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The cheesiest dishes in SA

There are few things more comforting than a piping hot forkful of something oozy, luscious and indulgently cheesy. Serving everything from rich mac ’n cheese and burgers stuffed with blue cheese to melting raclette and simple cheese-doused French fries, these spots are the places to go for your magnificently cheesy fix in SA. (Pro tip: The annual award-winning SA Cheese Festival is also taking place this month, if you’re looking to stock up that fridge or spend a day indulging).

Johannesburg

The Whippet (Linden)

The hot-pressed sweet brie chicken melt panini from The Whippet in Linden is basically heaven in a dish – comprised of grilled chicken, crispy bacon, mixed berry compote, wild rocket, brie and mozzarella, this sandwich is yours for just R70.

Inside at The Whippet. Photo supplied.

Inside at The Whippet. Photo supplied.

KCC – La Vie en Rose (Lower Houghton)

KCC La Vie En Rose in Houghton Estate is a great place to meet up with friends, family or business partners you plan to impress with lunch in a breath-taking garden setting. The cafe’s inner wheel (R82), made of creamy camembert in puff pastry and served on rocket and strawberries, is a must-try.

Jo’anna Melt Bar (Melville)

Head to Jo’anna Melt Bar in Melville for a toasted cheese sarmie like no other. Try the Greenbelt, which has spinach, Gouda cheese, Danish feta, grilled onion and mushrooms.

A cheesy creation at Jo'Anna Melt Bar. Photo supplied.

A cheesy creation at Jo’Anna Melt Bar. Photo supplied.

Cheese Gourmet (Linden)

If you love cheese fondue, the Cheese Gourmet in Linden is the spot to visit. They serve a traditional Swiss cheese fondue with melted emmental and gruyere, along with wine and kirsch. At R265 for two, this makes for a spectacular dining experience. Chunky bread comes standard with this meal.

Inside at the Cheese Gourmet. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Inside at the Cheese Gourmet. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Hudson’s The Burger Joint (Parkhurst)

Put the world’s most loved cheesy dish and a traditional breadcrumb together and you get mac and cheese croquettes served with truffle mayo (R45) at Hudson in Parkhurst. This is a mind-blowing meal and venue.

Duke’s Burgers (Greenside)

If you’re going to eat a hamburger, have it with cheese. If there’s a double cheese option, even better. Triple cheese? Well, now that’s a chef after our very hearts. Try the Big Cheese (R89) at Duke’s Burger in Greenside, which has mozzarella, feta, cheddar and a beef patty, as well as homemade gherkins and tomato relish. A lovely spot for a late afternoon lunch.

’86 Public (Braamfontein)

No cheesey dish bucket list would be complete without a referral to the tastiest, cheesiest pizzas in town. 86 Public in Braamfontein comes highly recommended with their No. 3 pizza comprising four cheeses – gorgonzola, provolone, mozzarella and parmesan – at just R85 for a large serving.

Pretoria

Pure (Colbyn)

Now that autumn is upon us, what could be more comforting than meatballs in a home-cooked Napolitana sauce, smothered in oozing melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese (R89.50)? Pure cooks their Napolitana from scratch with whole peeled tomatoes and basil, and serves the rosemary-and-cumin infused meatballs and sauce with couscous. If meat isn’t your thing, their broccoli pasta with the quirky Afrikaans name of Soutvissie Skop Orecchiette (R73) – featuring anchovies and broccoli in a rich, creamy parmesan sauce with the slightest hint of garlic and chilli – should be just the thing.

La Pentola (Riviera)

Always one to push the culinary boundaries, Shane Savage knows how to combine unusual flavours, such as his cherry liqueur and strawberries paired with goat halloumi. A slab of imported Huckleberry Cypriote halloumi is dry-fried and served with mint, cherry liqueur, lemon, extra virgin olive oil sauce and a fresh strawberry. Dig into the delight with their home-baked mushroom and caper bread or sweetcorn and chive bread.

Burger Bistro (Hazelwood)

Roll in at any of the Burger Bistros soon for their Mike Tyson burger and beer challenge: anybody brave enough to attempt this will have 30 minutes to finish five massive 200g patties, 12 slices of cheddar and enough bacon to give an elephant heart palpitations. The price for this whopper is R199.50 and the accompanying knife is yours. If you are not quite up to consuming 1kg of beef in one sitting, just opt for their Big Cheese Burger (R72.50), which has cheddar and an additional cheese sauce. It’s good.

The cheesy burger at Burger Bistro. Photo supplied.

The cheesy burger at Burger Bistro. Photo supplied.

Kream (Brooklyn)

Even white tablecloth restaurants have dishes featuring decadent amounts of cheese. At Kream, their Fairview Brie parcel is a whole wedge of brie wrapped in phyllo pastry, deep fried and accompanied with a marula sauce and a basil-and-sundried tomato pesto (R69) – a true fix for any cheese lover.

Forkies (Lynnwood)

This trendy eatery (that is now also linked to Mr Delivery, so one can order in) offers a Cuban-style toasted sandwich made with homemade bread. The grilled cheese and bacon sandwich is made with cheddar, emmental, mozzarella, pecorino, bacon and a honey mustard dressing, for only R48. All light meals are served with a side of salsa and homemade nachos.

The cubano sandwiches at Forkies. Photo supplied.

The cubano sandwiches at Forkies. Photo supplied.

Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company (Menlo Park)

The ever-popular Toni’s Pizza, in Deerness, Pretoria, serves meltingly gooey Quatro Formaggi pizza with mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and gorgonzola, given additional flavour with a sprig of rosemary (R90). They also make a Blue Cheese Pasta with lashings of cream and loads of gorgonzola for decadent richness, all of which is topped with pesto and toasted almonds (R89). They apparently also always have a fantastic Mac & Cheese which, although not on the menu, can be asked for at any time.

A pizza at Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company . Photo supplied.

A pizza at Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company . Photo supplied.

Moroccan House (Menlo Park)

Cheese is a rare luxury in Morocco and is therefore a celebrated delicacy. The Mukabalatt platter (R180) at La Terrasse Rooftop Cafe has herbed cheese briouats as part of their ‘conversation food platters’, with crudités of fresh vegetables and fruit, kofta meatballs, caramelised tomato with rosewater and honey, cumin and carrot purée, zulu zalook aubergine and green olive, hummus and baba ganoush. The rosewater cheesecakes are studded with Turkish delight and fresh strawberries. Or  opt for the orange blossom cheesecake with pistachio, Turkish delight and a fresh orange (both R45).

The cheese briouats on the Mukabalatt platter La Terrasse Rooftop Café Moroccan House.

The cheese briouats on the Mukabalatt platter La Terrasse Rooftop Café Moroccan House.

Durban

031 Bar and Restaurant (Morningside)

This distillery restaurant serves up delicious gin cocktails that pair perfectly with the street food menu. The offerings include a few cheesy additions, like the Who’s Your Daddy dish, which features a mac and cheese – made with brie and Coney Island chilli mince – that is deep fried and served with sweet mustard. Alternatively, order a starter portion of truffled biltong Mac ’n Chini balls. These are definitely worth the calorie intake: glorious bites of rich, cheesy macaroni-and-brie mixture are deep fried, topped with a dusting of biltong dust, and served piping hot. There’s also poutine (a Canadian take on loaded fries) with boerenkaas and toppings of curried dhal, chilli mince, or hot sauce and blue cheese dip.

A mac 'n cheese burger at 031 Bar and Restaurant. Photo supplied.

A mac ‘n cheese burger at 031 Bar and Restaurant. Photo supplied.

Four15 (Durban North)

This dedicated burrito bar has upped its game with some extra San Franciscan offerings. As for the cheesy dishes, there are tortilla chips with spicy three-cheese dip, three-cheese chile rellenos, cheese-filled chilli con carne tacos, Philly steak quesadillas with a double helping of cheese and, of course, cheesy baked enchiladas with your choice of filling.

A-burrito-bowl-at-Four15

A cheesy burrito bowl at Four15. Photo supplied.

Fourteen on Chartwell (Umhlanga Rocks)

Cheese fans are looked after at this swanky retro-style pub. The gourmet pub grub menu offers options like cheese-stuffed jaffles, a craft-beer-and-cheese board, and the popular lobster mac ’n cheese. The creamy pasta is served on a plate rather than baked in an oven dish, and is topped with generous pieces of delicate lobster. It’s rich and luxurious, with a smoky gruyère cheese sauce and crispy herbs, carrot and leeks.

Hudson’s The Burger Joint (Umhlanga Rocks)

This burger chain has made its way to Durban’s balmy shores and is serving up cheesy burgers as well as other delights like the triple-cheese poppers with homemade relish, bacon-wrapped poppers with blue cheese mayo, mac ’n cheese croquettes with truffle mayo, cheese-smothered nachos and the famed disco fries with mild but melty cheese, hot sauce and spring onions.

The cheesy chilli poppers at Hudsons. Photo supplied.

The cheesy chilli poppers at Hudsons. Photo supplied.

Lupa Osteria (Durban North)

While you might visit this neighbourhood favourite for their cheesy pizzas or creamy pastas, many cheese lovers are actually addicted to the starter portion of Italian nachos. The dish is made up of three cheese-filled ravioli which have been fried, creating a golden and crunchy exterior with a molten cheesy centre. The crispy bites are served with a fiery arrabbiata dipping sauce for R60. There’s also a dish of risotto cakes generously filled with brie cheese, and a stinkingly cheesy gorgonzola gnocchi with toasted pecans.

The Italian nachos at Lupa Osteria. Photo by Chris Black.

The Italian nachos at Lupa Osteria. Photo by Chris Black.

Old Town Italy (Umhlanga Ridge)

Cheese and antipasti boards are a main event at this buzzing market-style Italian eatery. Grab your breads, meats and cheeses at the deli counter or sit down and create your own board for an easy-going lunch. The piatto misto (‘mixed dish’) section on the menu allows diners to mix up to six items of imported cured meats from the in-house butcher and imported Italian cheeses. The cheese offering features grana padano from Veneto; ripened, soft taleggio; drunken pecorino that’s been matured in cabernet grape must; and a textured asiago from Vicenza. You can also choose from a selection of different mozzarellas, tuck into a gorgonzola-rich gnocchi or munch on grilled Italian flatbreads filled with Edam cheese, fontina or robiola cheese.

The cheese selection at Old Town Italy. Photo supplied.

The cheese selection at Old Town Italy. Photo supplied.

Republik (Durban North)

This burger bar has some extra cheesy offerings for fromage-lovers. There’s the cheesy burger that’s comprised of a 180g free-to-roam beef patty, topped with double cheese, bacon and a blue cheese-and-whisky sauce for extra richness. If you’re feeling cheeky, order it with a side of loaded fries that has been topped off with a rich cheese sauce and bacon bits. They also offer mac and cheese with bacon as a side option to bulk up your burger.

A burger with cheesy loaded fries at Republik. Photo supplied.

A burger with cheesy loaded fries at Republik. Photo supplied.

Surf Riders Food Shack (Addington Beach)

The cheese fries here are glorious: the golden and crunchy portion is smothered in the specially blended secret cheese sauce, which create the slap chips of your dreams. If the glossy sauce-coated fries don’t do it for you, there’s also a number of other cheesy dishes on the café’s menu. The Camemburger, Bacon and Gouda burger, and Shroom burger all showcase some pretty cheesy elements, while the pizzas offer some familiar favourites. Alternatively, order a cheese hot dog that’s topped off with gouda, and the house cheese sauce which is served in a golden bun.

A cheesy dog at Surf Riders. Photo supplied.

A cheesy dog at Surf Riders. Photo supplied.

Cape Town

Beerhouse (City Bowl)

The ever-changing beer-friendly menu often features the Beerhouse mac ’n cheese with a Dijon-and-cream-cheese reduction, Klein River 12-month-aged gruyère, peppadews and smoked bacon. This gloriousness is served with garlic bread to mop up the sauce. Alternatively, tuck into a flammkuchen topped with smoked bacon, onion and gruyère cheese.

Clarke’s (City Bowl)

The go-to for all sorts of cheesy American diner food also delivers on the mac ’n cheese front. Go for gold with the cheese fries with pico de gallo or the oozing grilled cheese toasty with tomato soup. Alternatively, there’s always the super rich and sumptuous four-cheese dish mac ’n cheese featuring smoked mozzarella, colby cheese and goat’s cheese in the sauce, with a sprinkling of pecorino on top. You can also throw in some slow-roasted baby tomatoes or crispy bacon.

The insanely rich disco fries at Clarke's. Photo supplied.

The insanely rich disco fries at Clarke’s. Photo supplied.

The Cousins Trattoria (City Bowl)

Lovers of both carbs and cheese will find a piece of heaven at this Mother City trattoria. The signature dish, The Cousins, is made up of freshly-made taglioni pasta and a simple mushroom-and-cream sauce, and is theatrically finished off in a giant wheel of real-deal parmigiano reggiano. Dramatic, rich and oh-so cheesy.

Pasta at The Cousins

The signature pasta and parmesan at The Cousins. Photo supplied.

Culture Club Cheese (City Bowl)

This shop and café dedicated to all things cheese does not disappoint – you can even head here for breakfast and indulge in the breakfast cheese platter or triple-cheese omelette. For lunch, look forward to mac ’n cheese made with pungent Camembert de Normandie mixed with local camembert, or fork your way through a gloriously rich fondue. There’s also mushroom and brie risotto, melted and pungent raclette that’s poured over potatoes and pickles, cheese platters, and incredible grilled cheeses.

A cheesy toastie at Culture Club Cheese. Photo supplied.

A cheesy toastie at Culture Club Cheese. Photo supplied.

Hello Sailor (Observatory)

This quirky Obs bistro has nailed the cheese and fries combo. Their OTT take on the dish features golden chips which are smothered in a rich mushroom gravy before being topped with a mix of melty mozzarella and tangy feta. The dish is then baked in the oven until it bubbles. Best served with lashings of Tabasco.

Inside & You’re Out (City Bowl)

The cheese-filled burgers here will please any meat eater. The Whiskey Braai-BQ burger patty is filled with smoked cheddar and topped with a whiskey and barbecue sauce. There’s also the ostrich patty on the Brie Street burger, which is filled with brie cheese and topped with a red wine reduction. If you’re not after burgers, go for cheese-filled toasties at lunchtime, or small bites like the cheesy chilli poppers or the Load em’ up Fries with mozzarella, extra cheddar and a house-made gravy.

The cheesy Kimcheezy burger at IYO. Photo supplied.

The cheesy Kimcheezy burger at IYO. Photo supplied.

Jason Bakery on Bree (City Bowl)

If you’re a fan of Jason Bakery’s kick-ass pies, then you’ll be familiar with the wonder that is the mac ’n cheese pie (usually sold on Mondays). Made with a sauce of emmental and cheddar, the macaroni mix is topped with a slice of tomato and encased in flaky, golden pastry. It’s seriously satisfying.

Jerry’s Burger Bar (Blouberg, Gardens, Observatory, Sea Point and Willowbridge)

This popular burger haunt is known for cheekily named buns and juicy bites. The Sweet Baby Cheeses comprises a juicy beef patty topped with slices of cheddar, Swiss cheese and a spicy cheese sauce, along with the standard pickle, slice of tomato, red onion rings and shredded lettuce. The Seven Deadly Sins burger patties are stuffed with options like cheddar cheese and blue cheese. There are also chorizo croquettes with onion and cheese, popper bombs with mixed cheeses and jalapeño, and phyllo cheese bombs stuffed with cheddar, mozzarella and feta.

A cheesy burger at Jerry's Burger Bar. Photo supplied.

A cheesy burger at Jerry’s Burger Bar. Photo supplied.

Junior (Tamboerskloof)

The chips at this hip burger joint get a cheesy thumbs up from us. Thin, golden and crisp, they’re doused in a marvellously cheesy sauce. The American-style fries are good enough on their own, but the preservative-free sauce, made fresh on-site with sharp cheddar cheese, is the perfect condiment.

Melt Café (City Bowl)

This dedicated toasted sandwich bar has fast become a hotspot for Cape Town cheese fans. Their cheesy toasties feature everything from the classic cheese (with homemade mayo) or ham and cheese blend, to the more indulgent pastrami and cheese, zucchini and Peppadews, or salami and mozzarella. There’s also a maple bacon and cheese version for those who can brave the richness.

SMAK Delicatessen (City Bowl)
Go straight for one of their oozing, cheesy toasties with your choice of bread, fillings and cheese, or be brave and order The Heart Stopper. This rich and cheesy croquet monsieur has become an indulgent favourite for Bree Street office workers.

Sticky BBQ (Rondebosch)

While their cheeseburger is a popular pick, this rib joint also satisfies with a list of cheese-covered fries. The Sticky BBQ version comes with various toppings and a glorious portion of bubbling sharp cheddar cheese. Choose from additions like bacon, sausage, chicken and mushroom. They’re stringy, salty and golden – everything you want in a portion of gut-busting cheese fries. There are also chilli cheese poppers with bacon, and a fromage-themed salad with tons of cheddar, onion rings and fries.

Winelands

Delheim Garden Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

Wind down your weekend with Delheim’s famous winter cheese fondue and jazz Sundays from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Hosted in the toasty wine cellar with its low ceilings and candlelit tables, the event marries good food, quality estate wines and jazzy jingles. Cheese fondues are prepared with emmental, gruyère and white wine, and come served with fresh baguette dippers and vegetable crudités. The cost is R230 per person, which includes a glass of glühwein on arrival. The jazz and fondue only takes place in winter from 25 June. Bookings are essential.

Jazz and cheese fondue at Delheim

Jazz and cheese fondue at Delheim. Photo supplied.

The Goatshed Restaurant (Paarl)

The cheese selection at this cheese farm’s popular restaurant offers a choice of 18 of Fairview’s finest jersey and goat’s milk cheeses served with preserves and fresh artisanal breads. Order a platter for one with eight choices, or a platter for two with 10 choices. The cheeses include chevin with black pepper and paprika, goat’s milk camembert, White Rock with glazed figs, and nutty matured gouda. There’s also a dish of cheese risotto cakes. This comforting dish is made using black pepper cream cheese, truffle oil, blue cheese or brie.

Hudson’s The Burger Joint (Stellenbosch)

This burger bar is popular for juicy burgers, cocktails and all sorts of cheesy bites. Bite into jalapeño chillies that are stuffed with three cheeses, battered and deep fried, and served with a sweet tomato relish. Alternatively, go for the cheesy calzoncinis. These mini golden pizza pockets are stuffed with spinach and feta, bacon, feta and avo, or creamy peri-peri chicken and mozzarella. If that’s not enough cheese for you, order a side of their rich disco fries.

Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

For a post-meal treat or a wine accompaniment, a trip to the cheese room is a treat. The offering of local cheeses at Jordan often features Fairview Blue Rock, Cremalat gorgonzola, hard cheeses like Klein Rivier gruyère and Dalewood Huguenot, and a selection of seasonal goat’s cheese.

A cheese board and bread at Jordan Restaurant. Photo supplied.

A cheese board and bread at Jordan Restaurant. Photo supplied.

The Kitchen at Maison (Franschhoek)

Visit this picturesque Franschhoek winelands restaurant for a board of glorious cheeses, including Boland cheese, linseed Huguenot, and a pungent sesame-and-poppy-seed gorgonzola. The selection is served with beautiful preserves, chutneys and other accompaniments – like peanut and tahini – which work brilliantly with the strong flavours.

The cheese board at The Kitchen at Maison.

The cheese board at The Kitchen at Maison. Photo supplied.

Tuk Tuk Microbrewery (Franschhoek)

Tuk Tuk is perfect for a cheesy portion of gluten-free nachos washed down with craft beer. Their spicy corn chip offering comes piled high with spoonfuls of creamy green guacamole, finely chopped pico de gallo and a cooling dollop of sour cream. A sprinkle of fresh coriander and tons of melted cheddar adds a winning touch. There’s also a cheesy buttermilk chicken quesadilla with cream cheese and guac for those a little hungrier.

Spiced-nachos-with-guacamole-pico-de-gallo-and-sour-cream-at-Tuk-Tuk

Spiced nachos with guacamole pico de gallo and sour cream at Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. Photo supplied.

Please note that while we take care to ensure the accuracy of our information, some details might change without our knowledge.

Is there some cheese insanity you know of that we’ve missed? Please share it with your fellow cheese lovers in the comments below.

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