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James Diack’s Douglas + Hale offers gastro fare and cocktails galore

Douglas + Hale sits on a stretch of 4th Avenue in Parktown North where chef James Diack thrives. (Coobs, Il Contadino and La Stalla are nearby.) Previously the site of Diack’s The National, Douglas + Hale opened in late 2018  with the idea that it would be a cool wine and cocktail bar combined with an eatery that offers bar fare, tapas-style portions and substantial mains. As such, it’s as much about the tipple as it is about the nosh, and where the former excels (with some stellar cocktails and a ridiculously impressive wine list), the latter isn’t half bad.

 

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For starters: Tuna carpaccio, lemon zest, olive oil, capers and chilli flakes.

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Fast facts

Food type: Bistro/gastro bar fare
Cost: R120 average main meal
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 3; Service: 3; Ambience: 3

Food

Like Coobs in Parkhurst and its two other sibling restaurants, Douglas + Hale benefits from the fresh produce and meat (including wild boar) from a family farm in the Magaliesberg, which means on any random day they could be smoking free-range chicken wings or wild boar on the pavement across the street. For my meal, that smoky, succulent boar was used to stuff the generous agnoloti main. The chicken wings were cooked well and smoked to perfection, though they could have done with a little less barbecue sauce.

 

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The salad options are substantial – options include everything from a house green and a good old Caesar to an option of roast beetroot, goat’s cheese, crispy leek, rocket and organic leaves. If you’re ravenous, opt for the double cheeseburger with aged boerenkaas and hand-cut fries.

 

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The sweet-toothed will be satisfied by the Eton mess or the Sicilian-style lemon tart. If you’re really throwing caution to the wind, the deep-fried Snickers bar with marshmallow ice cream will round off your meal nicely.

 

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Prepare for gooey goodness: Our famous deep fried Snickers bar served with marshmallow ice cream. Photo by @thejoburgfoodie.

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Drinks

The extensive wine list famously includes up to 66 wines by the glass. If you prefer cocktails, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

 

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Ambience

This feels like a smart gastro bar, filled with groups. Booking isn’t mandatory but it is recommended, especially over weekends.

 

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Plush and perfect for after work drinks and nibbles. Photo by @zodwa

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Service

Oddly slow on this visit, but others have had better experiences.

Best for…

An enjoyable evening out or a very relaxed date.

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Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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