You would be forgiven for thinking Metanoia was a Greek eatery – and owner Nick Mavro wouldn’t be mad either. He is Greek, after all. But that’s not what the restaurant is about; the menu brings together all the best comfort food from various cuisine styles, says Eat Out critic Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine.
Cost: Average main meal is R90
Parking: Find a spot on the street, or around the corner at Arbour Square on Juta Street
Best for: Casual bites with friends
Star rating: Food and drinks 5, ambience 4, service 5
The menu is still a work in progress. Nick, who fell in love with Braam and decided to open his eatery here, says he’s only just started to figure out his market and is tweaking the concept as he goes along. What started out as a slightly intimidating eatery in the space previously occupied by late-night cocktail bar AntiEst, complete with tablecloth settings and a pulpit at the entrance, has now been replaced by a more relaxed setting, sexy tunes, and pretty soon, a menu that will include ribs and a cake stand with the day’s fresh bakes. You won’t be disappointed by the current offering, which includes starters (or tapas as they are referred to on the menu) like tasty twice-cooked chicken wings laced with a citrus teriyaki glaze and fried calamari with chunky homemade tartar sauce and lemon.
Popular flatbreads have fillings that range from seared beef strips, red onion and tzatziki (The Sparta) to zucchini, spring onion fritters, sautéed cabbage and bean hummus (6 Days) and crispy calamari, marinated peppers and lemon mayo (The Inca). All are served with can’t-stop-eating-those skinny fries.
There is a wide choice of fancy salads. Give the signature Metanoia salad a try as a lunchtime indulgence. It comprises green beans, cucumber, snow peas, red cabbage, toasted seeds and olives, and is served with a cider-and-sage vinaigrette and topped with gorgonzola ice cream.
Other specialties include the popular Metanoia burger made with 160g pure beef patty and the chicken schnitzel sandwich served on a baguette with lemon mayo, wild rocket and a tomato, red onion and avo salsa.
For dessert, try the lemon tart with triple-thick yoghurt or the comforting banana malva pudding with creamy custard. The almond milk and vanilla bean panna cotta with maple crumble is also a treat.
Disappointingly, only Protea wine is available by the glass, but there are other local favourites to order by the bottle. A particular hit are the cocktails served out of mini fishbowls.
Like a breath of fresh air, Metanoia has blown into the corner of Braamfontein that’s come to be known as the “Soho of Johannesburg”. As you sit on one of the tall, black, steel stools perfectly positioned on the restaurant’s balcony to watch passersby, you’ll occasionally see the Red City Bus Tour packed with tourists pointing and staring as they drive by from their rooftop seats.
Staff members are on hand to explain items on the menu that customers might not be able to decipher, such as the fact that the flatbread is made fresh on the premises, and served rolled, and is pretty much like a shwarma. If there’s anything you don’t eat, feel free to chat to your waiter and they’ll be happy to try and accommodate you.
Weekends are busy and Saturdays are usually the nights when DJs will be playing until the early hours.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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