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Review: Why Coobs in Parkhurst is a local gem

James Diack is known for fresh, seasonal, fun flavours, which are put together at Coobs in a clever way to tantalise the palate, says Eat Out critic Jodi-Ann Pearton.

The beef carpaccio with crispy capers, radish, pine nuts and a truffle dressing. Photo supplied.

The beef carpaccio with crispy capers, radish, pine nuts and a truffle dressing. Photo supplied.

Fast facts

Serves: Italian-inspired bistro fare made with seasonal ingredients
Cost: Average main course is R150
Best for: Casual lunches or special-occasion dinners
Star rating: Food 4, service 4, ambience 4

The vast majority of the ingredients hail from chef James Diack's family farm, the lovely organic Brightside Farm in the Magaliesburg. Photo supplied.

The vast majority of the ingredients hail from chef James Diack’s family farm, the lovely organic Brightside Farm in the Magaliesburg. Photo supplied.

Food

The plates have a great combination of flavour, colour and texture, which work well together but are at the same time artistic and unique to the chef’s own style.

The menu changes regularly depending on the produce available, and portion sizes are generous, allowing for patrons to share and get a taste of many different dishes. The menu has a bistro influence, with classical cooking methods clearly visible throughout.

Free-range slow-braised Suffolk lamb terrine with porcini crust, pumpkin puree, kimchi, grilled baby onions and a minted jus. Photo supplied.

Free-range slow-braised Suffolk lamb terrine with porcini crust, pumpkin puree, kimchi, grilled baby onions and a minted jus. Photo supplied.

A highlight to start is the braised pork-shoulder arancini, with pork-and-lentil ragu, baba ganoush and pomegranate. The flavour of the arancini may change depending on the week, but this dish is always decadent, delicious, heart warming and filling – big enough for two to share. The Scotch egg is also a fabulous twist on a classic, with a soft centre and perfectly seasoned duck, saffron purée and edamame bean purée.

The Brightside Farm in the Magaliesburg. Photo supplied.

Is it just us, or does anyone else want to move permanently to the Brightside Farm in the Magaliesburg? Photo supplied.

The restaurant is known for its confit of Brightside (from the Diack family farm) pork belly served with slow-braised pork shoulder and truffled potato bake – and for good reason. The dish is simply scrumptious, served with crackling for texture and a hearty, sticky jus. The confit duck leg and duck pie are just as good, and should not be missed. There is also a selection of home-made pastas with creative combinations of sauces as well as traditional compositions available to suit all diners.

The white chocolate fondant with lavendar ice cream, candied pecan nuts and tomato gel. Photo supplied.

The white chocolate fondant with lavendar ice cream, candied pecan nuts and tomato gel. Photo supplied.

The pastry chef has put together a selection of sweets as pretty as a picture, so be sure to sample what’s on offer. The passion fruit and pomegranate mille-feuille with caramelised white chocolate ice cream is something to behold. The menu changes regularly, so be bold and experiment with what’s available.

Drinks

Coobs has a fair, reasonably priced wine list. The staff members are knowledgeable and keen to assist with beverage selections, so ask for help if you need it. There are non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails available, too.

The cosy interior. Photo supplied.

The cosy interior. Photo supplied.

Service

Guests receive fabulous attention to detail from the staff. Waitrons are quick and quirky, and are educated about the regularly updated menu as well as the produce on offer. It’s easy to book a table at Coobs, which makes the overall experience pleasant from the start.

Outside tables offer great people-watching opportunities. Photo supplied.

Outside tables offer great people-watching opportunities. Photo supplied.

Ambience

The street-side café offers a lovely, Euro-centric feel with a vibrant energy. The shop fitting has been done in a clean, warm way, with lots of wood and natural materials. The atmosphere is well geared towards a casual luncheon or a slightly more formal dinner occasion.

And…

Coobs has a fabulous menu of lunch specials, with wonderful home-style meals at great price points. All the meals are freshly prepared using seasonal ingredients.

(June 2017)

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

Chef James Diack has also created a handy seasonality chart to help diners make sustainable eating choices. Photo supplied.

Chef James Diack has also created a handy seasonality chart to help diners make sustainable eating choices. Photo supplied.

 

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