One of the surefire ways to know you’ve made it here in Joburg? If you’ve successfully managed to withstand our rather harsh winters, of course. We’re happy to report that the dining scene remains one of the most dynamic parts of city life, with restaurants where you can shake off the frosty temperatures opening, pivoting and popping up in the City of Gold. So, the next time it’s too cold to leave the house or you’re trying to figure out a dinner-duvet scenario, warm up the best way with these three new gourmand experiences that are worthy of your bucket list.
Dinner and a show doesn’t have to mean pizza and Netflix. After all, what’s the point of eating out if you’re just looking at your plate? Boring! The African-chic Eclipse Restaurant, located on the fifth floor of the brand-new Hotel Sky in Sandton, is a dinner theatre that’s rolling dinner and a show into one creative (and tasty) package. Sit back in the opulent, over-the-top dining room – with animal print dining chairs, crystal chandeliers that make for a glittering attraction and a myriad of unique accessories to add the final touches – and be transported to settings as diverse as a Russian cabaret and a Tokyo nightclub while gazing at magnificent vistas and having a delicious meal. A destination for its setting alone, with huge windows that look over the glitzy malls and impressive office blocks of Sandton, this might be the most truly immersive dinner theatre experience in the city. As diners tuck into cold starters like oysters that beautifully combine exotic flavours in a bite-sized morsel or salmon tiradito with aji amarillo for a gentle, fruity hint of chilli, beauties suspend from the ceiling, leap through hoops and dance on poles. The full experience includes feasting on the Private School – a wagyu primal cut that’s prepared to highlight its unique flavour, complemented by truffle salt and roots. We also like the indulgent Return of the Mac, which features a cheese sauce loaded with heavy cream and tender chunks of lobster baked together with pasta to gooey perfection. The pièce de résistance is the Deep Forest: Made with dark chocolate mousse, cherry sorbet, mascarpone vanilla whip and Aero chocolate, this dessert is a cut above the rest and will blow your mind. We aren’t doing this place justice, but we also don’t want to spoil the surprises in store for you (and there are many!). Bookings are essential, so book in advance if you fancy something a little more exciting than your typical date night or mundane dinner experience.
150 West Street, Sandton
010 880 0132
In the buzz of Fourways (especially in Fourways Mall), a serene lunch or dinner spot is truly a special find. Not only is the meat at Wickleys Steakhouse top-notch, with fillet, rib eye, sirloin and T-bone among the most popular cuts – it’s a slick operation and the restaurant just oozes charm. Unlike the usual cave-like, wood-paneled steak joints in Joburg, this thoroughly welcoming grill room feels fresh and elegant with a plant-laden verandah and a main room that’s no less glamorous, done out in brilliant jewel tone colours such as ruby and sapphire. If the menu has a star, it has to be the extraordinary, melt-on-the-tongue rib eye, which has unrivalled sweetness and tenderness, decadently dressed with a silky-smooth Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and peppercorn sauce. However, the rump and tomahawk also have their story – they’re rich, complex and not easily forgotten – and the sides are equally worthy, particularly the crumbed mushrooms and onion rings. You’ll quickly believe the rumours about this new meat-focused restaurant! Of course, the wines are as spectacular as you’d expect, so great beef and great reds go hand in hand. If you’re feeling a bit girly and want to eat lite, try the perfectly pink pepper-crusted ostrich fillets. Aside from the grills, the chef also whips up delicate rainbow rolls (with your choice of salmon or panko prawn), butterflied queen prawns in a luscious lemon butter sauce and Norwegian salmon that’s moist and flaky within with a golden crust. Also make sure you try a starter like the wings tossed in Jack Daniel’s hot sauce, or the ‘firecracker’ prawns in a fresh tomato-based sauce with a splash of ouzo … heavenly beyond words! They’re served alongside specialty cocktails from the Watermelon & Ginger Mojito to the Crisp Cucumber Crush. And the red velvet cake, with a soft ‘velvet’ texture slathered in cream cheese icing, is so fluffy you can definitely fit it in. We promise!
Shop 22-24, Fourways Mall, corner of William Nicol Drive & Fourways Boulevard, Fourways
011 516 0218
Blue Rock Bar & Grill
Raise a glass to Blue Rock Bar & Grill. With a laidback vibe and memorable cocktails that run the gamut from the sophisticated to the eccentric, this new eatery is making a name for itself among 4th Avenue Parkhurst’s foodie scene. The space is unfussy but thoughtfully designed, with bartenders swirling libations to the retro soundtrack of R&B from behind a swanky bar. On weekends, don’t be surprised to find the bar crowded with people who are all digging into sharing platters and reaching for their cocktail jugs. Simple but perfectly executed lounge fare is just what you want when the terrific cocktails include complex ingredients and are layered with artisan spirits and flavourful tinctures. Pretty much anything on the appetisers menu is worth ordering: The golden crumbed mushrooms, jalapeño-heaped nachos, pan-fried squid heads in a lemon butter sauce and jalapeño poppers with a crispy exterior and cream cheese filling. While you decide, order a round of excellent, gin-focused cocktails like the cinnamon-spiced Cape Kiss made with gin, apple, strawberry and cinnamon sticks. We also recommend the sweet, delicious Chichi Blue – made with rum, blue curaçao, pineapple and a dash of coconut milk, it’s sure to give you a taste of the tropics. Be warned: These beautiful, smooth-tasting cocktails are highly potent! If you try one thing on the main menu, make sure it’s the queen prawns with a decadent garlic butter sauce or the thick, richly marbled rib eye that’s dry-aged and then grilled to a deep char. Other tasty plates include the vegetarian grilled black mushrooms with spinach, feta and rocket as well as the grilled butternut stuffed with creamy spinach and topped with melted mozzarella. For dessert, whoever said it couldn’t be enjoyed by the glass? Kick back with the rose petal-infused Turkish Delite cocktail – vodka, cranberry, rose water and lime – which proves that treats can be just as tasty when in cocktail form.
38 4th Avenue, Parkhurst
082 783 4994