Every boot needs a heel and every shopping centre needs a steakhouse. The Hobart Grove Centre just so happens to have one of the top steakhouses in Johannesburg. Wombles Steakhouse is a family ran business with Executive Chef Nesberth Nhabura at the kitchen’s helm. It goes without saying that the house of Wombles is predominantly built on pillars of beef… and lots of it. With that said, don’t expect them to serve ribs. Fair enough. What they do have is much more… satisfying. Patrons can expect different cuts of steak, beef stroganoff, steak tartare, gammon steak (yeah, it’s not beef but it is steak), and a variety of sauces and side dishes (including pap).
The first time I had wagyu beef was on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Gemelli in Bryanston. What made the experience even more memorable was the fact that the part owner and head chef of Gemelli, Paulo Santo had lunch with me. A wine rep had left and we were stuck with the most beautiful bottles of Creation wines. Paulo had this idea to cook up different meals for each bottle of wine. It was improvisation at its best. He was playing jazz with his food skills. This sold Gemelli to me completely. I will never forget seeing Paulo walk out of the kitchen with the plate of food that changed my life.
Cafe Del Sol Botanico
At the risk of sounding trite, it must be stated that if there is no love in the kitchen, don’t expect any taste in the food. This has always been at the heart of the Café Del Sol brand, and Café Del Sol Botanico is no exception. The menu has been put together by a traditional family set out to smash the norms of Old Country cooking. My favourite starter shows just that – the daring to be different. I whole-heartedly recommend you order yourself the gorgonzola and fig spring rolls which come as a serving of four topped with a creamy white wine sauce. Mains sing to the same tune for sure: Dolcelatte gorgonzola, bacon and pear salad, seafood risotto (for which Café Del Sol is beyond famous), and big rump steaks served with twice fried chips. I opted for the duck confit ragu gnocchi which is a whole and hearty meal in itself. The dish can only be described as a light, beautiful mixture of umami and sweet contrasts supplied by the home-made fennel jam.
Great for first dates, solo eating marathons and all things tequila, Perron Bryanston is a rocking place to stuff your face with soft shell fish tacos (made in-house) and pork belly slow-cooked with chilli, lime and agave, and served with Mexican potatoes, re-fried beans, crema and tomatillo salsa verde. Do yourself a favour and go check them out if you haven’t already… and if you have, why not go back and experience Perron all over again?
What restaurant listing of Bryanston to visit would be complete without mentioning the ever-popular Hello Tomato? Take a page, we’ve been to pretty every single pizza place in the area and Hello Tomato is for sure the best bang for you buck… and it’s tasty too! If you fancy a pizza that will leave you stuffed yet wanting more then we highly recommend the Mary Had A Little Lamb pizza (Slow cooked lamb, caramelised onion, garlic, rosemary & mint sauce). The great thing about Hello Tomato is that they serve two sizes: standard (which is pretty much a large) and company (which can feed five people easily).
With a more-than-capable flair of perfection tinted with a touch of Cape Malay cooking, Licorish Bistro is a breath of fresh air on the Bryanston culinary scene. Each dish looks to good to eat and tastes too good not to eat. The wine list is well put together (with estates such as Lismore and Altydgedacht making an appearance) and the floor team has been trained to know what bottle of vino goes with which dish.
Social On Main
The Head Chef, Kylie Debbo, produces our signature relaxed but gourmet street food style with ease and that is what makes Social On Main such a popular hangout in Bryanston. From our sauces to the syrups in our cocktails, we buy in as little as possible and aim to make you delicious good honest food and drinks from scratch. We have a onsite smoker that enables us to infuse some of our dishes with a unique Smokey flavour and moisture that no other restaurant can compete with.
Rockets Restaurant & Cocktail bar
From pizza to prego rolls, Rockets Restaurant & Cocktail Bar is a top breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner spot completed with a drinks menu that will make a mixologist blush. We recommend you try out their Rocket wings served tapas style and washed down with silk panties… the drink, you weirdo. The vibe is relaxed and laid back and a great spot to start or end an evening. Oh, their salads are good too! In fact, it’s so good that they opened a stand-alone “express” shop at Melrose Arch.
By Shawn Greyling