The new 9th Avenue Waterside setting is simply spectacular.
The new 9th Avenue Waterside setting is simply spectacular.
Image: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG

1. DW Eleven-13

What’s on offer: The Dunkeld West institution has pared back its fine-dining approach in favour of a more accessible brasserie-style offering. The menu, as it currently stands, is a la carte with a conscious effort to be more price sensitive. While alcohol is still off the cards, the restaurant’s innovative non-alcoholic pairing options are available. In order to assist with limited interactions a QR code is placed on the table to access the menu and all cutlery is sanitised and placed on the table before your arrival. Chef Marthinus has also implemented a new weekend brunch for two offering featuring a six-course tasting-style menu to be enjoyed in-house or at home.

Where: Dunkeld West Shopping Centre, Jan Smuts and Bompas Street, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg

Open: Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner; Sunday, lunch only

A word from chef Marthinus: “We are open and waiting to welcome you back! Things are a bit different and our job is to make you feel as safe as possible while you support us at DW.”

2. Aurum

What’s on offer: Aurum, the golden jewel of The Leonardo, has once again opened its doors to the dining public — currently offering full a-la-carte service for brunch, lunch, and early dinner. Every precaution is being taken by the Aurum team to ensure a safe, Covid-19 protocol-compliant experience. These include sanitised cutlery packs, disposable single-use menus and napkins and carefully sanitised work areas throughout the restaurant in addition to the mandatory regulations.

Butternut and ricotta ravioli from Aurum.
Butternut and ricotta ravioli from Aurum.
Image: Supplied

The opening coincides with the launch of new winter versions of the eatery’s daytime Solis and evening Luna menus, which will no doubt be brimming with the flavour, innovation, and nostalgia for which Aurum is quickly becoming known.

Where:  Level 7, The Leonardo, 75 Maude St, Sandown, Johannesburg

Open: Monday-Sunday from 11am

A word from MD, chef Paulo Santo: “Support your local restaurant, whether by visiting in person or ordering in. As a business, it’s imperative; as human beings, we need your support now more than ever before.”

CAPE TOWN

3. La Colombe

What’s on offer: The renowned fine-dining destination is back with its multi-sensorial tasting menu — which makes for the perfect celebration dinner, business lunch or special treat. It offers a full chef’s lunch menu in addition to reduced menus for lunch and dinner, allowing guests to enjoy a full nine-course experience and still make it home in time for curfew. Non-alcoholic pairing options are available to complement the tasting menu. Those of you looking for the same experience but not yet comfortable dining out can get the full reduced menu delivered to your home. Strict protocols are being followed to ensure that guests are both safe and comfortable whether dining in or at home.

Where: Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town

Open: Monday-Sunday, lunch and dinner

A word from Chef James Gaag: “We are trying to navigate these challenging times as best we can — not for the sake of the restaurant, or for personal pride — but for the 92 staff members, and their families, who rely on us keeping our doors open. It’s a delicate balance between making sure our staff stays afloat, and offering an exceptional menu at a price that will entice local diners to continue supporting us, all while ensuring everyone stays safe. It’s unprecedented times for us, and the industry — we’re all just trying to survive."

4. The Pot Luck Club

What’s on offer: The Pot Luck Club has opened to the delight of many a Capetonian diner. The famed small-plate eatery has adapted to the times with a host of safety measures and precautions in place to ensure customers feel as safe and comfortable as possible. These include the mandatory table spacing, masks and guest registers in addition to QR-code menu options, screens between tables and timers for kitchen staff hand sanitation every 15 minutes.

Safety covered, the menu stays true to The Pot Luck Club standard, featuring innovative and exciting small-plate selections. Those looking to reminisce can indulge in the much-loved “family favourites” including Luke Dale Roberts’ legendary fillet with café au lait sauce, the Pot Luck fish sliders and Asian style beef tataki — all having earned their place as bona fide PLC classics. The team has come up with an array of bespoke virgin cocktails, made using in-house syrups and infusions.

Where:  The Silo, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town

When: Thursday to Saturday, dinner; Sunday, Brunch

A word from chef Luke Dale Roberts: “It is important for us to open again in whatever capacity the regulations allow — with Ters [the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme] drying up we are compelled to provide employment to as many of our staff as possible. We are focusing our energy to provide something that is delicious and accessible to the local market. We are waiting and looking forward to the day when we are permitted to serve booze in the restaurant again.”

DURBAN

5. 9th Avenue Waterside

What’s on offer: The beautiful harbour-side eatery has opened its doors once again. After a roaring start in its new location, the beloved Durban restaurant has reworked its offering to suit the needs of diners under level three lockdown. It has pared back its a-la-carte offering and re-introduced the tasting menu, finding that though fewer patrons were able to frequent the space — due to stringent regulations and required spacing — those who did visit came seeking a longer experience. Both a la carte and tasting menus are complemented by an impressive array of virgin cocktails and de-alcoholised wine.

Where:  2 Maritime Place, Harbour, Durban

Open: Monday-Sunday, lunch and dinner; Sunday, lunch

A word from the owner Gina Neilson: “Right now, running a restaurant is basically a mathematical equation. We need to just survive the next few months. Our game plan is really to make sure we spoil everyone supporting us. We are also collaborating with other small businesses in the hope to help our community.”

All restaurants (including staff) featured here continue to adhere to strict Covid-19 safety precautions and protocols to ensure your dining experience is safe and enjoyable.

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