Johannesburg boasts some of the best hotels in the country, which in turn play host to some of its finest food offerings. Whilst each of these restaurants is known for its top-notch service and ‘go the extra mile’ attitude, we set out to pin-point what exactly sets them apart and what each restaurant does best.
It’s the crème de la crème of hotels, where the impetus is on keeping numbers to a minimum to ensure that each and every experience is exceptional. Whilst their prices are in the upper echelon, there’s an attention to detail you’ll struggle to find elsewhere and a spirit of generosity in everything they do. (Afternoon drinks on the Terrace are complemented by baskets of delectable roasted nuts and biltong.)
At Qunu, vegetarians and vegans will be delighted by an entirely separate and comprehensive menu dedicated to an extraordinary assortment of plant-based delicacies. Every morning fresh produce is hand-picked from the rooftop garden and featured in dishes – the carrot, pearl barley and sunflower seed risotto with apple purée, carrot ketchup, rainbow carrots and carrot bacon is one such enchantment.
And, if you haven’t heard the news, Chef Candice Philip has taken over from Luke Dale Roberts and is wowing patrons with her new restaurant, Grei. Her tasting menu is a sensory journey of herbaceous ingredients and a multifaceted exploration of texture, colour, flavour and ambience. Simply put: her dishes are delicate, beautiful and gobsmackingly good.
Go for: Business dinners, afternoon tea, and champagne at the Perrier-Jouët Champagne Garden
The Perrier-Jouët bar and garden offers a uniquely styled signature champagne range at the most refreshing prices – in fact, you’re unlikely to find prices this good anywhere else: Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut for R820, GH Mumm for R995, Veuve Clicquot for R1150 and local MCCs Charles Fox Brut and Graham Beck Brut for R450 and R330 respectively. The bar leads onto a terraced garden with a croquet lawn, perfect for afternoon spoiling and sundowners.
Level Four Restaurant sees Executive Chef Matthew Foxon heading up a supremely talented team of chefs who all have a part in designing the seasonal a la carte menu. The menu showcases classic ideas elevated through the use of contemporary interpretation and bold flavours. Think miso broth with a pan-seared scallop, Thai red curry and pickled micro vegetables to start; and beef fillet with braised short rib, parsnip, baby onions and dauphinoise potato for mains. Add to that the urbane setting, the superb service and the list of limited edition CWG auction wines and you’re guaranteed a flawless business dinner.
And, of course, the indulgent afternoon teas are an absolute must on any day of the week.
Go for: Business lunches and romantic dinners
Seating a maximum of 36 guests, the intimacy of Clico Restaurant makes it the perfect venue for intricate conversations. It’s plush and sophisticated with vaulted ceilings, elegant furnishing in shades of white and grey and glass doors that open onto a quaint al fresco dining area.
Business lunches are a breeze. Those pressed for time can choose from the more casual lunch menu inclusive of quiches, salads and homemade pastas. Those wanting to indulge a little can opt for one of the more serious mains from the a la carte dinner menu: the braised lamb with sweet potato dauphinoise, courgettes, pearl onions and aged balsamic jus is a must.
It’s also the perfect oasis for starry-eyed dinner dates. Chef Marnus Scholly’s innovative and eclectic menu utilises classic techniques and South African flavours. You can choose between the a la carte menu and the six-course tasting menu (every dish has an optional by-the-glass wine pairing).
Go for: Business breakfasts, Jazz Sundays and afternoon tapas
Winehouse at Ten Bompas’s Chef Johannes De Bruin continues to impress with his evolving and inventive tasting menus. Classic French cuisine is given an Asian twist, making his cuisine both richly satisfying and a little rebellious. But have you been for breakfast? There are no buffets or tables overladen with pastries, just a concise one-page menu with seven choices, all of which are delicious and the majority of which cost between R60 and R85. Think exceptional eggs Benedict with honey-glazed bacon and avocado, smoked salmon with truffle scrambled eggs, and pain perdu (French toast) with seasonal berries and maple syrup.
Then there are Jazz Sundays on the first Sunday of every month, when you can soak up the sun in the manicured garden, indulge in a three-course lunch and listen to stellar jazz bands from around SA.
They’ve also just introduced a new tapas menu to be served daily between 3pm and 7pm, so skip the traffic and wind down with an ice cold glass of chardonnay and a plate of truffle and brie arancini, or some lamb neck croquettes accompanied by a Devil’s Peak pale ale.
Go for: Cocktails and sharing plates at sunset
What sets the dining experience at Preview apart is the vistas after which it’s named. There are very few places in Johannesburg where you can experience palatial views that properly encapsulate the world’s largest man-made forest.
Preview offers premium cocktails, wines and champagnes alongside sharing plates: it’s a vibrant bar and casual dining scene. Try one of the signature martinis alongside the remarkable ginger-smoked beef fillet and Szechuan pepper sauce, or the confit pork belly with crackling, star anise purée and saké apples. Is your mouth watering yet?