Jozi eateries: what’s new?
Our take on four of Joburg’s cool new kids on the restaurant block.
Those seeking a stylish spot to sip on cocktails or a sharply curated restaurant with a killer menu will be pleased to know that Joburg has had a slew of new openings in the past months. You might be back to the daily grind, but all work and no play is no way to spend the summer in our humble opinion. With that, here are four fabulous new Johannesburg restaurants that knock the lights out for their tempting bar offerings, tantalising menus and sharply designed interiors.
The Shortmarket Club
That’s right, Cape Town’s fine dining darling has flown the mother city and come to tantalize Joburgers with superstar restaurateur and chef Luke Dale Roberts’ elegant, yet unaffected fine dining menu. With a focus on Asian inspired dishes, the menu features ostensibly simple fare with a complex flavour profile. Dishes like the BBQ Pork Belly with coconut xo, lemongrass and pork jus, and the Japanese Pancake with crispy calamari, yuzu dressing, chilli and burnt honey glaze reveal chef Taryn Smith’s flair with flavour combinations.
The interior meanwhile takes its cue from French brasseries and channels a classic yet comfortable vibe. In this intimate setting, you can expect leather, brass and characteristic fluted glass with the establishment’s iconic burnt butterfly installations by Mark Rautenbach taking flight overhead.
Having moved from Morningside, this sophisticated Mediterranean is becoming a favourite for amped-up Greek and Italian fare in a chic and elegant setting. Think pared-back neutrals, honest materials (marble, oak and brass) and sexy curves which feature in arched openings as well as in the sensuous form of suspended ceiling baffles. This refined yet stripped-back aesthetic is courtesy of interior designer Giorgio Tatsakis, whose trips to Greece, Italy and Dubai served as muse for the restaurant.
There’s a Doric style column, iconic olive tree as well as a captivating ceiling height wall mural that backs the bar area; the latter was sculpted by Elaine Jansen van Rensburg from recycled materials and takes its inspiration from the Aegean Sea. Here you’ll sip on cocktails like Once Upon a Time in Mexico and summery vodka-based Litchi Lavender Elixir. Their menu – conceptualised by Luke Dale-Roberts and chef Ken Phuduhudu – features a contemporary take on Med classics, allowing the ingredients to shine and retaining the authenticity of honest, Mediterranean flavours. If you’re after the full monty, you can opt-in for their chef’s table or their private dining experience.
The Greenhouse JHB
This vibey bar and restaurant is best known for two things: as a lush oasis of greenery amid the urban chaos and as a favourite haunt for post workday drinks (cocktails in particular). But with interiors by acclaimed designer Tristan du Plessis (he, of a string of gorgeous bars and clubs), The Greenhouse is also a symbol of style. Having just moved, this bar and restaurant is now ideally situated in the heart of Sandton’s business district. Living up to its name, it’s brimming with living greenery, from its famed ceiling of hanging plants to walls of foliage and botanical-inspired wallpapers. Brass details, subtle lighting and swathes of jade marble lend a sense of luxury and refinement to this verdant and vibrant spot.
Chef Carolina Rasenti of The Great Eastern Food Bar fame has taken her cue from South African inspired open-flame cooking and reinvigorated the menu with dishes like Whole Grilled Aubergines, drizzled with olive oil and tzatziki, Flame-grilled Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs and a Salmon Steak served with chargrilled broccolini. Picture a plate of smoke-infused oysters, a glass of champagne or a cocktail in hand and a killer soundtrack coming from their DJ booth and you’ve got the idea.
As in zoo. This newcomer to Marble Group’s stable speaks to a sense of fun and the notion that caged animals (that’s us, chained to our desks) need to be set free. It’s a playful take on leaving your woes behind and letting loose, and the interiors (by Reddeco’s supremely talented Irene Kyriacou) are a suitably matched mix of sophistication, luxury and African art nouveau. The scene is plush and theatrical and calls to mind the classiness of gentleman’s clubs thanks to its scale, glamour and the inclusion of banquette seating, checked fabrics and leather.
A pair of lion’s paw door handles sets the tone as you enter, continued by a dramatic 16-strong cluster of Thabisa Mjo’s pleated pendant lights, commanding (yet cheeky) Big 5 portraits by Krisjan Rossouw, dark timber panelling, a menagerie of oversized critters by Damian Grivas who make their way down pillars and more. The menu is governed by small plates inspired by Central and South American fare and has been curated by Chefs David Higgs, Moses Moloi (of FYN fame), Mike van Rooyen and pastry chef Megan Meikle. Expect a stellar cast of imaginative ceviches (the likes of Guajillo-chilli-cured yellowtail, naartjie aguachile, corn and coriander) as well as a few locally inspired creations like game loin with chorizo, white bean and XO sauce. Their luxe onyx marble bar meanwhile is the place to sample notable wines and premium cocktails with a Latin American spirit. This is where the fun’s at in our opinion.