I wouldn’t consider myself much of a fine diner. I’d rather grab my usual from my favourite fast-food joint or sit at the local Spur doing a little people-watching and tucking into my durky-drenched buffalo wings. Nothing fancy. I’m simple like that. But for my 30th birthday, my family decided to treat me to dinner at a spot a little fancier than my norm and outside of my comfort zone – LBV in Bryanston.
After celebrating my big three-zero there, I’ve become a big fan and aim to try out every single item on their menu before the year is up. It was a wonderful experience from start to finish, and here’s five reasons why I recommend LBV for your next date night, anniversary dinner or celebratory night out.
1. It’s A Hidden Gem (Quite Literally)
For starters, this spot is quite well hidden in the Cramerview Village Centre on Main, so finding it was an interesting mission and a half. But after a U-turn here and a few left turns there, we finally found it tucked in the back of the centre (obviously we should have checked Zomato first, as it clearly states BACK ENTRANCE, but moving on). Being away from the rush and fuss on Main Road, it was quiet, relaxed and cosy – just what I needed after being told repeatedly all day long that I’m officially an old bat.
2. The Staff Are Wonderful
From the moment we walked into the restaurant, the staff were on top of their game. They welcomed us with big smiles, ushered us to our table, pulled out the chairs for the ladies (in my case, the old bat) and began to tell us all about the impending gastronomic experience we were about to enjoy. They threw in a few jokes and asked us about our day, which added a personal touch and was a lovely icebreaker for the evening ahead. After all the welcomes, friendly banter and formalities, we ordered our drinks and started to suss out the room, and that’s when I saw it…
3. They Have Their Own Wine Cellar
Situated in the corner of the room, looking fine as hell and welcoming me with open doors, was the wine closet! Yes, LBV has its very own wine cellar. I didn’t get to explore this heavenly room to discover exactly what they have in stock, but from what I could see, there’s a good selection, and the waiter confirmed this by tempting us with some of the unusual wines that promised to delight. Hmmm… maybe next time!
4. They Get Creative With Hand Signals
Back to glancing around the room (sorry, the wine cellar distracted me)… I then noticed something else: hand signals painted on the walls, which can be used to communicate with your waiter from across the room. From “more wine, please” and “please bring the bill,” to how you want your steak or cappuccino, there’s a hand signal for it. We dare you, try it out! It really makes the waiters laugh and smile.
5. The Food Is To Die For!
Now onto the main event… the food! Before my birthday dinner I attempted a little online research about the LBV menu, but it honestly didn’t help. There’s no explanation of how the food is prepared or cooked, it’s just a list of the various ingredients or components that make up each dish. I guess it adds an element of surprise when your order arrives, but when you’re someone like me who wants to know the “how, what, when, why, who and where” of the dish, it makes choosing difficult.
So, I checked out the online reviews, and there was one dish that seemed to be the star: the pork belly. Review after review, people went on and on about this dish, which was dubbed ‘an absolute must’ when you visit LBV. Since I didn’t know any better, I took those suggestions, went out on a limb and ordered it. I was NOT disappointed. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted in my life; without a doubt, the best pork belly EVER. The pork was tender, the mustard mash and bacon brandy jam were moreish, and the crackling… don’t even get me started on the crackling! Oh-so-crunchy, light and YUM. This dish was simply amazing.
It felt like nothing could top my spectacle of a dish, but then dessert arrived and sent me straight to heaven. I’ve always loved crème brûlée, so as soon as I saw it on the menu, I didn’t hesitate. Yet again, I was NOT disappointed. Tempered sugar, dollops of apricot jam (I think!), bits of rooibos jelly, sweet caramel and ultra-smooth crème brûlée, all beautifully plated under a fluffy cloud of cotton candy… I was blown away. That was the absolute cherry on top of my big birthday celebration and ended the evening off on a very sweet note.
Overall, the experience at LBV not only surprised me and delighted my senses, but it also opened my eyes to the world of food and the ‘science’ of food combinations and flavours. I’ll definitely be stepping out of my ‘food comfort zone’ and stepping away from the fast-food for a while.
For More Information
To make reservations, you can contact them via email at email@example.com or 011 706 7662.