The same team that brought us The Griffin and Perron has now opened A Streetbar Named Desire – a cool tapas restaurant combined with a cocktail bar and awesome views across Rosebank. Even better? This isn’t one of those tapas spots where you’re left underfed and out of pocket.
Best for: Sundowners, dinner with friends and weekend partying
Cost: R65 average price per sharing plate
Parking: On the street
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Service: 3; Ambience: 4
The menu is divided into seafood and meat tapas and vegetarian tapas. It’s a flavour explosion with a clear Middle Eastern/Ottolenghi influence – dishes are awash with paprika, za’atar, mint, lemon, pomegranate, tahini and zhug. Everything is zesty, tangy and spicy. The dishes aren’t exactly cheap – for three plates you’ll probably spend about R180 per person, but it’s definitely worth it. These dishes are delectable, bold and beautifully plated.
Standouts include the succulent harissa-marinated sirloin with a citrus-and-chilli punch from the preserved lemon and chimichurri, and the Iraqi spiced chicken breast with an almond-and-parsley relish and chicken crackling. Deep and earthy flavours enrobe the tender chicken, which has the crispiest skin. Vegetarians should opt for the elegant burrata with artichokes, fennel, lemon and parsley, and the roasted cauliflower with green tahini, za’atar and pomegranate. Both are delicate, vibrant and delicious.
Dessert welcomes a feast of fusion: think ginger cake with hibiscus poached pear, rum syrup and crème pâtissière; and a chocolate delice with miso ice cream and sesame brittle.
The plush interior, decked out in dapper shades of emerald, is chic and striking – perfect for an intimate dinner or drinks. The upstairs deck situated on the second floor is what really pulls in the crowds – you’ll find city views similar to Marble (though not as high up), as well as great music and an unpretentious vibe.
There’s a refreshingly affordable wine list with a good selection available by the glass. Mark-ups are reasonable, with few bottles costing more than R400. Cocktails are the main attraction, with a good balance of in-house signatures and classics.
It’s collected, informal and friendly. Waiters could do with knowing the menu a little better, but no doubt that will come with time.
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