In this week’s Pocket Blog we round up some of the best winter menus at Joburg restaurants including EB Social Kitchen and Bar, Rosto and Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff.
Mediterranean comfort food at EB Social Kitchen and Bar
Award-winning chef Russell Armstrong, who left Brisbane for Joburg (and still can’t get over the shock of Joburg minibus-taxi drivers whose love of playing chicken rivals his love of cooking it) has come up with a superb Mediterranean-inspired feast this winter. At the chic EB Social Kitchen and Bar in Hyde Park Corner he will be coaxing Joburgers out of hibernation with sharing plates of comfort food that bring together an enticing range of flavours from Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, France, Greece and the Middle East.
Our long list of favourite dishes from the winter menu include the fried halloumi and kataifi balls with lemon mayo, the beautifully presented gravadlax of beetroot stained salmon, cream cheese, pine nuts, rocket and compressed pineapple; and the seared fillet of sea bass with freekah pilaf, sweet bay prawns and bouillabaisse jus. We were delighted to see that Armstrong’s famous risotto, a staple since the restaurant launched, still has its place on the menu. Prepared with forest mushrooms and served with parmesan and truffle cream that must be mixed through, it’s always a richly satisfying dish.
For dessert there are three new delicious options. We tried them all and there’s no way we will declare a single winner. Bring friends so you can order all three and savour the taste of chocolate and halva parfait, Lebanese milk pudding with rose water and strawberry mousse and the pistachio meringue with apple and lime jelly, vanilla cream, raspberry and banana. Armstrong is a master at mixing flavours and textures in all of his dishes.
While there we recommend you order up one of EB Social Kitchen’s literary-inspired cocktails and enjoy the unexpected tree-filled view in a warm and chic setting, cosily tucked into one of Joburg’s most popular bookshops.
The best way to try a range of dishes is to order the Chef’s Selection – a five course lunch (R420) or seven course menu (R580) for two that is designed for sharing. For more on Russell Armstrong’s incredible list of culinary achievements.
Italian winter favourites at Rosto in Linden
Linden’s Rosto restaurant is celebrated for its delicious take on typical southern Italian street food – particularly their famous flavoursome rotisserie chicken pulsed with 1100 degrees of smoky heat. To reflect Italy’s great winter comfort food tradition Rosto has added a host of new dishes to the menu that include six varieties of polpette – classic Italian meatballs served in a wholesome tomato sugo and accompanied with crusty ciabatta. The restaurant is also launching a new weekly pork roast. Every Thursday the restaurant slowly cooks a whole deboned pig, rolled with rosemary, sage, roasted fennel, garlic and white wine – heaven for those whole love their Italian porchetta.
Westcliff Winter Experience
We have mentioned this before but thought it worth reminding you that you only have until the end of July to sample the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Winter Experience. Throughout the month the hotel’s famous grill restaurant Flames, with what is one of the most spectacular views of the urban forest that is Joburg’s northern suburbs, has been become a cosy winter retreat. You’ll find fire pits stationed across the terraces and a menu that includes Belgian hot chocolate and a choice of fondues and Asian hotpots. Bookings essential. The Westcliff Winter Fondue Experience costs R395 per person for lunch (weekdays only) or dinner.