• Taste of two cities

    From bowls of smoky ramen to the crispiest pork belly, here’s where to find your new favourite dish By Richard Holmes & Georgina Guedes
    Taste of two cities

    CAPE TOWN

    Tjing Tjing Torii
    A slice of Tokyo comes to Cape Town at this stylish Japanese eatery tucked away down a city-centre side street. The Tjing Tjing rooftop bar has long been popular, and now, after a major renovation and menu overhaul, the ground-floor Torii restaurant is set to fire up local palates. The menu is wide ranging, from hearty bowls of smoky tonkotsu ramen to pillowy steamed buns stuffed with sticky pork belly and Japanese pickles. It’s a colourful, quirky space, with manga-inspired artwork and buzzy neon lights. Topped with kazaridaru (decorative sake barrels), the bar is  well stocked with craft beer, Japanese sake and Tjing Tjing’s excellent house wines.
    165 Longmarket Street / 021 422 4374
    tjingtjing.co.za

    Upper Bloem
    Chef Andre Hill, formerly sous chef at Sea Point’s acclaimed La Mouette, heads up the pass at this stylish new addition to the buzzy Green Point strip. Small-plate dining is the focus, with a superb set menu of three courses, each consisting of a trio of plates to be shared between diners. Hill grew up in nearby Bo-Kaap, and the local influence is strong. While dishes change with the seasons, expect anything from smoked snoek pâté and samosa crisps to braised short rib with sweetbreads and tongue. Vegetarian options are available on request, and the playful dessert platter of reimagined classics is optional. The wine list is as engaging as the food, with a small selection of local boutique estates.
    65 Main Road, Green Point / 021 433 1442
    upperbloemrestaurant.co.za
     

    The Moveable Feast
    After his years living in Paris, Ernest Hemingway would have felt right at home at this classic French bistro, perched atop one of the city’s more popular hipster bars. French onion soup and hand-chopped beef tartare are de rigueur on the starters menu, while main courses include moules frites (mussels served in a white-wine cream with fries). Delicious. If you’re in a group, consider the1 kg côte de bœuf (rib-eye on the bone), or poisson en croûte de sel – kabeljou baked in a salt crust. It’s a charming spot with a lively open kitchen and great service. End the evening with a few drinks downstairs. Ernest would insist.
    13 Kloof Nek Road, Tamboerskloof / 087 897 9749
    themoveablefeast.co.za

    Swan Café
    Be whisked away to Paris at this charming crêperie, where striking murals adorn the walls and counter seating allows you to soak up the energy of the up-and-coming East City. The menu is dedicated to the art of the wafer-thin crêpe. If you’re new to it all, start simple, with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Old hand? Try one enlivened with caramelised apple and salted caramel or mixed berry compote. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Opt for the buckwheat-based galettes with savoury fillings. You won’t regret ordering one with smoked trout, cream cheese and dill. Hand-crafted blended teas complete the experience.
    Cnr Buitenkant & Barrack streets
    079 454 4758 / swancafe.co.za

    Sotano
    This popular brunch spot on the Mouille Point promenade has branched out on to Bree Street. It’s a light-filled space spread over two levels, with exposed-brick walls and crackling fires to cosy things up. The menu is firmly rooted in Mediterranean cuisine, with an extensive tapas selection dishing up the likes of crispy patatas bravas, calamari la plancha and beef empanadas. Order a selection for the table and tuck in. If you’re hungry, add one of the delicious flatbreads (try the Lebanese spiced ground beef, mint, yoghurt and coriander) to the order. Don’t want to share? The hearty main courses offer something for every palate.
    199 Bree Street / 021 422 0567
    sotano.co.za

    JOBURG

    Est Est Alea
    After eight years of running the Cube Tasting Kitchen in Parktown North, Chef Dario De Angeli felt that it was time for a change. Enter the evolved tasting restaurant Est Est Alea. Like its predecessor, the dining experience presents all facets of taste, texture, plating and serving styles. You have the option of a two- or three-course tasting menu for lunch, and nine courses for dinner. Expect a mix of reimagined and classic plates such as ‘Sunday roast as a salad’ (salted beef, cauliflower, broccoli, potato, gravy and beans), confit duck leg and springbok loin. The restaurant itself has minimalistic, industrial design sensibilities that somehow still manage to make patrons feel cosy. Warmth is added courtesy of a killer playlist of blues and jazz ditties to add auditory pleasure to the experience.
    Parknorth Heights, Fourth Avenue, Parktown North
    082 422 8158 / estestalea.co.za

    Farro
    Farro in Illovo is the new dining brainchild of Alex and Eloise Windebank, creators of the now-closed Kramerville Bakery. They announced their intention of opening a casual fine-dining destination, and it’s found its home in the Thrupps Centre. The menu focuses on modern European fare and changes daily to showcase the best seasonal ingredients available. For starters, think home-smoked salmon, fried soda bread and scorched cucumber, while main dishes such as crispy lamb shoulder with pearl barley and green sauce will satisfy your comfort-food cravings. Service is friendly, the vibe is casual, but the food – as promised – is fine.
    204 Oxford Road, Illovo / 071 618 4352
    farro.co.za

    Reuben’s Sandton
    Renowned South African chef Reuben Riffel has opened his first Joburg restaurant, offering an à la carte menu of his signature dishes and a selection of new ones. He will be serving up creamy peri-peri livers with Gorgonzola and warm brioche toast, Wagyu burgers with boerenkaas, Asian beef cheek and oxtail with coconut-steamed basmati rice, crispy pork belly with pork croquette, ssamjang and compressed mango and papaya. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and sports an outdoor patio and bar, a 12-seater private dining area and a cigar bar.
    The Capital Moloko, 160 Helen Road, Strathavon
    011 384 4949 /
    reubens.co.za

    Impi Brewing Co
    Located on the historic site known as the Victoria Yards in Lorentzville (developed by the guys who created 44 Stanley) is a new go-to gastropub destination, the Impi Brewing Co. Visitors to the new destination can sample their year-round lines, the Impi Homestead Lager and the Impi Warrior Pilsner, as well as a selection of up to 15 handcrafted artisanal beers that will rotate on the menu. But to line your stomach before you sample too many beverages, you can order a wood-fired pizza off the menu. The Impi Brewing Co isn’t a one-stop destination – visitors will also have the opportunity to check out the other tenants in this exciting new arts and crafts precinct that emphasises community development and upliftment.
    14 Victoria Road, Lorentzville / 066 207 1895
    impibrewingco.com

    Epicure
    Multi-award-winning chef Coco Reinarhz has launched this spot, with a food philosophy of engaging with what it means to be African in a global gourmet context. The food has modern French flair combined with African innovation – which the chef insists are compatible culinary companions. Try the coconut-basted crabs that pay homage to the wonders of West African seafood, or the slow-cooked Nguni oxtail that expresses Southern African luxury. The restaurant boasts 160 seats, including terraced tables, a 40-seater private dining room and a walled, rolling lawn for picnics. On-site, you will also find the Epic Bar and the Cure Deli.
    Central Square, 3–5 Lower Road, Morningside, Sandton
    010 594 5336 / 
    epicurerestaurant.co.za

     

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