?

Moullie Point in Cape Town. That’s where I’d like to be in a few years time. I read that 400 000 families a year are moving to the Cape, the semi-gration, its crazy. So you’ve just got to accept that it’s overcrowded and expensive. Over the years I’ve always said the bubble is going to burst. However, it hasn’t and I think it’s a good life there.

I’ve seen you at the opening of a lot of the shows at Monte – are you a theatre buff?

I’m not too sure about some of the heavier numbers but they get some great entertainment there. Blue Man Group was great, Cirque Eloize was great. The one not everyone agreed on was Slava’s Snowshow – you had to have real patience for that one.

We see you on TV on Sundays – what is your Sunday agenda?

Every second week I’m live on the show so it’s a dry day really with preparation. Then I watch when Bongani is presenting as these days we are very involved on social media so I watch and Tweet. I am not a big drinker during the day and so I try and avoid Sunday lunches. At the risk of sounding boring I prefer to be doing things in the day and would rather go play squash or go to the gym than sit at a four hour lunch. Goes back to my army days I suppose.

I’ve heard about your legendary headstands (party trick)?


– at this point Derek’s wife, Belinda, has joined us and she is of the opinion that Derek should be hanging up his headstanding boots.

Thanks Derek

 Derek says I can repay him for the interview with lunch at Gemelli, but after some haggling we settled on a beer at Baron.

Megan Owen
Megan grew up in Bryanston and left for New York after completing a BA in Law and Politics at Wits. In the States she started working as a Head Hunter and spent her free time traveling extensively and immersing herself in her passions - all things cultural. Megan returned to Bryanston five years ago and has never looked back. She continues to place senior executives around the world, while also running a celebrity booking agency, Actorvate, with her sister, actress Hayley Owen. Megan and Hayley live next door to each other in Bryanston and enjoy soaking up everything the neighborhood and its surrounds have to offer, from food, to fitness, to entertainment, to spa treatments, to nightlife. This blog is designed to share some of the highlights and experiences that this part of Joburg has to offer.

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