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Reviews by Judith Taylor except where indicated. Editing by Rick Raubenheimer. Reviews are listed in reverse date order (newest at the top). On this page we review restaurants in all suburbs except Rivonia/Sunninghill and the various parts of Morningside (Morningside and extensions, Morningside Manor, and Gallo Manor). For reviews in these areas, see Restaurant reviews for Rivonia and Sunninghill and Restaurant reviews for Morningside.
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This was Transformers Toastmasters' Induction Dinner so their downstairs private area was chock-a-block with celebration! I chose the Calamari in Napolitana sauce, which was a mistake. The sauce was hideously sweet, so I returned it and then was given calamari drenched in salt. Back it went again to be replaced with plain grilled calamari, which was edible. Rick ordered Beef Lasagne, which he declared good although lacking in extra parmesan. Rick enjoyed his hot chocolate and I enjoyed my white wine.
Comfort was a great waiter, who thoroughly deserved all accolades and his tip. A real improvement is the addition of toilets downstairs, which helped me no end. Great venue for a party!
This is a little bit out of Sandton but well-worth reporting on! We met with friends from SASS to celebrate the OGOD court case victory. The restaurant is probably better in Summer because it is in an open corridor and was chilly. That aside, we can highly recommend their Marrow Bones - succulent and tasty. Drinks were tea and Sauvignon Blanc. Naomi gave us good service. The fountains outside will be great for children to play in in Summer as well.
Phone for Hinterland Meat Trader: 010 592 0072.
After a great Bryanston Breakfast Club Toastmasters meeting, we decided to explore Hobart Grove and ended up at Rockets! They have a most impressive front door and all round glass plus an outside deck for the truly hardy. Apart from hot chocolate and dry white wine, we opted to share one of their dipping boards. This was excellent and tasty. One downside was that we had to pay for extra toast. We were relieved that they didn't charge us for the air we breathed in the restaurant! However, the service is good and Vuyie, our waiter, was attentive.
Not been into Riverside for a long time and found that Luigi's restaurant has been replaced by Danilo's. The menu is pricey but the results were excellent. The fish and chips arrived with really crispy chips! This was a first and appreciated by my companion. The Gooseberry Sauvignon Blanc was excellent and well priced. Ice was freely available on a very hot day. My Calamari Siciliana was wonderful. Can recommend highly.
A venture into Mexico on a dark and rainy night proved to be very enchanting. They were, technically, full, but the highly obliging Shelton managed to create a table for us by taking a table away from a couple who had two. The Villieria wine was very good and the Appletiser suited as usual. Meals were Fish Taco - proclaimed excellent and Levanta La Muertos - a wonderful tomato cocktail of seafood. Totally perfect food and great ambience. Shelton proved a great waiter. Great venue for the young at heart and party people!
Going there for a SA Secular Society meeting and talk on "Religion in Schools - OGOD's Legal Battle" by Hans Pietersen from Cape Town, we found a restaurant with very limited parking indeed. However the inside was cosy. We ordered an Appletiser, and a Hill and Dale Chardonnay. I slipped up by ordering a bunless, chipless Chicken burger . Two pieces of fairly dry chicken duly arrived in a sparse lemon sauce.
My partner's crumbed chicken and spinach proved far better. It provoked great suspense by constantly threatening to slide into his lap off the uneven table! My Chardonnay was excellent, enhanced by great company.
The service was professional and I would recommend it.
Despite the cramped speaking area and the crumpled screen, the talk itself was excellent, as were Hans's vivid slides. The subject of religion being unconstitutionally forced on public school pupils has many ramifications. Hans provided much info and was generous in his responses at question-time. It was helpful to be brought up to date with this ongoing battle which he and his supporters and sponsors are fighting on behalf of all of us, and to have a considered assessment of the likely outcomes of the project. Many thanks to Hans, SASS, and all who gave of their precious personal time in putting this event together.
Contact Details for Plantation Cafe. Address: Shop 3, International Business Gateway, New Rd, Johannesburg. Phone: 011 318 0401
**** Il Localino, Hobart Grove Centre, Cnr of Hobart and Grosvenor Roads, Bryanston, 18 September 2015
A wander through the streets of Bryanston brought us to the Hobart Grove Shopping Centre and there we found Il Localino. This restaurant, like so many others in shopping centres, looks over the car park. I have to ask, with tears in my eyes, why developers do this, when they have access to amazing views and less pollution.
Having raged about that, let's look at the restaurant itself. It is a new style basic set up with a very good welcoming team. Bezzel was our assigned waiter and greeted us well with a good offer of menus. Somehow, we never got to specials, but we do tend to rush ahead.
We opted for the Darling Cellar Merlot and a Mango Juice for drinks. For food, I fancied a Steak Tartar and my partner a Lasagne Bolognese. The drinks were great. So was the Lasagne.
For my dish, I was expecting a plate of raw mince plus additives to mix in as required to taste.
No, it arrived to chef's taste –and was sent back.
I then got what I had ordered and expected.
The food was good. Please be very clear about what you are ordering especially if you are a Banter. We will go again.
Sometimes you make a really bad mistake and we did this particular evening. It was a cold night but we decided to go out are explore the newly renovated Riverside Shopping Centre on Bryanston Drive. We also chose to visit the Riverside Caffe and Bistro. Possibly it would have been fairest to walk out again when the noise was obviously too much. It was almost impossible to hear each other speak. However, the Liver Veneziana looked good and our waiter gave us some interesting accompaniments including caulimash. For drinks, we chose hot chocolate and Du Toits Merlot.
The drinks proved good choices. The Merlot was truly glorious. The liver, alas, should have been returned. It was gristley and the plates were cold. The sauce tasted vinegary. We did complain after a while and the manager came to our table promising to investigate. This he failed to do.
We left very disappointed and will not be returning.
After a good walk on the Sandspruit and a really great shower, lunch seemed like a good idea. So we set off for Chilli Lane and chose Doppio Zero as our destination. The restaurant was busy but did have a place for us in the warm. With the high ceiling, it is quite noisy, so, if you want a quieter meal, pre-book and ask for the area outside of the main one.
Our waiter was Linnet and her name provoked some thought. Linnets are northern European songbirds and we failed to ask her how she came by this spelling of her name! We ordered 5 Roses tea and a glass of Merlot for drinks. Tea is such good value especially on a cold day! To eat, we ordered the Caprese salad and the Prego Pollo.
The Prego Pollo was served with rather floppy chips but the bread looked good. The first attempt at the Caprese arrive smothered in balsamic vinegar, which completely destroyed it. However, Linnet was on the ball and realised that I was not happy. The replacement was excellent. Beautiful slices of Buffalo Mozzarella with great pesto and fresh salad.
All in all, attentive but not invasive service, food for Banters and plenty for another meal in both our cases! Definitely a good place for a cold day and we will go again.
The restaurants in the Grayston Shopping Centre being notably unBanting friendly, we went onto Atholl Square and were enticed into Tasha's which now opens until 21:00 except Sundays and Mondays. The interior has been changed since I was last there (about two years ago) and is now very sparse and very noisy. Not somewhere to go for an intimate meal! It is child friendly and the staff are happy to take small children off their parents' hands. However, they do bring them back later!
For drinks, we ordered hot chocolate and a glass of Painted Wolf Merlot. The latter was exquisite and tempting enough for a second glass much later on! On the food side, my partner ordered linguine Alfredo and I ordered Mariachi without the wrap. Both were excellent and the feast of avocado and tomatoes plus olive oil in the Mariachi was really perfect. Service was attentive and good. The black coffee, which rounded things off for me, was great. Altogether an enjoyable meal which was only marred by my partner's being affected by diarrhoea afterwards. Not sure what caused it - perhaps the ham not being completely fresh? We don't know.
Can recommend the service, the child friendliness and overall good food.
As The Raj in Rivonia has recently closed, we decided to go further afield to Nicolway and try the one which has replaced it. It is situated in the mezzanine level in the car park and next to Sweat 1000, which is a gym. Ideal place to visit after an appetite stimulating workout!
We booked a table before going. However this wasn't really necessary as it is a large restaurant and still getting known. There is a large balcony overlooking William Nicol and the views to the north, which will be great for a lunchtime meal. We chose to sit inside. The decor is minimalist and generally white. Service is friendly on arriving, but somewhat lax thereafter. Unfortunately the extensive food and separate wine menus have no mention of non-alcoholic drinks. This is a distinct drawback, as you have no idea of pricing or, in fact, of what is available on this side.
After much questioning, we settled for a Mango Lassi and a large bottle of sparkling water with ice on the side. There is a good selection of wines. The range of wine by the glass is limited and starts at around R46 per glass. Wine by the bottle is priced very much around R140 upwards.
After going through the food menu extensively, we chose the Dahl Makhani with Basmati rice and the Chicken Tikka salad. The Dahl proved to be very good, more than my partner could manage in one sitting. It keeps well and proved equally enjoyable at home! The Chicken Tikka salad had plenty of chicken, very beautifully spiced and cooked. However, the large lumps of onion were overwhelming, whilst other ingredients were lacking. Knorr salad dressing instead of the promised yoghurt was unacceptable.
At no time during the meal or even on asking for and receiving the bill, were we asked if we enjoyed the food. In fact we were largely ignored. As a result, we probably won't return. The large number of other people who came in did not seem to receive any better treatment. Customer attention is probably an area on which the management should focus if they wish to be successful when competing against some exceptional restaurants in this centre.
**** Lobster Trap, Naturally Yours Wellness Centre, cnr Culross and Main Road, Bryanston: 29 November 2014
A recently opened restaurant above Chez Girard and possibly one of the more expensive ones that we have been to eat. The furniture is surprisingly all plastic and minimalist. Greeting was warm and the lighting very good for intimate dining. They do not have a wine list but a wine column displaying the various bottles and the prices. I chose the Anura Chardonnay. This proved to be an excellent choice and one of the best wines I have savoured in a long time. My partner opted for mango juice and was not disappointed. He chose the fried fresh hake and I chose the Seafood Millefeuille. The hake was pronounced very good. Alas the sauce on my choice proved too sweet and was returned for rectifying. The replacement was very good as I could now taste the flavours instead.
I am endlessly puzzled by chefs who think that a tomato-based sauce requires sugar. That apart, the food is good and the wine choice excellent. The Lobster Trap is an expensive restaurant with main courses all over R100 and starters from R50 upwards. The wines start from R140. Very worthwhile for a special occasion –and ask for no sugar to be put in the tomato sauces!
Right: Sign at the entrance to the restaurant. Disappointingly, there was no load shedding that evening, or a much more lively time could have ensued.
A visit after a long absence on a cold night as well, however the welcome was warm. We ordered a rock shandy and the house dry white to drink and started by sharing the taramasalata, which is always good. This was followed by the Ocean Basket Fish special, which was Pangasius, with well done crispy chips. The Ocean Basket really does these well! I had the seared salmon and avocado salad, which I had so enjoyed at the Fourways branch. Alas, this one was overly seasoned with vinegar and nowhere near as enjoyable. I won't be repeating it here again.
For good service and generally well-priced fish dishes, any Ocean Basket is a great choice.
Now for something completely different, and Local India is very different. They have the biggest screen we had ever seen, so if you like watching TV without sound, this is the place for you! The welcome was warm and service good, however many things on the menu were not available. This made deciding on a drink for my partner very difficult as there were no juices available at all. He ended up opting for hot chocolate instead. I chose the Neil Ellis Sauvignon Blanc from the limited wines available, and we decided to share the lamb curry special.
The latter came with a choice of Tastic or Basmati rice plus Nan or Roti. We chose Basmati and Rotis. I had my curry medium whilst my partner's was mild. The curries were good although the amount of starch was overwhelming.
Would we go again? Possibly for the good value for money, because it certainly was excellent value.
This restaurant is inside the closure off Coleraine Drive - first right after Summit Road. We arrived just before 19:00 and were promptly greeted and seated inside. Luigi's is a warm place to go on a cold night and very homely. We ordered hot chocolate and Cape Atlantic Sauvignon Blanc. The latter was a new wine and turned out to be a very pleasant choice indeed.
We decided to shared the Fegatini Luigi for starters and had an immediate misunderstanding with our waiter who thought we were asking for fettucine! Once this was resolved, we completed our order to include lasagne and calamari heads.
The fegatini (chicken livers) was good with a touch of chilli and also plenty for two people. The calamari heads with their sauce proved extremely good as there was a range of flavours which brought out the best in them. The lasagne met the standard. Service was good, the atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming. A place to go to again.
*** Piatto, Benmore Gardens Shopping Centre, Corner Grayston Drive and Benmore Road, Benmore, 17 April 2014 reviewed by Rick
There are some sixteen Piatto Restaurants in South Africa. They do mainly Italian and Mediterranean food but, in case that doesn't suit you, you can also get wraps, burgers, and even sushi.
It was a chilly evening. Judith found the more popular Col’Cacchio Pizzeria opposite to be too noisy, so we moved to Piatto. Lisa was a model of attention (not having much else to do). We had a garlic Focaccia as a starter, followed by (Bolognese) Lasagne for me and Penne Arrabiata for Judith, with a Buitenverwagting Buiten Blanc as the wine and hot chocolate to keep out the cold.
The food was wholesome and substantial. Possibly due to the starter, we did not finish the main courses, which were just as good the next day.
***** (Again) Chez Girard, Naturally Yours Wellness Centre, 453 Main Road cor Culross, Bryanston, 15 March 2014
A wedding anniversary is a great time to go out for a special meal and Chez Girard is a great place to celebrate! We were immediately made welcome by Christian and his staff, who gave us each a complementary glass of wine. As usual, we were tempted to start with a special salad to go with the hot freshly made bread! Drinks of choice were Cappucino for my partner and wonderful husband of 24 years plus the Griffin Sauvignon Blanc for myself. We chose duck and kudu for our main course. The duck was declared excellent and my kudu was absolutely perfect. As usual the choice of vegetables was well presented and tasty.
The evening could not have been better and I had enough kudu for lunch!
***** Chez Girard, Naturally Yours Wellness Centre, 453 Main Road cor Culross, Bryanston, 12 October 2013
The pure joy of finding this restaurant open! More importantly, obtaining all the contact details and opening hours, as they are not displayed on the door. Chez Girard is open Monday to Wednesday for breakfast and lunch. From Thursday to Saturday, they also do dinner and are very popular so booking is essential.
This little restaurant seats about forty people inside and outside. As ever, Christian and his staff are welcoming, attentive and friendly. The breakfast menu looked good and interesting, however, as it was nearly lunchtime, I decided on a salad. Specifically the Spicy Calamari and Prawn one, which was so good! The contrasting flavours of chilli and sour cream blended well with the perfectly cooked prawn and calamari. The salad ingredients were fresh and colourful. I enjoyed it with a glass of good white wine, savouring every moment.
There is always pleasure in renewing an old acquaintance.
On the way to "Hats Off", we stopped here for a bite to eat. Very fifties in decor and with the toilets up steep winding stairs, not a venue for the physically challenged, however, it is a place to take the entire family (and to leave the noisier ones!).
We chose their calamari starter and the Chicken Health Burger accompanied by Tall Horse Sauvignon Blanc by the glass and mango juice. Tall Horse is as dependable and enjoyable as the Darling wines. The calamari starter was very good. The health side of the chicken burger was dubious but it was otherwise enjoyable.
Bongani gave us cheerful and good service. A great place to go with young children and to watch sport. Also good for groups who want to enjoy the boisterous atmosphere.
My husband and I are old supporters of Snoekies in Hout Bay so when we saw the franchise in our area, we grabbed a bite there one afternoon.
Robby ordered double fillet of grilled hake and chips and I ordered grilled calamari and chips. My calamari was so tough that it was barely edible and if you think you’re getting the normal grilled calamari tubes…think again. This was a calamari steak that had been sliced and pan fried L . Sadly even the chips were not great as they were underdone. Won’t go there again….EVER!
Snoekies Chilli Lane has since closed.
This was not a good restaurant experience.
Perfectly cooked seafood with great service in pleasant surroundings – a failsafe venue for fish enthusiasts that is definitely upmarket from Ocean Basket.
In a previous review on queuing for Tasha’s I mentioned the fact that there was no queue at Fishmongers and perhaps implied that they weren’t worth visiting. I take that back. It’s certainly easier to get a table at Fishmongers and that’s why we first ended up there late one evening after seeing a movie but we were pleasantly surprised and I want to sing their praises.
We were warmly welcomed and quickly seated by friendly and efficient staff. The manager made a special point of visiting the all the tables to ensure that all was well.
The house wine –a dry Zevenwacht Sauvignon Blanc– is delicious and inexpensive and that’s saying something for someone from the UK who’s used to sampling lots of varieties of Sauvignon Blanc. One of my all time favourites is the Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which I always savour at the Caviar House and Prunier Seafood Bar at Heathrow Airport before I board my flight but I am happy to recommend the Zevenwacht wine as an inexpensive alternative.
There is no better way to start a meal than sharing a platter of crispy deep fried squid heads with a lemon and mayonnaise dip. I followed that with another starter –only because I wasn’t that hungry– of an avocado and seafood salad that was so delicious and refreshing, I re-ordered it the second time I visited. My sister ordered the Pangolin because they had run out of the Hake goujons and loved it. The second time we visited we took a friend along and they had their deep fried Hake goujons with chips which they adored while I re-ordered my seafood and avocado salad as previously mentioned.
I am very happy to recommend this restaurant as a fail-safe venue for seafood lovers. I am pleased to add that the tables are now sought after and it may be wise to book ahead.
The new kids on the block! Went there for coffee in the morning and suggested we return for lunch. The coffee was great and the breakfast menu looked really good. If you like early business meetings, this could well be the place to meet.
We did go for lunch and were blown away by the service and the management! Great wine list and a lunch menu which just increased my desire to eat! Such exciting combinations of herbs and other things - failed to ask for the dinner menu.
This is a really different place to eat at and their menu has star rankings for me. We ordered Salmon fish cakes with cabbage and fennel salad plus the Senza burger with crispy chips. The fennel was a bit shy in the cabbage salad but we were thanked for drawing attention to this. The fish cakes were excellent and the burger simply magnificent with really crispy chips!
I can recommend the Wildekrans Chenin Blanc - hadn't come across it before but it is a really good wine.
Service is five star and their lower level can be booked for parties - there is a bar down there as well. This is a restaurant that deserves to go far!
For the finest views of our Sandton skyline, the patio of the Higher Ground Restaurant is perfectly perched overlooking the manicured lawns of the school’s cricket playing fields and the border wooded trees. On a clear and balmy evening – as was the evening we sat out there – the neon-lit outlines of the Sandton Convention Centre and the stunning Norton Rose building are a wonderful backdrop to a dinner with friends. On the same evening, the last day of the short half term break, a cricket match was being played under floodlight and cheering parents filled the patio. My friend has two grandchildren at the school and has been coming here for years. It’s her favourite restaurant in Bryanston and she takes weekly walks with another friend in the sprawling school grounds before sitting down for a cooling drink and light meal.
We had arrived a little later than planned last Wednesday evening and perhaps because of the occasion of the cricket match and the specific clientele on the night, the staff were not exactly delighted to see us but we were given a good table on the patio and attended to with a smile. Having nibbled on cheese and wine at an event beforehand, we decided on light meals and sparkling water to drink. My friends ordered a starter of calamari tubes in a creamy lemon butter sauce and a crumbed chicken breast with spicy peppadews and avocado in a soft tortilla wrap while I ordered a Greek souvlaki of thyme-grilled chicken kebab in a warm pita with tomato salsa and minted tzatziki. The meals looked very appetizing when they arrived although I noticed that my chicken kebabs were not served in the pita but on skewers laid over a pita that was spongier than the normal Greek pita I am familiar with. My friend who had ordered the calamari starter was a little disappointed with her choice as was I with mine. My texture of the chicken tasted as if it had been boiled first and then stuck under the grill and was a little tasteless even with the salsa. The friend who is the regular visitor enjoyed her wrap so either we have different tastes and expectations or we just happened to pick the wrong dishes the wrong night. I am hoping it is the latter as I would love to eat here again if just for the beautiful setting and the view.
The restaurant opened in January 2010 and the kitchen is run by the top catering company, Wakeford and Sons. The restaurant offers a comprehensive breakfast menu, a main a la carte menu, a separate bar menu and afternoon tea. The indoor space is both spacious and cosy with a huge log fireplace that must be lovely on colder winter days. It compares favourably in value with other restaurants in the area and is open from 07:00-22:00 Tuesday to Thursday, 07:00-24:00 on Friday and Saturday and from 08:00 - 18:00 on Sunday.
Website address: http://www.highergroundrestaurant.com/menu.php Contact details: St. Stithians College Property, 40 Peter Place, Randburg, Johannesburg. Phone 011 024 3433.
This is a very busy and noisy centre, however, going into Kai Thai, the screens made for a more intimate atmosphere and it was relaxing. There was a sense of ease and timelessness. We ordered their spring rolls to start and these were tightly packed, unfortunately with mostly cabbage: Not my partner's favourite vegetable. However the pastry was perfect. We then followed with Pad Thai for my partner and Seafood rice for me. Pad Thai is a chicken noodle dish and looked stunningly unexciting. In fact it was a mess and seems to have worked fast on his digestive system, because he rushed to the loo soon after eating it. The Seafood rice was supposed to been medium hot. Chillies were apparent but hardly hot. The seafood was abundant and the rice overwhelming. Sadly it was pretty tasteless. The Porcupine Sauvignon Blanc was its dependable self.
Excellent service - pity about the food.
This restaurant is favourably situated opposite the Ster Kinekor cinema on the top floor of Cedar Square. It’s always packed with people in the evenings and this is not surprising given its location, pleasant layout and décor. It looks inviting but unfortunately the food doesn’t live up to expectations.
I first visited for lunch with my parents and sister in January 2013 after seeing Skyfall. It was a hot day and we sat in the pleasant outside balcony where jets of cooling mist kept us from wilting. My parents are vegetarian and they ordered a vegetarian pizza to share. They liked it but preferred the pizzas at Col’Cacchio. My sister who was saving herself for a dinner invitation that evening ordered the starter portion of peri peri livers on toast and was very satisfied with it. I ordered the seafood linguine from the special of the day menu and found it completely tasteless; even the addition of chilli and garlic making no difference.
I visited again this month after seeing Lincoln. The place was buzzing with after-cinema crowds and people just out on a Friday evening. My sister had booked otherwise it can be difficult to get a table. We were courteously greeted and seated quite quickly. I decided to order from the main menu this time to see if it made a difference. I ordered the Veal Marsala with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables and my sister ordered calamari. It wasn’t bad but the sauce was a little too sweet for my taste especially as the vegetable accompaniment was sweet butternut.
I can also say that I was disappointed with the ice-cream given its supposedly Italian origin. It looks wonderful but the strawberry ice-cream I ordered did not taste of strawberry.
If you’re not too fussy about food and enjoy a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in nice surroundings with good waiting staff then this is a perfectly nice place to visit.
An expedition for computer screens ended with lunch here. Right next to Tasha's, they were not as busy and we found a table easily. However, big complaint, which was not their fault, was the dreadful piped music from the centre. This made conversation difficult. We ordered Appletiser and Zevenwacht Blanc to drink, with hake and Seafood Avocado to eat.
The service was excellent and management apologised for the music. The Seafood Avocado sauce was too sweet - I should have known! The grilled hake and crispy chips more than met expectations. I would recommend them and suggest everyone who hates the piped music to complain to centre management.
***** Tandoori Oven Restaurant, Bryan Park Centre, Grosvenor and Cumberland , Bryanston 29; September 2012
Not the warmest night out but with sporting events gluing everyone to their screen, it meant a quiet night out! A friendly restaurant which is very conscious of its cultural links. Small and set in the corner, it seems to be the only restaurant here. We settled for hot chocolate and Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc, then ordered cheese samoosas. These were very tasty and made in the traditional flat triangle style.
This was followed by us sharing a half Tandoori chicken accompanied by a garlic naan. The chicken was wonderful - succulent and accompanied by salad. The naan was just right.
All together a worthwhile experience with friendly service and plenty of time to talk and enjoy the evening. I can recommend them.
We enjoyed the meal and were particularly taken by the sign "Rowdy Children will be Used as Bait"!
Contact Details for John Dory's Fish and Grill: Telephone 011 511 0208, Fax 011 511 0209, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org - Address: Shop E1, Montecasino Piazza, Cnr William Nicol Drive & Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg.
As a newish resident in South Africa I hadn't yet been to Tasha's until one opened in the Nicolway and then I wondered why my sisters were queuing to get a table when there were empty tables at a number of the restaurants nearby. The first time we got a table we had breakfast which was nice but I thought our local Junipa's was as good if not a tad better. Whenever we've tried to get a table at any other time of the day, the queue was always too long and I've never since seen a quiet Tasha's.
Fortunately we managed to get a table the other day just as someone was leaving it and I finally realized why Tasha's is the place to go.
The menu is nothing fancy - basic fare found in most fast food outlets in South Africa but made to perfection. There were sandwiches made with a selection of breads and fillings, tramezzinis, toasted sandwiches, salads, pastas, light lunches of steak and chips, fish and chips, lamb chops, fishcakes and the usual breakfast menu.
I ordered a burger and my sister ordered a Hoagy sandwich. The food looked inviting on the plates when they served them up. I had to de-stack my burger in order to get stuck in but once I did I was in heaven. The medium-rare burger I'd ordered was divine - just this side of rare and still pink and melt-in-the-mouth tender. The buns were crispy without being hard and the mushroom topping was creamily delicious.
My sister's Hoagy sandwich - thin slices of steak with onions and mushrooms and cheese and jalapenos served in a subway roll big enough to share or take home the remaining half - was also going down a treat. They were both served with chips, the like of which I'd never seen before - long noodle-shaped strands made of potato served in a mound like spaghetti with the soft texture of slap-chips. Sprinkled with salt and drizzled with chilli oil, they made a wonderful accompaniment. Definitely one of the best burgers I'd eaten in a while.
I determined to take my friend there the next time we went out for lunch. It was a weekday lunchtime and there was still a queue but luckily only a ten minute wait as there were only three ahead of us. My friend was a little reluctant to queue and pointed out that The Fishmonger next door was virtually empty but I persuaded her to wait. Nicolway's restaurants do not yet have a licence to sell alcohol so I had brought a half-filled bottle of Vergelen Sauvignon Blanc along with me and the waiter was happy to pour us two large glasses while we waited for our table.
When we were shown to our table, the waiter brought our bottle and glasses to the table for us. Tasha's is also one of those restaurants where the waiters look happy in their work. There is always one around and they are definitely attentive and knowledgeable about the food served in their restaurant. We took a bit of time choosing from the vast menu but I eventually plumped for fish and chips and my friend ordered a ham and egg sandwich.
My waitress suggested I have the fish grilled rather than
deep-fried and I was grateful for her advice. It was perfectly cooked and
delicious with fresh green peas and crispy French fries; home-made tartare sauce
and melted butter was served separately in small ramekins so one could add
calories if one wished. I didn't leave behind a morsel. My friend was glad we'd
queued. South Africans already know it's good and I will be singing Tasha's
praises when I visit London next week and will certainly take my friends along
when they come to visit me here.
We went there on a cold evening wanting warm curry! The great thing was that we were seated overlooking the wonderful view across to the Magaliesburg! Unfortunately, they no longer do rice flour poppadums, which was a disappointment. We ordered a Kali dhal and a vegetable briyani, plus Lassi and wine. The lassi and wine were spot on as was the mild Kali Dhal. The vegetable biriyani was not, as it consisted of frozen vegetables not fresh.
It was replaced with a hot Kali Dhali - which was great. All in all a relaxing evening and good food - just don't order vegetable biriyani!
Contact Details for Maharaja Restaurant: 011 463 1354, 011 463 8879.
Melt away your cares in the new bakery and chocolatier-cum-café on the lower floor of the new Nicolway Shopping Centre. The delightful Melt is owned and conceived by a mother and son who are both on hand to oversee the running of the place. With its shelves stacked with truffles and slabs of chocolate in pretty boxes and packaging, a table laden with carrot cake, squidgy chocolate fudge cake, lemon-frosted sponge and iced cupcakes, a variety of silver teapots and other bits of frippery, it reminded me of the gingerbread house but without the wicked witch.
Taking the opportunity to rest my weary feet after walking around all morning, I took a seat at the only empty one of five wooden tables and anguished over what to order. It was elevenses and they offered a small selection of tasty sandwiches made with wholesome health bread – chicken and avo, Emmental cheese and ham and humus with roasted vegetables. In the end I plumped for the scone with English Breakfast tea. One can judge a venue by the basics and tea and scones are basic.
The scone was huge and was served alongside a silver-plated carousel containing jam, cream and cheese, a small dish of butter and tea in a silver-plated teapot. This could easily be shared between two as I got at least four cups of tea out of that so the R40 bill would be very reasonable. The scone was wonderfully light and crumbly and there were more than enough of the extras to have some left over. I honestly didn’t need to eat anything else till early evening.
One can sit facing outwards and peruse the people walking by - which is always interesting - or face inwards and watch them make the chocolate or bring in the freshly baked cakes from the bakery behind the counter. The waitresses are friendly and attentive without being intrusive and I can definitely recommend it as a place worth visiting and a welcome haven from the din of the busy restaurants upstairs.
Contact Details for Melt in Nicolway.
As it was Rick's birthday and I had a Ratepayers' meeting, we went out and here starts an ongoing fishy tale! We decided on the Ocean Basket again, but in a different place. This is a big restaurant with an outside balcony looking across the centre. The staff are very friendly and attentive.
We ordered the Prawn Special and the Sole with the usual well-done chips, Robertsons Sauvignon Blanc and hot chocolate. Unlike other Ocean Baskets, the bread basket was less than generous and unaccompanied by the usual garlic and chilli condiments, which never arrived at all.
The chips were done to order and the prawns plentiful and good. Rick was somewhat disappointed with his sole, which he found lacked its usual delicate favour. A Kahlua Pedro really hit the right spot for him although my filter coffee was a little plaintive.
Brian Mlotshwa gave us very good service and it was generally value for money.
Contact Details for Ocean Basket, Coachman's Crossing – Tel 011 023 0757.
We decided to take time out and wander around newer centres starting with lunch here. The restaurant has re-opened following extensive renovations at the centre. Being particularly hungry, we started with Chicken livers, a glass of Chardonnay and an Appletiser. The chicken livers were good as was the bread.
Next we followed with Tuna Fish cakes for Rick (can you remember seeing fish cakes at a restaurant?) and the Meze platter for one, which comprised calamari, squid heads, taramasalata and tzatziki with pita. The squid heads were over-salted and had to be replaced. The replacements were fine.
The fish cakes were large and tasty. So here the food got full marks but the service was patchy and inattentive, which detracted from our experience.
Fish Diner Bryanston has since closed.
*** Ocean Basket and ***** the movie "Material", Fourways Mall, Fourways, 18 February 2012, reviewed by Rick
We stopped at Ocean Basket for a bite before going to see the newly-released film, "Material".
The seafood platter for one, with stir-fried vegetables on the side, was a good choice as it provided me with fish and Judith with seafood, which she enjoyed. The fish was salty, despite our request for no salt, and the requested crispy chips had to be sent back to be crisped properly. Otherwise a good meal.
And the film? "Material" is the best we've seen in a long time: Riaad Moosa's stand-up comedy had us in stitches, contrasted with the dramatic conflict with his staid father maintaining traditional values and a family feud. The resolution was truly heartwarming. Look out for the canny granny!
Riaad is "South Africa's best Islamic comedian –possibly South Africa's only Islamic comedian! He says: "People ask me where I get my material, and I always say 'at the Oriental Plaza, where you get great deals'."
Contact Details for Ocean Basket, Fourways – Shop L20, Junxion Court, Fourways Mall, Fourways Boulevard, off William Nicol Drive and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. Tel 011 023 4644 / 0860 FEEESH, Fax: 086 689 8982.
Sharon generously invited the Ward 109 Party committee to an end-of-year get-together at The Baron –thanks, Sharon!
The Baron is famous for its steaks: Several of our party of eleven had steak, and it did not disappoint. Others tried the spare ribs, pronounced good, and the sausage in a roll, likewise. I ordered oxtail, which came with mash: Delicious, and too big to finish at one sitting.
No-one had space for desserts. The cappuccino, coffee, Irish coffee, and Dom Pedro with Peach Schnapps that various of us finished with, were pronounced good.
It is essential to book well in advance at this time of year and the restaurant was packed with groups having their year-end parties. This made it a bit noisy. The acoustics of the main room could be better, and it was difficult to have a conversation with anyone more than one person away. There is TV, with the sound turned down, as a sort of moving wallpaper if the company is not entertaining enough.
All-in-all a lovely evening with good food at a price to match.
The closest restaurant to the cinema where we went to see Puss in Boots. Prices have escalated in the past year, which was surprising as they actually seem to have risen out of proportion with other restaurants in the area. We decided to share a pescatore pizza and admired the view out across Riverbend - it is spectacular and makes the visit very worthwhile.
Service is good, but check the wine pricing as wine by the glass needs careful choosing as prices range from R30 upwards! I chose the Graham Beck Chardonnay and Rick had Appletiser. The pizza was somewhat lacking on seafood, but had a good crisp base. We followed with a sorbet and tiramisu. The latter was too much and both were very good.
Contact Details for Ciao Baby Cucina – Shop Number: U6.1 and U6.2, Cedar Square Shopping Centre, Cedar & Willow Roads, Fourways. Tel 011 705 2770, Fax 086 610 8897, e-mail email@example.com, web site.
**** Cesco's Portuguese Restaurant & Pub (Kelvin), 18 Southway just south of Kelvin Village Shopping Centre, 19 November 2011
A very different restaurant and one that was booked out on the night, although we did wonder where the patrons for the area below us were, as this remained empty the whole time we sat and ate in the non-smoking bar! The car park in huge, but needs to be much larger as, when we left, the road was also full of parked cars. This certainly points to Cesco's popularity and we are interested in joining the Science Fiction group (who had their annual dinner) in the future.
The first thing that struck us was that they had possibly too few waiters to cope with the patrons. The second thing was that the waiters were cool under pressure. They only had Appletizer and red Grapetizer in plastic bottles; this was of concern since these ones are enhanced with preservatives, which destroys the flavour and purity of the drink. Fortunately, white Grapetizer was still available preservative-free in glass. The Tall Horse Sauvignon Blanc was a great find – too few restaurants stock this really good, affordable range of wines!
On the food front, we started with Chicken livers and squid heads, accompanied by a chilli sauce on the side. A bit too much parsley in chilli made it difficult to locate the chillies but once found they were suitably strong! For our main course we had the bar menu's liver and onions and the prego roll. Both were good and I made an satisfying end to the chillies with the prego!
Service was good and the evening was very enjoyable. The other parties in the restaurant seem to be enjoying themselves too –definitely a place for corporate events and parties!.
A very busy and successful restaurant that has moved into a franchise. We arrived without booking on a whim and were seated within minutes. However, we would advise you to book. We looked at the menu and decided on three starters rather than main courses – calamari, black mushroom and chourico. I ordered white wine –a very pleasant Sauvignon Blanc– and my companion ordered Appletiser. The Black Mushroom was rather over cheesed with both Feta and Mozzarella, and the Chourico was rather strong on its own. The calamari, served with spinach rather than rice, was excellent. Service was somewhat confused so perhaps Fridays are not the best time to go. A little noisy, however the ambience was good.
The restaurant is well attended, service is acceptable. My feeling is that the franchise needs to look at how it is maintaining its standards.
After the unfortunate experience at Giovanni's, we felt that trying the Baron out might be a good idea! So off we set on a much warmer night. The Baron has a large non-smoking dining area, which they expanded some time ago, and we were offered a table towards the back. A request to turn down the music was complied with, which meant that we could hear each other talk.
We ordered an Appletiser and a bottle of Chardonnay before perusing the menu. (See I still feel mellow!) Then we ordered just our usual one course. Inevitably, I ordered calamari grilled with a lemon sauce, rice and a side order of spinach. My companion ordered his favourite, liver and onions.
What really delights about the Baron is the crisp linen and heavy cutlery. It feels like a special evening out, with flower arrangements around the room, mirrors and brass fittings. Old fashioned brought up to date with good service and greater lightness of touch.
In good time, our food arrived. It was well presented and the spinach was excellent. So were the calamari and the liver and onions. We dined in contentment, thoroughly enjoying the evening, the well-timed attention of our waiter and our surroundings. We ended our stay with a cup of coffee, also good.
All in all a good place to go, they were busy and the waiters cope easily with the patrons.
This was a party of four, headed by Winston, and completed by Rick, Lynne and myself. This is a boutique restaurant with an expansive host in Paulo, who breaks into song from time to time! He imports very good Italian red wine and makes extremely good food. Our choices were the liver and onions, Putannesca pasta, Prawn pasta and the AOP (Garlic, Oil and hot peppers) pasta. It was a leisurely meal enjoyed in good company, which was enhanced by the excellent food and wine. We finished off with coffee and felt content. A good way to end the week, Cucina Italiana is to be recommended.
This restaurant has been there for some years and is no longer part of the franchise. It is a warm and friendly restaurant on entering and the staff are attentive. I was disappointed that the advertised clam pasta dish was not available. In fact it is very seldom available, as the restauranteur will only use unshelled clams. I then ordered the Linguine Squid Heads instead and my partner a Quattro Stagione pizza. The Leopards Leap Sauvignon Blanc came promptly and was good.
The food arrived in due course with the linguine served is a large copper pan, looking very festive. This reminded me that the Giovanni portion size is actually large enough for two people! On tasting the tomato sauce, however, I was overwhelmed by how incredibly sweet it was. I called our waiter and enquired if there was sugar in the sauce and discovered that there was. The cloying taste stayed with me for the rest of the night even though I had only taken one mouthful!
Even eating a slice of the excellent Quattro Stagione with its olives did not remove it. I do not appreciate being served a main course which tastes like half a bag of sugar has been dumped in it. No mention is made on the menu that sugar is used in the tomato dishes, putting diabetics at risk. I am at a loss as to why sugar is becoming a must-have in many main course dishes, as it is alien and also bad for people's health. Like over salting dishes makes them unacceptable to people who actually like to taste their food, using sugar again destroys the balance of the other flavours completely.
The owner was thoroughly unsympathetic: The recipe calls for sugar, he's been putting it in for 20 years, he doesn't care if it is bad for his guests, no-one else complains (they might of course not come back). Not recommended.
Contact Details for Giovanni's (if you really want to go there).
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For older reviews see Restaurant reviews for Rivonia and Morningside. Also see Restaurant reviews for Rivonia and Sunninghill and Restaurant reviews for Morningside. Lists of restaurants: Restaurants in Rivonia, Restaurants in Morningside .
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