Restaurateur Nicky van der Walt’s luxurious Asian eatery opened with much fanfare within the iconic Nelson Mandela Square. While it may have been the beautiful décor and list of socialites who would no doubt be frequenting it that made some noise in the beginning it was chef Vixa Kalenga’s contemporary take on modern Asian cuisine that kept us coming back for more. Beautiful dishes inspired by everything from the izakayas of Japan through to classic Cantonese saw the chef serve up some seriously superb cooking. Whether it be for the shiso truffle oysters to be washed down with a glass of bubbles or the sizzling Wagyu tenderloin cooked to perfection, a visit to Tang is always delectable.
Chef David Higgs’s new champagne lounge and cocktail bar may have been the last grand opening before the year wrapped up but it was also arguably the most impressive of the lot. The sexy new space has quickly become the place to see and be seen within the city of gold. The food draws from that of Latin America borrowing techniques and flavours from Peru through to Mexico. Expect the likes of beautiful, light, vibrant ceviche dishes or the heartier but equally flavourful bites of oxtail on vetkoek with a tamarind twist or the pork belly steamed buns which deliver umami aplenty. Of course, no meal at Zioux would be complete without a glass of champagne or one of their signature cocktails.
The Shortmarket Club
Critically acclaimed chef Luke Dale Roberts’s first permanent foray into Joburg takes shape in the form of Rosebank’s new The Shortmarket Club. It’s a more relaxed, pared back iteration of the now closed Cape Town eatery of its namesake but it’s one perfectly tailored to Joburg diners. Situated within the trendy Oxford Parks precinct, it’s here where head chef Taryn Smith is cooking up some big, bold and flavourful dishes. From Dale Roberts’s favourites such as fillet with café au lait sauce and duck fat roasties to Smith’s own twist on Japanese pancake, it’s all incredibly tasty, flavour forward dishes and a mighty fine addition to Joburg’s dining scene.
Le Parc by Tashas
The Hyde Park eatery underwent a huge reinvention this year, marking the launch of a fabulous new concept for the Tashas group. Le Parc is an elevated and refined take on their classic café here with a Parisian twist and the incorporation of a fabulous one-of-a-kind retail emporium stocked with a gorgeous, carefully curated collection of bespoke homeware, gifts and deli products (which are now also available for purchase online. Sit within the Parisian pink wonderland with its stained glass detailing and gold leafed paper art and delighting in Tashas classics or speciality dishes created specifically for Le Parc before heading to the gelato bar for the most mouthwatering of ice creams or perhaps to the food emporium for a pastry or macaron in an array of flavours to end off your meal.
Another Hyde Park restaurant that had the city talking was the sexy new KōL Izakhaya, which serves up a casual yet elevated Japanese dining experience. Inspired by the izakayas of Japanese and the country’s unique and beautiful ingredients, the focus of KōL is on street food style cooking with particular attention paid to sushi, robata (grill) and mixology — the KŌL: trilogy as they refer to it. The attention to detail is second to none — interior designer of the moment Tristan du Plessis having kitted out the space — but the ethos goes further than décor with everything from crockery and cutlery to the specificity of ingredients used, carefully considered. Sit around the binchotan fired robata grill and enjoy a selection of yakitori straight off the flames, perhaps together with an array of sushi — some traditional others with a contemporary twist, or one of their mains which deliver simple dishes with big, punchy flavours.