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Review: Lucky Bean in Johannesburg

Lucky Bean

Lucky Bean interior. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Over the years Lucky Bean has always delivered consistently good food, combining traditional South African flavours with a contemporary twist, says Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine.

Food

As a starter, the ostrich bobotie spring rolls (four in a portion), drizzled with a thick berry-and-balsamic reduction, offer a satisfying salty crunch complemented by a sweet, cool smoothness. This remains a firm favourite on the menu.

The Cuban-style slow-roasted pork belly in a citrus-and-garlic dressing is very tender, served with more than a few forkfuls of black beans and rice. The spicy snoek and sweet potato fish cake, however, is not so successful, arriving as a lone and rather flat offering with a few lonely sprigs of watercress. Noteworthy mains include the open springbok pie, slow-cooked in port jus and served with caramelised onions, mashed potatoes and rooibos.

The ostrich burger with bobotie-rice stuffing, mushroom and bacon sauce, accompanied by either hand-cut chips or salad, is also worth your consideration.

Lucky Bean’s selection of homemade ice creams – including flavours like mango and chilli, amasi, Turkish delight and rosewater, vanilla bean, and espresso – make for a light and exciting way to close the meal. The delicate coffee-and-cardamom mousse served on mint chips is also a top choice.

Drinks

The wine selection includes offerings from De Morgenzon, Meinert, Babylonstoren and Badenhorst family wines, proving that the owner pays attention to good wines as well as the food. Cocktail lovers will enjoy the not-too-sweet and slightly sour Wasabi Wazoo. It’s made with fresh lime, cucumber, lemon juice and gin, laced with wasabi, and topped with dry lemon. The Gold Margarita, made with lime juice, gold tequila and a touch of Grand Marnier, served frozen or straight up with the traditional salt-lined rim, also goes down well.

Lucky Bean mural

Lucky Bean mural. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Service

The waiters are accommodating, friendly and efficient, with owner Connor Falconer always making time to pull up a chair and get to know both new and regular patrons.

Ambience

The décor (including the Lucky Bean tree and matching murals that snake around the walls) could do with a bit of a refresh – something perhaps a touch more modern, to reflect the contemporary style of the cuisine.

And…

On weekend afternoons, the vibe is set by guest DJs spinning their beats.

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

Have you tried the ostrich bobotie spring rolls – or something else? – at Lucky Bean recently? Tell us what you thought by writing a review. 

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