When it comes to guilty pleasures, the sinful crunch of fried food is right up there – and even better if it’s sugary. From choc-filled spring rolls and deep-fried Oreos to buttery cronuts and cinnamon-dusted churros, we’ve rounded up a list of utterly indulgent and undeniably wicked fried desserts.
Café Patisse (Emmarentia)
This well-loved patisserie has just moved into more accessible territory, where the inventive pastries of patissiere Martin Ferreira are much easier to come by, including his newest inspired by a ciambella di Nutella, which is a kind of doughnut, but made with his own hybrid koeksister-doughnut dough, filled with Nutella and then deep fried. He’s ready to start serving it but it has no name. He’s offering a prize of a dozen to whoever can come up with a cool name for it. Amazingly they only cost R25.
When Japanese people praise Japanese-inspired food outside of Japan, you know it’s good; the list includes Hashi’s very crispy tempura-fried ice cream and banana. It’s a wonderfully sensory experience of hot and cold, crunchy outside, containing a ball of almost-melting vanilla ice cream with the fudginess of the banana, served in a darling coup with strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. You could also try the deep-fried spring rolls oozing milk chocolate and drizzled with dark-chocolate sauce. Both are R35 each.
Yes, they’re still doing that wonderful thing with Oreos. They quickly dip them in airy batter and deep fry them so that the Oreos soften into the sweetest mush inside but look like very cute doughnuts on the outside. They’re very mmm-worthy and go for R45 for four, served with ice cream.
KCC La Vie en Rose (Killarney)
In this beautiful new location, KCC La Vie en Rose may well have cornered the deep-fried dessert market. If you’ve already tried Careless Love, a dessert of Toblerone, deep fried in a phyllo parcel and served on berry-mint coulis with ice cream (R62), perhaps try Forever Young, which is three Oreo cookies deep fried and served with an icy glass of milk, plus a trio of ice creams (R57). Don’t forget about the fabulous churros in chocolate either (R59).
Here a battered banana is deep fried and served with home-made monkey-nut sauce and Mamasan‘s own peach preserve, with a big gloop of boerber (a full-cream milk flavoured with almonds, cardamom and cinnamon, and added bits of vermicelli) ice cream, all for R65. It’s outrageously delicious, with elements of richness, crunchiness and sweet spiciness. It’s worth a special trip.
Each branch does a choice of Bar One, TV Bar or Snickers, deep-fried in a tortilla until crispy, dusted with cinnamon and served with vanilla ice cream (R39). However, there is also a delicious Mexican apple pie version, too, served similarly for the same price. You could also opt for a plate of sandwiched Oreo cookies, deep fried in batter (R38).
Momo Baohaus (Greenside)
This restaurant is an oasis of flavours. People return again and again for what’s called Deep Fried Bun, although it’s really a whole clutch of sweet little buns with a choice of sweetmilk or salted-caramel dip (R42; add R10 for another bowl of sauce).
Paquito’s Treatery (Killarney)
The neon sign for ‘churros and chocolate’ indicates you’re definitely in the right place at this semi-permanent pop-up in the Killarney Mall. You can also get really fantastic churros and melted chocolate at the Fourways Farmers Market and Neighbourgoods Market. These sublime, the-real-deal churros are R15 each, but you can get a cone of three – dipped into white, dark and caramel chocolate – for R35. There’s even a giant-sized serving for the greedy.
X&O Patisserie (27 Boxes Melville)
This is quite simply Joburg’s favourite – over more famous brand names – for deep-fried crispy croissant-like doughnuts, filled with creams, coated with flavoured sugars, and topped with more treats. Try the standouts of salted caramel with passion fruit, chocolate-hazelnut, and milk tart, all R29 each. There are many other flavours to try. Also investigate the very popular chocolate-mint cronut (R29).
As Greek as it Gets (Cullinan)
Who says deep-fried desserts always have to feature chocolate? As Greek as it Gets has a deep-fried dessert that incorporates deep-fried Danish feta wedges, which are crumbed and deep fried, and served with decadent pitted black cherries that have been cooked down, with fresh lemon and brown sugar for a lovely sweet-and-sour taste (R69). On special occasions you can also enjoy Greek loukoumadis, which are small scoops of batter dropped into oil and then into a simmering pot of aromatic lemon and honey.
Beignet Brothers (food truck)
This food truck can be spotted at various festivals in Pretoria, selling deliciously decadent beignets in various formats. The New Orleans option includes four beignets with icing sugar (R40). You could also have them with fillings of Nutella, caramel, custard, condensed milk and Tequila caramel; or various toppings such as crushed Oreos, choc-mint, coconut, ginger, honeycomb or chocolate. The latter are called Crushers and sell for R60. The Bro-Bites are nugget-sized beignets with the same filling and topping options, or topped with fresh strawberries, cream and Nutella, also for R60.
El Pistolero (Constantia Park)
Any list of deep-fried desserts should start with the prince of deep-fried desserts, the churro, leading the charge. El Pistolero serves this golden treat with either white chocolate and coconut ganache or dark chilli chocolate and milk-jam caramel. The go for R55 a portion and are not the type of thing you would want to share.
La Terrasse Rooftop Café (Menlo Park)
This café serves no fewer than three deep-fried desserts, the first of which consists of a banana dipped in a coconut-and-almond batter, deep fried in Argan oil, smothered in a peanut caramel sauce and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (R40). Next is a chocolate torte with deep-fried wafers made from rolled-out dough infused with sesame and rose water, served with rose liqueur-infused cherries and a swig of chocolate sauce (R45). Finally, there’s a deep-fried waffle generously spread with a Frangelico, Kahlúa and date topping and honey-kumquat sauce, whipped cream and kumquat brittle (R50).
The Lucky Bread Co. (Brooklyn)
Bread bakers are generally adept at enriching dough, so it is natural that The Lucky Bread Company would they would make some of the best doughnuts around. These sugar-coated doughnuts are far beyond run-of-the-mill desserts. They are made from special stone-ground flour and undergo two days of natural fermentation before being deep-fried until golden brown and then filled with jam, home-made custard, chocolate mousse or salted-caramel-popcorn mousse (R30).
Jasmine Palace (Constantia Park)
Jasmine Palace has turned the wondrous invention of deep-fried milk into a dessert. Milk is boiled for an extended time, with nothing added. Once cooled, it sets, and is then very delicately cut into cubes, ever so lightly tossed in batter and deep fried. This is then drizzled with condensed milk.
Ribs & Burgers (Waterkloof)
This Australian-based brand has re-invented traditional Afrikaner pampoenkoekies as a decadent dessert. Here butternut fritters are served with cinnamon-sugar and home-made condensed milk for R45.
Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company (Rietondale)
This trendy eatery serves Bar-Ones that have been wrapped in spring-roll pastry and deep fried for melty decadence (R36). You can also order churros, but in a totally different guise. The pastry is piped into a little cup, frozen to keep this shape, deep fried and then smothered in cinnamon-sugar and served with vanilla ice cream and dollops of ganache (R40).
Catch (Umhlanga Rocks)
After feasting on fish and chips, calamari or sushi, indulge in one of the deep-fried sweet treats on the menu. There’s chocolate-and-banana spring rolls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; churros with butterscotch and milk chocolate dip; deep-fried vanilla ice cream in a golden batter with a drizzle of chocolate sauce; and deep-fried Oreos with vanilla milk for dunking.
Daruma (North Beach)
In addition to the selection of savoury tempura, Daruma offers a decadent deep-fried ice cream served with a medley of fresh fruit and a splash of tangy orange sauce.
Fourteen on Chartwell (Umhlanga Rocks)
Finish off a gourmet pub grub meal with a cheeky dish of golden and crunchy batter encasing a Bar-One, served with a side of creamy Madagascan vanilla ice cream.
Kung Thai (Durban North)
Beat the heat by indulging in a deep-fried banana pudding with a scoop of ice cream, or the popular deep-fried ice cream served with a choice of chocolate or chilli-chocolate sauce.
Lupa (Durban North)
If you’ve got space after chowing down on pastas and pizzas, this Italian spot also offers something golden and crunchy for dessert. The bomboloni are Italian-style doughnuts that are dusted in cinnamon sugar and served with a cognac-chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream for good measure.
Old Town Italy (Umhlanga Ridge)
If you’ve already tried the Bar-One doughnut croissant at this Italian-style eatery, you’ll know that these guys don’t mess around when it comes to decadent fried pastries.
The deep-fried cronuts here come in myriad flavours. Think Amaretto, white chocolate ganache and toasted almonds; peanut-butter mascarpone and chocolate drizzle; Rocky Road; marshmallow; strawberry cheesecake… They sell out fast, so arrive early or pre-order.
Republik (Durban North)
End off your burger feast with something deep-fried and chocolatey like deep-fried Bar-One bites. These are comprised of battered mini Bar-Ones that are deep fried until golden, and served with vanilla ice cream.
Surf Riders (Addington Beach)
If you’re looking for something sweet after an afternoon surf or a walk on the promenade, Surf Riders offers decadent deep-fried piped doughnuts for dessert. The four flavours include Spanglish, with sugar and cinnamon; the Big Apple, with caramelised apple and honey; the Big Easy, with vanilla bean and a salted-caramel dipper; and the La Doughnut, with pistachios, praline meringue and a wild-berry dipper.
The Wok Box (Durban North)
Tuck into a deep-fried banana served with creamy ice cream, honey and sesame seeds. Alternatively, go right for the crispy Nutella spring rolls served with coconut custard.
Arnold’s Restaurant (Gardens)
While this beloved Kloof Street haunt is renowned for excellent early-bird fry-ups, the small dessert menu pleases with its deep-fried Bar-One option. Wrapped in crisp pastry and deep fried to perfection, the small treat resembles a spring roll and arrives with a scoop of ice cream and a splash of liquid chocolate.
Chef Pon’s (Gardens)
Known for delicious Asian flavours, generous portions and great value, this neighbourhood haunt offers a portion of two light and crispy spring rolls oozing with rich chocolate and accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream to end a meal.
The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club (Claremont)
Ditch your diet for a rich, deep-fried banana pudding. A whole banana is stuffed with dark chocolate, wrapped in a light phyllo pastry, flash fried and served with a sprinkling of almonds, a dash of chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The Eatery Wood Fired Grill (Claremont)
Get your dessert fix with a portion of this meaty eatery’s South American deep-fried churros. These golden fingers are dusted in cinnamon-sugar and served with vanilla ice cream.
As a local landmark for authentic Mexican cuisine, El Burro has some of the best churros on the block. Order a portion of crispy churros dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and served with a rich dark chocolate dipping sauce.
Fuego (Sea Point)
Grab your deep-fried fix of glorious churros at this stylish South American eatery. These beauties come drenched in a rich chocolate sauce or a sticky caramel.
Burgers may occupy a starring role at this trendy eatery, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t leave room for the deep-fried Oreos. Fried in a tasty batter and served with a sprinkling of icing sugar, the Oreo cookies arrive in generous portions of four.
Jakes on Summerley (Kenilworth)
The signature deep-fried ice cream is coated in a layer of finely crushed biscuits, flash-fried in a little oil and served with a sweet butterscotch sauce. If that’s not going to cut it, go for the Bar One spring rolls with dipping cream or the cinnamon doughnut holes with Nutella and cream.
My Sugar (Sea Point)
While everyone knows of the dainty chocolates, OTT shakes and glorious doughnuts here, it’s the latest creation that has us excited. Just in time for the cooler months, this Sea Point chocolatier is whipping up mini doughnuts that have been fried to golden perfection. Get yours in options like s’mores, hot Samoa with coconut and caramel, and banoffee pie.
Make room for deep-fried banana drizzled with honey and served with ice cream or try the popular deep-fried ice cream encased in a light peanut-based batter.
Indulge in deep-fried banana halves drizzled with honey and served with vanilla ice cream; hot, crispy chocolate-filled spring rolls splashed with chocolate sauce and served with ice cream; or crispy pastry triangles filled with melted chocolate and finely chopped cashew nuts.
Sotano (Moullie Point)
Grab a seat overlooking the beachfront and tuck into a portion of crispy churros dusted with cinnamon-sugar and served with a tub of rich chocolate dipping sauce.
Wang Thai (Milnerton)
Treat yourself with ripe banana halves coated in light batter, flash fried and crowned with sticky honey, sesame seeds and a side serving of ice cream, or the portion of six warm spring rolls filled with milk chocolate, drizzled with chocolate syrup and served with vanilla ice cream.
Crumbed and fried to perfection, the deep-fried banana arrives with a serving of vanilla ice cream and honey or chocolate sauce. Alternatively, order a portion of deep-fried vanilla ice cream coated with coconut flakes, or the banana-and-chocolate spring rolls with vanilla ice cream.
Avontuur Estate Restaurant (Somerset West)
Scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream are coated in a light batter, deep fried and served with a rich butterscotch sauce.
Dutch East Restaurant (Franschhoek)
Indulge in a traditional South African dessert with a delectable deep-fried twist. The creamy milk tart is fried in crispy pastry and served with fudge, cinnamon, macerated berries and salted caramel.
Skelligs Pub (Somerset West)
Leave room for the signature deep-fried ice cream dessert, which is wrapped in phyllo, fried, and served with a rich butterscotch sauce.
Have we missed a worthy spot for decadent deep-fried desserts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Please note that while we take care to report information accurately, some items and prices may change without our knowledge.