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Discover the ultimate porchetta at Sandton’s new Thief restaurant

Brought to you by Land Rover Discovery

The closing of Eatery JHB was a devastating blow to many. But this distress became a simmer of excitement when it turned out that the old owners were partnering with one of their managers to bring us Thief Restaurant in its place. Naturally, we had to get a taste.

Fast facts

Food Type: Modern Bistro
Best for: Casual dinners and after-work drinks
Parking: on the street
Price: Average main price is R110
Star ratings: Food 4, Service 4, Ambience 3

Food

The menu’s ethos is one of simplicity and integrity. The food could be described as the best of bistro: simple ideas executed to perfection, plated with elegance and made with care.

If you’re there just to hit the wine bar then there’s a selection of platters and snacks available, including assorted bruschetta and oysters from Lüderitz. There’s also an exceptional smoked trout salad with roasted beetroot and horseradish cream that’s as pretty as a peach and decidedly delicious.

One of the cheese platters at Thief Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

One of the cheese platters at Thief Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

There are only five mains to choose from, but they’re all fantastic. The highlights include their perfectly al dente, homemade butternut ravioli with a rich burnt sage butter; the fall-off-the-bone confit duck leg served with braised red cabbage and caramelised apple that’s fantastically French (though a little less apples and a little more cabbage would’ve made it perfect). The win of the evening is the porchetta: a generous slice of slow-cooked rolled pork belly served alongside a simple salad and flatbread.

A starter of mussels. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A starter of mussels. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

For dessert it’s a toss-up between the honey panna cotta served with a berry sorbet and toasted nuts, and the crème brûlée. Best to order both for the table to share.

Drinks

Being a wine bar, the focus is on boutique South African wines. The list is divided into regions rather than cultivars which, whilst this may appeal to serious aficionados, can make the process of finding the right bottle rather time consuming. Make sure to ask Elena (the owner) or one of the waiters for good recommendations – they know their stuff and aren’t the types to push you to order the most expensive on the list. On the beer front there’s nothing on tap, but they have a wide selection of bottled beers and ciders, including some tasty imports.

The wine selection is impressive. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The wine selection is impressive. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Service

Great teamwork in an owner-run restaurant is the formula to success. Elena and her staff constantly work the room to ensure your every need is met and your every wish granted.

The waiters are knowledgeable about their large wine selection. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The waiters are knowledgeable about their large wine selection. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Ambience

This wine-bar-cum-bistro is doubly as spacious as its predecessor, allowing for casual dinners and al fresco dining as well as drinks in and around the bar area. The chic décor is contemporary and minimalist: Thief is all parquet floors, grey walls with exposed brick, brown leather chairs, moody lighting and high ceilings.

 And…

Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date with upcoming wine evenings where you’ll meet the makers and get to try rare gems.

Brought to you by Land Rover Discovery

Discover new culinary gems around South Africa with Eat Out and the all-new Discovery.

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