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5 great spots to try on Parktown North’s 4th Avenue

4th Avenue in Parktown North has seen a complete transformation over the past year with the addition of new restaurants. Now there’s everything from fine-dining to street-side cafés and homely Mzansi cuisine all set against a backdrop of apartments and tree-dappled suburbia. Here’s why you should head out to these five 4th Avenue restaurants.

@Kate’s Kitchen (No. 17)

@Kate’s Kitchen is an intimate 24-seater serving up South African favourites in a relaxed environment. The restaurant is an ode to the owners’ mother, Kate, who was a passionate home cook and loved nothing more than making moreish, wholesome dishes celebrating our country’s eclectic cultural heritage. To start, choose between vetkoek filled with tomato-braised mince or crumbed chicken strips, then move on to bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts or the signature oxtail stew braised in red wine that comes with sides of creamy samp or colourful spiced rice.

@Kate’s Kitchen. Photo supplied.

Est Est Alea (Shop 5, Parknorth Heights)

The team from Cube Tasting Kitchen is back with a new offering that’s bigger, bolder and even more exciting. In addition to doubling their floor space, they’ve added a bar and an open-plan kitchen framed by a voyeuristic chef’s table and a cellar. The food is prepared by chef patron Dario De Angeli, who uses classical techniques for his daily changing menu. It explores all facets of taste, texture and plating, with a focus on extracting and honouring the essence of every ingredient. Lunch comprises a minimum of six courses and dinner is a 12-course journey, both with the option of wine pairings. (They utilise a Coravin so you can taste any of the wines before buying a bottle.) Booking is essential.

The 48-hour chicken stock reduction at Est Est Alea with tom yum cubes, Asian greens and maringa powder. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Il Contadino (No. 19)

Here you’ll find farm-to-table goodness made the provincial Italian way. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at Il Contadino there’s something for everyone: grab a quick espresso on your way to work or sit street-side at sunset with an Aperol Spritz and a plate of arancini. It’s hard to pick just a few standout dishes, but the pumpkin flapjacks – puffed to perfection in the pizza oven – would certainly make the cut, as would the Il Contadino farm-style breakfast (every element of which is organically grown on Brightside farm). For lunch and dinner, try one of the pizzas or handmade pastas. The wild boar ragù is served with hand-cut pappardelle; the ossobucco ravioli is fantastic; and the simple but exquisite tomato, basil and pulled mozzarella pizza is a must-try. Dessert is easy: three scoops of their artisanal gelato, with flavours like honey-roasted lavender, green fig and vanilla, and roasted yellow plum.

Il Contadino’s street-side seating. Photo supplied.

The National Eatery and Speakeasy (No. 19)

The National is back to celebrating all things Southern, smoked, fried and jam-packed full of flavour with its new menu. It presents a showcase of sophisticated comfort food that’s exquisitely plated. The ambience and décor echo this – it’s elegant but unpretentious, making it the ideal eatery for date night, a business lunch, or early-evening cocktails at the adjoining bar. Go for the smokey pork-filled boudin balls with burnt-butter hollandaise and pickles to start, the salaciously good honey-butter fried chicken, or the pulled pork buns for mains. Also try their take on the pecan pie: caramel-roasted pecans with torched meringue, lime gel and shortbread – you won’t regret it. Plus, they’re open on Mondays!

The National Eatery and Speakeasy. Photo supplied.

That Spot on 4th (No. 17)

Open Tuesdays to Sundays for breakfast and lunch, That Spot on 4th is a quaint and inviting neighbourhood café and deli. It’s a quiet retreat; the perfect spot to meet a friend for coffee, have a business breakfast, or spoil the kids with one of their insanely good Belgian-style buttermilk waffles (the lemon meringue one with lemon curd and coconut is out of this world). Early birds should take advantage of the bacon and onion jam omelette, the hangover cure waffle or the eggs Florentine. For a light lunch that really hits the spot, opt for any of the yoghurt flat breads, especially the harissa chicken with crème fraîche and avo, or the honey-roasted aubergine with hummus and mozzarella. Don’t forget to grab a few brownies, a slice of their dense nut-filled carrot cake, and a bag of bespoke toffees on your way out.

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