At the very bottom of Jozi’s city centre, a brand new restaurant has opened in the spot formerly occupied by the Joziburg Lane Market. Created by Gerald Garner, developer of the bravest inner city spaces, the restaurant is called Hangout Jozi, after an event series also run by Gerald. It’s only been open since the end of August, but is already proving extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. The feel of the place is very casual, easy and South African at-a-glance and the foods are all prepared and cooked in one central kitchen. “It all happened almost by its own design, becoming one restaurant space, after the various food markets we used to have,’” says Gerald Garner.
This restaurant’s food is meant for sharing and there are lots of so-called tapas dishes and mighty platters. The most popular is the Grand Hangout Meat Platter, which is full of meats braaied just outside, like chicken wings, boerewors and chakalaka wors, small flat-ribs, coleslaw, a green salad, bread and pap, plus a blue cheese sauce and tasty dhania sauce. The dhania sauce also accompanies the little starters of spinach-wrapped olive-and-feta bundles. There are also fish platters and stews, typical Indian items like bunny chows, and very popular vegetarian platters.
Traditional desserts are elevated, many of them gooey and tempting, in addition to local preserves and cheeses. Gerald’s ex-wife bakes and provides one of the most-ordered desserts on the menu, the coyly named Ex-Wife’s Honeycomb Cake.
With the staff used to crowds, the service is swift and fun, especially over weekends. The huge upper level of the restaurant makes for a great functions space, a world of its own away from the main restaurant’s customers. There is also a bar that punts local gins, craft beers and wines. There is another menu for GiniJozi gin and food pairings, which has already proven popular.
Hangout Jozi is currently open from Thursdays to Sundays and will soon start increasing trading days.