While it was already established as a firm Johannesburg favourite, Warm & Glad has now grown up, having moved to a larger space downstairs from its old location on Jan Smuts Avenue in Craighall Park. The focus is now on an Asian-inspired menu with ramen noodles as the star of the show, says Eat Out critic Rupesh Kassen.
A selection of bar plates is ideal to share around the table at the beginning of the feast. A word of caution, however: the sharing will stop there as you will want keep your steaming bowl of slurp-worthy ramen all to yourself.
Amongst the starters, the Korean fired chicken is must. (Colonel Saunders, eat your heart out!) This crispy chicken is lovingly marinated before being cooked in duck fat and is served with smoked chilli ketchup. The Ho Chi Minh salad with sesame-roasted sirloin and Asian greens is bright and beefy and can also be enjoyed as a larger portion – perfect for a hearty lunch. Pork-belly steamed buns are pockets of heavenly dough filled with tender pork slices and pickled shiitake mushrooms to cut through the richness, served with a spicy dipping sauce to add some heat.
On to the serious business of the ramen bowls. A wide variety of options await and you’ll have a tough time choosing between: pork and kombu, shiitake and daikon, dang duck, udon beef ragu, seabass-and-bacon dashi, or roasted chicken and chilli pear. Astonishingly, each dish offers different complexities; I was guilty of dipping my chop sticks around the table. My favourite was the dang duck, a steaming bowl of delicious noodles with beautifully cooked confit duck, perfectly balanced with chargrilled leeks and a 68-degree sous-vide egg. Wonderful for a cold winter’s evening.
If slurping ramen is not your thing, you may want to tuck into the homemade burgers, the patties of which use a combination of sirloin, shin and brisket, with a sesame-potato brioche bun and triple-cooked parmesan-and-truffle fries. Creative burger toppings like kimchi and cheese curds or bacon butter and bacon snow definitely deserve a chance.
If you still have space for dessert, choose between two options: chocolate ganache with espresso ice cream and passionfruit jelly, or apple soufflé with sous-vide apple and honeycomb.
No bowl of ramen is complete without soju, a Korean version of sake. Warm & Glad is the place to try it! The wine list is carefully crafted and features small Cape farms like Newton Johnson and Crystallum, plus some trendy Swartland wines. Cocktails like Lisbon Nights with white port and Fitch & Leedes tonic will certainly get your evening started. Beer goes with ramen, so try the Japanese Asahi for a refreshing change.
Management and staff are well versed on the menu and will ensure that you are properly looked after.
Find a spot at the bar for a view of the glassed-in kitchen to see your dishes being prepared or have a seat at a table in one of the two dining spaces with walls adorned with interesting artwork for sale. On warmer evenings you may want to enjoy the courtyard at the back.
Every Thursday at Warm & Glad is Ramen Night, so join in for a noodle-filled evening of Asian beer, steaming bowls of ramen and chilled Japanese beats.
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