Not a lot of places will see you end the evening by taking a selfie with the waiter. Evident to its name, Social Parkwood is the kind of place where you’d head after work or a weekend to soak up the Joburg scene, mingle with cool kids, have something good to drink and something decent to eat. Social Parkwood is a new restaurant occupying the Bolton Road Collection on the corner of Bolton Road and Jan Smuts Avenue, a semi-enclosed room jutting out into jousting traffic. Even in its first weeks, Social Parkwood felt comfortable and lived-in, like a seasoned restaurant and bar combo that’s been frequented by hipsters and young professionals for the past five years.
The vibe is everything and Social Parkwood’s interior has been designed to encourage this. In between the wooden chandeliers burning Edison light bulbs and leafy green plants hanging from the ceiling, the walls are covered in life-sized murals that are emphasised by dark blue walls. Apart from the main dining hall, visitors will find the Den, a less noisy service area which offers an escape from the crowd. The design in this room is more open and offers an excellent space to kick back and relax.
Meze, tapas, starters… Whatever you want to call it, it’s worth your while to kick off your dining experience with a plate or three from Social Parkwood. Though small, these plates hold big ideas. But as at many Mzansi-influenced restaurants, a substantial number of the best dishes tend to be meat orientated. The cured and seared beef melts in your mouth. Drenched in ponzu – a Japanese soy/citrus sauce – and served with pickled ginger, avo and burnt miso, this dish is an absolute must. The salted lamb ribs come in as a close second and is served with Malay mayo and sweet pickled onions. Simply unique, it’s recommended for vegetarians to go for the beer battered avo fritters served with chipotle mayo. Vegans aren’t ignored with the addition of braai broodjies served with hummus and chakalaka.
Divided into sharing and single serving, the main menu is a fusion of traditional South African ingredients and Western cooking styles. Patrons can expect tshisha nyama for two, buffalo wings smoked in-house and served with ranch dressing and gorgonzola.
Short and sweet as it were, the dessert section only has two options; Caramel Peppermint Crisp Sundae and Crack Pie… yup, Crack Pie. Modeled after Christina Tosi of Milk Bar and Momofuku in New York City, the Crack Pie is a crumbly and sweet tart served on a flaky oat cookie base topped with milk sorbet ice cream. It is, as the name implies, addictive. It is a total must and the perfect way to round off an evening at one of Joburg’s hottest spots right now.
The bar lies at the heart of Social Parkwood and it’s beating strong. Apart from an excellent wine list and local craft beers on tap, Social Parkwood runs with a drinks menu that’s slowly but surely becoming famous in its own right. Each section of the drinks menu starts off with a chart to assist patrons in picking drinks that will suit their mood and taste buds.
Build your own gin and tonic by choosing ingredients from a list or indulge in an array of handcrafted cocktails that will give top mixologists a run for their money.
If we had more than two thumbs, we’d give it all up for Social Parkwood. Do yourself a favour, take the drive from wherever you are and pay this hangout a visit – you won’t be sorry. Be sure to bring extra cash as it can become quite pricey. This is justified in quality – remember that. Parking is ample and if you can’t find any parking on Bolton Road then drive around the block and make use of the WizzPass parking lot, but be sure to register on the app or have your debit card with you as no cash is accepted. Parking is cheap, with the first 25 minutes free.
Contact: 011 327 6104
Address: Corner Bolton Road and Jan Smuts Avenue Parkwood, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2193