Wanted editor in chief Sarah Buitendach.
Wanted editor in chief Sarah Buitendach.
Image: Simz Mkhwanazi

Ed's letter | I get too hungry for dinner at eight

I am a fiercely loyal Joburger. In fact, saying that I love the City of Gold doesn’t do justice to my feelings for the place. And I’m bullish about the rivalry between Cape Town and the city that has my heart. JHB wins hands-down in my books. Except in one category: eating out.

For a bunch of people who seem to spend a huge proportion of our lives in restaurants on pavements, in malls, on mall pavements, we really have a dearth of excellent food spots, especially of the finer-dining kind. Which isn’t just the tired territory of foams, degustation menus, and suspect chandeliers. Rather, it includes options where food is modern and delicious, and authentic. I’ve thought about it often, and I can’t fathom why it’s the case, beyond top chefs not wanting to live in the Big Smoke.

The Cape has them in spades. My all-time favourite, La Tête, is one. Luke Dale-Roberts’ places (including the cool-kid Commissary) tick the box, Liam Tomlin’s various iterations of Chefs Warehouse nail it, there’s Fyn, Wolfgat … I could drone on and on …

Joburg-wise, I’ll stick my neck out and nominate Farro and Brik in the “casual fancy-ish” category. That’s it. If you want to eat good food in our town, you’ve got to go to low-key. The Schwarma Co for laffa, Japa in Rivonia for proper sushi, The Leopard for the pata plate, Cyrildene for dim sum, BGR for a damn fine burger.

We speak about this in the office often. “What are you having for lunch?” and “Have you been to the new Greek spot in Parkhurst yet?” are the sorts of convos that reverberate daily across our turf. They always remind me that dining out is a massive unifier in this country — we all love food: big lunches, long dinners, too much good wine.

Which is why it makes sense that food influencer/Instagrammer-turned-journo Steve Steinfeld has almost 40 000 followers on Instagram. It’s obvious that people want to know where to eat, be seen, and drink well. It’s also why we enlisted him to put together our big food feature this month. He’s done a sterling job and it gladdens my heart to see such marvellous young talent (he’s 27). Steinfeld will clue you in on where to eat, what to drink, what culinary trends are on the horizon, and which are totally over — perfect dinner-party fodder, all of it.

Salute,
Sarah

• ADDITIONAL CREDITS: Cover: Chef Gregory Czarnecki’s take on vichyssoise: Pomme soufflé with leek mousse, watercress jelly and caviar. Image: Claire Gunn.

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