Rhythm of the night

Gold Reef City’s Back o’ the Moon restaurant is a celebration of good music and good times

Rhythm of the night


If you’re paying a visit to Gold Reef City, you can’t miss out on an evening of live entertainment and decadence at Back o’ the Moon. The restaurant borrows its name from an old nearby shebeen, a Sophiatown hotspot that served as a focal point for jazz and politics during the 1950s and ’60s. (In fact, starring as Back o’ the Moon’s shebeen queen in the 1959 jazz opera King Kong was what launched the late, great Miriam Makeba’s career.)

Today, Back o’ the Moon’s glitzy, luxe decor recalls the glamour of the mid-20th century in every detail, from the plush carpet and silver service to the glinting mirrors and gold finishes everywhere you look. This is the perfect spot to visit if you feel like dressing up, digging in and letting your hair down a little.


Executive Chef Vaughan Assam’s menu is another exercise in nostalgia – an absolutely delicious one. Begin the evening in old-school style with freshly shucked oysters, creamy garlic mussels, escargot in a blue-cheese and garlic sauce, or shrimp cocktail updated with red pepper and a Bloody Mary gel. The classics don’t stop there: More carnivorous diners will definitely want to whet their appetites with delicate beef carpaccio, beef trinchado in a ruby Port-style reduction, and peri-peri chicken livers.


The mains are a hearty affair at Back o’ the Moon, with your choices ranging from flame-grilled steak and seafood to curry and vegetarian risotto. But do yourself a favour and indulge in one of Back ‘o the Moon’s signature dishes: We recommend the oxtail potjie, served on a bed of samp and beans; as well as the succulent slow-braised Sophiatown lamb shank, served with dumplings and chunky vegetables. The expertly roasted duck with a Calvados glaze is another
hit with regular patrons.

If you still have room – and you will want to save some – familiarise yourself with the dessert menu, where you will find delights such as ‘hot lava’ pudding, chocolate-brownie fondant and the proudly South African malva pudding, served with vanilla crème anglaise.


Finish off your evening in the Moon Light Lounge, the adjoining Cognac and cigar bar. It’s the perfect spot to linger over a drink as you enjoy the contemporary
beats of the band.

PHOTOGRAPHY: sheldon moultrie; Photography assistant: Justin Coomber

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