This happens when you are on a sabbatical and think you have all the time you want on your hands – your friends think it is time to find new spots in town and you volunteer to do the research and the bookings. So it happened that for the month of April it was my task to be adventurous and actually check out new spots. I would just like to add that my friends are very judgmental… you can imagine how nervous I was at the beginning of each time we tried out a new spot.
Bolton Road seems to be the new place to be at anyway. A couple of new restaurants have opened up on the corner of Bolton Road and Jan Smuts. There is Bolton Road Collection (Which is next up on my to-eat-out-list), then there is Coalition Pizza which is a great spot to have Pizza e Vino. And then there is Sin+Tax somewhere adjacent to Coalition Pizza. However, the entrance is actually in a side alley next to Coalition Pizza and rumor has it that you can only get in with a password. All in the New York “speakeasy” kind of bar vibe. The interior is simple but effective. The owner and head mixologist Julian just won the local World Class Bartender competition and will be representing South Africa in the World Finals (by the way another Sin+Tax bartender become third.. so if two of the best South African mixologists work in the same bar, you know it is worth the visit). Julian has a “main menu” and a seasonal one, which actually changes today as I write this. So, I am very excited to go back and try the new winter cocktail menu. My recommendation would be to come in smaller groups, maybe a max of 6 people. More gets tricky in terms of nice seating and the guys at Sin+Tax are also quite selective on the number of people they let in, which I guess makes half of the “Old New York days” vibe.
Next on my list was Workshop 55 in Parktown North (one of my favourite neigbourhoods anyway). It is tucked away in an old residential home right on 7th Avenue, and is made of a bar area and a restaurant area with an open kitchen. We started off in the bar area with some amazing Gin and Tonics. Then went over to our table. It works with a flat fee, so basically each guest pays a flat fee of 240 ZAR and gets three tapas-like dishes. If you want more, you pay extra. It is ideal for sharing on the table and to be honest, it was enough for all of us. We didn’t even have space for dessert. After dinner, we went back to the bar area. You can easily spend your whole night there without having to move to another place since restaurant and bar area are completely separate and quite different in style, too.
Although not a newbie in our experience-seeking and tried & tested successfully since December, it is worthwhile mentioning it in this context. Situated on the top floor of the Trumpet Building in Rosebank, Marble offers great views of Johannesburg and especially beautiful views for sunsets. Again, here you have the choice of going to the bar only or to combine bar and restaurant. The dining experience is amazing, a truly South African 5* braai – the Chef might not like my blunt description but since I am not a food blogger I might get away with it (the fact that he is easy on the eye might attract a lot of female guests, so I have heard).