Freshly Plated: Joburg restaurant news – February 2019 edition

The first two months of 2019 saw a slate of exciting developments in the always-changing Joburg dining scene. As ever in this busy town there are plenty of new venues that have cropped up to keep your eye on, from Publik Wine Bar in Rosebank to Truffles on the Park in Sandton, to Keyes Art Mile’s Afrikoa Café and “bean-to-bar” chocolate concept shop and Melville’s chic La Petite Maison (pictured).

To keep you up to speed on what’s new in Joburg this month, here’s our round-up of all the latest Joburg restaurant and nightlife news.

A craft gin pop-up and the new Afrikoa Café at Keyes Art Mile

In mid-February 2019 the Trumpet building at Rosebank’s art-centric Keyes Art Mile welcomed its latest tenant, Afrikoa Café. This is the first brick-and-mortar outpost for the eponymous Cape Town-based chocolate brand. Afrikoa promotes itself as the first ‘bean-to-bar’ company in South Africa to produce chocolates made from cocoa beans sourced directly from African farmers. Now Joburgers can get their hands on some of Afrikoa’s decadent chocolate-inspired baked goods and bars for take-away, or pull up a seat at the new café space in the Trumpet building’s expansive atrium for an accompanying craft coffee or a flute of premium champagne.

One floor above at Mesh Club’s sleek MIX Cocktail Bar craft gin is firmly on the menu with a fun new pop-up by premium craft gin brand Monkey 47 taking over the bar for the next six months. Alongside the exclusive Monkey 47 Schwarzwald dry gin cocktails, also look out for regular guest spirit events, including cocktail creation how-to evenings and tasting nights led by new resident mixologist Devin Cross (aka the drinkscoach).

New on Bolton Corner: goodbye Bolton Road Collection, hello Publik Wine Bar

Bolton Road Collection, the popular contemporary-dining restaurant that anchored Rosebank’s trendy Bolton Corner development, shut its doors in early February for a secretive refresh, with the promise of something new and exciting by the same management slated to open next month.

Meanwhile two doors up a new wine bar Publik, a minimalist Cape Town import, has taken the space briefly occupied by the Speak No Evil bar. Serving up a menu of sustainably produced, boutique South African wine labels in an intimate (and very small), Scandinavian-inspired space, there’s also a choice of mouthwatering small bites on offer, including charcuterie boards and whipped ricotta.

New In Sandton: Happy Hour at The Course and lunch with a view at Truffles on the Park

At the elegant restaurant and bar The Course (opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station) an exciting new DJ night Sound Serve is launching on Friday and Saturday evenings from 16:00 to 20:00. Kaya FM’s DJ Tha Muzik is on the decks while there’s a dangerously tempting 2-for-1 special on drinks that will have you making the crucial decision to start the weekend as early as possible.

Just down the road, Truffles on the Park, located inside the lush surrounds of Sandton Central’s Mushroom Farm Park, finally opened its doors this month. The fresh menu, inspired by local produce and what’s in season, coupled with a swooping view across the greenery of the park from this airy, light-filled bistro, make it a refreshing new destination among the crowded Sandton dining scene.

New in Melville: Mootee welcomes Smoking Kills dive bar and fine food at La Petite Maison

If you had worried that many of Melville’s newer venues seemed to be shirking the neighbourhood’s long-established reputation for grungy, smoky dive bars, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the team of bartenders who opened the avant-garde cocktail bar Mootee bar, have reconfigured their unusual bar to make space for an adjoining venue called Smoking Kills. The new look Mootee still serves up unique and bold cocktails, proudly mixed with authentic, exotic African botanicals and served with much fanfare, while Smoking Kills leans more towards simpler cocktails made with great craft spirits and a limited selection of craft beers, plus the option to smoke anywhere you want inside (Mootee still gets the lion’s share of the space, including the great alleyway.

Another exciting new Melville development is the opening of the much-awaited La Petite Maison, a tiny sliver of a place selling hands down some of the finest food in this side of the city. Read our new review of La Petite Maison here.

Urbanologi at 1 Fox Precinct’s new sustainable food philosophy

One of Joburg’s trendiest urban eateries, Urbanologi at the 1 Fox Precinct in historic Ferreirasdorp, overhauled its menu in February 2019, presenting a renewed commitment to its ‘Project 150’ food philosophy – a dedication to sourcing all restaurant produce sustainably from within a 150km radius and an aim to create zero food waste. Head chef Jack Coetzee’s new menu reflects this responsible Slow Food mantra, changing regularly to adapt to what is in season and with extensive information provided on the local farm or producer who provided the key ingredients in each dish.

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