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Black Bamboo

  • Location 084 508 9752
  • Phone Number Menlyn Boutique, 209 Tugela Road, Ashlea Gardens, Pretoria, South Africa
  • email info@theblackbamboo.co.za
  • Website URL www.theblackbamboo.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Breakfast: Monday to Sunday 7am to 11am

    Lunch: Monday to Sunday 12noon to 3pm

    Dinner: Monday to Saturday 6pm to 10pm

Cost
R165 - R195 avg main meal; Three-course menu R380; Seven-course menu R550 (with wine pairing R650)
Ambience
Contemporary cool
Food
Fine-dining food, International
Payment
Amex, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Diane de Beer

Food
Head chef Pellie Grobler prides himself on a turn-around menu of three weeks. In their two-plus years existence, they haven’t repeated a dish – other than their lemon meringue, which is now at version 3.1 and was instituted to embrace an insistent customer.

The options are either a la carte or a seven-course tasting menu (with or without wine pairing) and the dishes are well-balanced and delicately flavoured. Starters run from Cape curry pickled fish to a fusion of salt-baked carrots beautifully displayed, pan seared scallops with peas and charred green onion to mains of pan-seared kingklip cooked to perfection, teamed with a tiger prawn on lentil puree. Or springbok loin paired with sautéed chickpeas and a bone marrow croquet.

Wine
From Neil Ellis Granache, Katvis Pinot Noir, Almenkerk Chardonnay to Craven Pinot Gris and South Hills Sauvignon Blanc, they try to keep it exciting and fresh for their predominantly young clientele.

Service
As part of a boutique hotel, the dining is constant and the staff on their toes.

Ambience
Both architecture and interiors are contemporary, with huge sculptures by Anton Smit part of the design. Because the dining room feels part of a whole, the experience has a kind of retro hotel feel, which is cool.

And…
Their motto is to change Pretoria, one meal at a time, and they’re cooking up a storm.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Alida Ryder

    Food
    This gem, situated in the leafy suburb of Ashlea Gardens in Pretoria, is a must-visit. With his fine dining cuisine, chef Pellie Grobler has taken on the task of changing the restaurant scene in Pretoria. What he is doing at Black Bamboo is quite risky, but so necessary in a city driven by mall-culture.

    His menu takes you on a journey of flavour and texture, but don’t get too used to the dishes – the menu changes every three weeks. This is something more conservative patrons might not like, but it keeps both the establishment and the diner on their toes and gives you another reason to visit them regularly.

    If you’re lucky enough to find the smoked egg on the menu, be sure to order it. A delicately smoked egg yolk is nestled in wilted spinach, sautéed wild mushrooms and paper-thin radish shavings, and is served with toasted seed bread and garlic butter.
    The braised lamb shank has become such a favourite that they’ve decided to keep it on the menu for a little while longer. A melt-in-your-mouth braised lamb shank is wrapped in phyllo pastry and baked until crisp and golden. It’s served with pea purée, sweet potato mash and a deep, dark Guinness-and-lamb jus.

    To end your meal, the lemon meringue with its thin pastry case, brûlée lemon tart, black-pepper meringue and basil crumble is absolutely delectable. There’s something quite inspiring about dining at a restaurant with this amount of potential. With a little tweaking and time, this restaurant could change the food scene in Pretoria and set the benchmark for fine dining in the capital.

    Drinks
    The wine list is quite comprehensive, with a good selection of wines per style and a sprinkling of small boutique wineries. They have taken the time to pair a wine with every dish and their pairings are excellent.

    Ambience
    The restaurant is beautifully laid out with contemporary furnishings. During the warmer months, dining on the deck is a treat, as the garden is dotted with stunning art pieces.

    Service
    Staff are friendly, knowledgeable and very attentive – sometimes perhaps a little too attentive. Passion for what they do is palpable and it’s clear that their first priority is to make sure your time there is memorable.

    And…
    They also offer a few excellent dessert cocktails for patrons who want something sweet to finish their meal but don’t feel like ordering a traditional dessert.

    (July 2015)

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User reviews

  • Dear Chef Grobler and Team, Visited your establishment on Tuesday and I have been tortured by dreams of the Steak-Tartare Amuse Bouche and of that of my Tuna starter. Oh my word I enjoyed both tremendously. Thank you Ben for also taking the time to show us the rest of the establishment.
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  • What can one say?.....Everything was just perfect! Will definately eat there again!
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  • What an experience. We arrived at 6pm and were one of the last tables out... Savouring the experience as much as possible.The staff were professional, friendly and attentive without being overbearing. The decor was beautiful and elegant, with a cosy atmosphere. We ate a variety of dishes from each course between the four of us. Each dish was gorgeous to look at, and the combinations on the plate a taste explosion! You can clearly see the effort, love and thought that went into each and every component. We are huge fans!! Thank you Pellie and team... You are definitely one of the front runners on the SA culinary forefront
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  • The Chef made time to greet us personally. It was a wonderful experience. Black Bamboo will definitely see us again. Thank you for the wonderful experience.
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  • My date and I had a truly amazing evening at Black Bamboo, the chef took the time to come and chat to us twice, explaining what wines would be best paired with the food and describing enthusiastically the amazing food he had decided should be placed on the menu that evening. I cannot wait to go back to Black Bamboo...
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  • Our waiter, Ben-John was great even althuogh it was his first night on the job! The somelier, Erez, is knowledgeable and passionate. The food was excellent, between the four of us, we tasted at least half of the menu. There was some sureptitious plate-licking on all of the dishes. We had the surg-and-turf and chicken starters; the chicken and kingklip mains, and the cheesecake and salted caramel puds.I've never been one for de-contructed desserts, and whilst I've eaten at SA's top 5 restaurants, Black Bamboo far outstrips these all these restaurants . The wines are from heaven
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  • Being a first time visitor to Black Bamboo, it has definitely got me as a returning customer. Our host Ezra, was amazing and his description and knowledge of each dish is fantastic, but still does not do the chefs work justice. The starters were all fresh and their puree mixtures were a great choice. The mains were juicy and succulent. AMAZING!! Dessert was good, not too sweet but the the mains were definitely the winner of the evening. We will definitely be returning to try out their 7 course tasting menu. Ben also provided us with an amazing service the entire night.
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  • From the moment that you park your car to the moment you leave again, is a memorable experience. Perfect food, perfect service, food looked amazing and tasted perfect,
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  • I literally love everything about the Black Bamboo - the service is impeccable, the staff are friendly and efficient and the food is extremely tasty, with plenty of colour and texture in every dish. I highly recommend this restaurant and I cannot wait to return.
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  • What a fantastic culinary experience! You will find the different flavors and visual appeal of every unique dish inspiring. Friendly staff and service excellent. The ambiance contributed to a very relaxed but elegant setting. We couldn’t get over how skillfully done it all was.
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  • First time to Black Bamboo.....what an experience! We reviewed the menu and wine list...which are both interesting and something to look forward to....however....we decided on the 7-course option, with wine paring....relatively expensive....but more than worth it.....they amazed us with dishes worthy of being fit for a king.
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  • You know we always look for good things too far,whereas they are right under our noses. Listen, calling this place a restaurant would really be an understatement. Firstly the warm welcome we received, the service, the ambiance. You don't always have to look too far to be surrounded by tranquility,serenity and peace,especially where food and wine are concerned. This place is all one needs for some time out and to get away from the busy life. The food went down so good with the wine. The desert,never had such a beautiful mouth watering Lemon Meringue ever,theirs is the best and I would definitely go back for their Springbok Loin. I loved and enjoyed every minute I spent there. What an AMAZING experience it was. The Black Bamboo is definitely the best restaurant we have been to in South Africa
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  • What a fantastic cullinary experience! You will find the different flavours and visual appeal of every unique dish inspiring. Friendly staff and service excellent. The ambience contributed to a very relaxed but elegant setting. We couldn’t get over how skillfully done it all was.
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  • Terribly disappointed. Waited forever to get an available date that suited us and we where so excited, but in the end a complete letdown. Didn't receive a warm welcome at arrival but as we where a few minutes early we didn't think to much of it...but this was clearly an indication of the rest of the service and the below average food. The waiter was not at all attentive and we need to remind him not to forget about us. We chose the 6 course tasting menu , 3 cold starters (lighly seard tuna was the only starter that was any good), forth starter was vegetarian and Was the worst, baby carrots that where so sweet we could barely eat it. The a pallet cleanser, tasted more like dishwashing detergent. Only one main course, pasta with the moste dry tasteless chicken breast ever. The whole table was not impressed with only one main and then to top it is was a small dry breast. Dessert was good and we could see effort and thought was put into this dish. We will not be returning to Black Bamboo. A tasting menu should be an offering of the best on the menu or the best the chef has on offer, the freshest and in season ingredients... Not worth the money or wait.
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  • The Black Bamboo @ The Menlyn boutique hotel is a beautiful space in which to relax and indulge. Excellent service, professional staff. The food is a perfect blend of flavors,beautifully presented. The seared tuna melted in the mouth. The wine pairing is spot on with each dish, it really does add to the taste experience. The sea bass was excellent, Hubby loved it. The Beef Fillet perfectly medium and the mushroom purée... wow. Pavlova light and fresh flavors. Gorgeous Anton Smit sculptures placed around the hotel. We will be back. What a treat.
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  • As part of our choice for restaurant week, my boyfriend and I enjoyed date night at the elegant Black Bamboo. I love how secluded this hotel is yet so accessible. Our servers Bridgette and Ferez ensured that the fine dining standards of the restaurant were upheld through out our dining experience. Our food was delicious and served with finesse. Thank you for the impeccable service and outstanding dishes. Can't wait to return!
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  • Insofar as dining out in Gauteng is concerned, labelling "Black Bamboo" a "restaurant" is a bit like describing Michael Phelps as a "swimmer". From a simple categorization point of view, it's probably correct. If you have however had the pleasure of experiencing the level of brilliance in action (That is both Mr Phelps and the Black Bamboo), you'd know that there is so much more to Black Bamboo than a "restaurant." You see, the thing is this; Black Bamboo don't create (the word "make" wouldn't be accurate as anyone can "make" food) dishes. The create culinary experiences. From the manner in which you are received, greeted with a glass of bubbly and seated at the table amidst the perfectly designed contemporary looking Menlyn Boutique Hotel, you pretty much know that you're in for a dining experience far removed from the norm. Once seated and having made a wine selection, you embark on the adventure that is encapsulated in the menu. Nothwithstanding the fact that the casual description on the menu belies the perfect combination of flavours and beautifully presented dishes which will make its way out of the kitchen towards you, should elect to direct your index finger towards its description on the menu, the text will pretty much leave you salivating. My wife and I decided to give the springbok loin and salmon a respective go. In a word the experience was "phenomenal". Each item was so incredibly delicately prepared and added genuine depth of flavour to the dish. The food not only looked amazing, but one was left with the idea that each item and its placement on the plate had received extremely careful thought. I wouldn't be surprised if the kitchen was littered with tweezers, spirit levels, protractors and the like. I'm not sure that the level of perfection could be achieved by any less painstaking attention to detail. The springbok which I'd carefully preserved n my freezer and intended preparing for my in-laws in my Weber over the weekend, suddenly seemed far less exciting... Dessert blew our mind! Quite clearly, I've been misled my whole life and now for the first time know what lemon meringue should taste like. Thyme in lemon meringue? Are you kidding me? What level of genius does it take to know that these type of things will leave your palate dazed in a post taste-explosion frenzy? Go see Michael Phelps swim post-Rio. You won't be disappointed. If you can't, make a reservation at Black Bamboo and determine whether you should still label it a "restaurant". I highly doubt it....
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  • Thank you so much for making our date night the best one we have had. The food was amazing and the ambiance was romantic. The service was great. The waiter really knew his wines (we did the pairing with every meal). It is the kind of food that you will not easily forget! We will definitely be going there more often. Thank you so much.
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  • We love dining out, where ever we travel its always based around food, We have been blessed to eat at some of the worlds best restaurant and There is a couple of meals that will stay with me forever , The tuna dish from la colombe, snail porrage form the fat duck , the millionaires nest eggs from mosaic ,Mole madre form pujol and the springbok loin form Black Bamboo, How this restaurant is not in the top 10 of south Africa boggles my mind, We had a fantastic experience, the service was super attentive without being intrusive , the wine list was the most interesting we had anywhere in South Africa, The food was mind blowing, the scallops starter , springbok loin main and chocolate mousse with smoked yoghurt was amazing . We could not stop talking about it even on the way home. A true dining experience!! we will be back often.
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  • MISREPRESENTATION WHICH COST US THOUSANDS -I don't care how good the food is - the service is shocking! We contacted Black Bamboo to make a reservation for a Saturday night for my 26th birthday. The reservation was confirmed by them. Thereafter I booked 3 rooms in the Menlyn Hotel which cost me over R5100.00. In addition, I booked 4 massages at the Menlyn spa. After booking and paying for massages and the accommodation we were telephonically contacted by the owner of Black Bamboo and told that the person we made the reservation with misinformed us and that there is no place at Black Bamboo for the night we booked for. After explaining to the owner how much money it cost me to book at the hotel and spa the owner said it was "unfortunate" and was totally unsympathetic! I don't care how good the food is - the service is shocking! We would have never incurred the accommodation and spa costs had we known there was no place at Black Bamboo!
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  • We expected much more. Sorry the food was not tasty.
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  • Our first fine dining experience! The restaurant is really beautiful, tastefully done, the food and service was excellent! I enjoyed the olive and cranberry loaf that much that the pastry chef presented me with a lovely piece to take home! I am definitely going back! Finally somthing different in pretoria! The spa was also great, mum and I did a pamper time session, was thoroughly enjoyed!
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  • Great service, outstanding food!!!
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  • We had dinner her in May 2014. BEST food ever! Each plate is presented in such an amazing way and your palate will be in heaven! Chef Pellie is one incredible cook and such a great guy! The restaurant has an ambience and romantic feel and is very cozy and comfortable. You will LOVE every bite and even though its not Huge meals, after all the plates of different tastes and textures you will be full and satisfied. This is truly probably the best meals I have ever tasted in my life, completely different than anything else you have ever eaten and each plate is a taste bud explosion and you want more. A bit pricey but So good. Fine dining for sure and the restaurant from start to finish simply gorgeous and a must for everyone who can afford to go.
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  • The Black Bamboo is truly in a league of it's own. Our first visit was during Valentines in 2014 where we were greeted by the most friendly staff imaginable. The food was truly mouth watering and out of this world. We had a quiet and romantic dinner outside with some good wine and we even met the chef as he made his rounds to all the tables having a good chat and asking the diners if they had a good experience. Truly worth remembering. Our second visit to the Black Bamboo was during December 2014 when they hosted their very first Sequins and Bow Tie New Year event. Again a night to remember, even with the rain, the live bands catered to every music need and the food flew in in abundance, the waiters catered to our every need and made sure our glasses was never empty. We will definitely be returning to the Black Bamboo, for a romantic night out and for the next New Years gathering.
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  • Not happy with my second time round! Will not return again!

    Our first experience was amazing. We were so happy with the experience and the food, service etc. I have referred many of my friends to Black Bamboo for special occasions because of the great experience we had.

    We have 2 children and therefore do not get a lot of chances to dine in restaurants like Black Bamboo, as often as we would like. My wife and I organised baby sitters for the night so that we can have another great experience at Black Bamboo on a "Date" night.

    We really looked forward to the dining, based on our previous experience. Well the experience was the total opposite!!! What a serious disappointment! I will name it as it happened.
    - Our first drinks order was lost. 10 minutes later we had to re-order.
    - Then our mains took more than an hour to be served. We had to ask twice about the progress of our food order.
    - I ordered the Springbok in filo pastry. The filo pasty was not crispy. It was a soft filo. I might be wrong, but I expected a crispy filo pastry.
    - My wife ordered a kingklip. The food was cold.
    - I ordered the crème Brule with vodka as dessert. As our order arrived, I was served with a chocolate dessert. I had to call the waiter back to wait again for my correct order.

    This level of service is not acceptable to us. I hope that Black Bamboo will strive to better service in the future!!!!

    When the bill arrived, the dessert was not on the bill. I was told that it was on the house to make up for the bad experience. To me this does not make any difference. I do not expect anything for free. I just expect excellent service! We did not get excellent service on the night!

    The flowers on the bar were old and dead! Only halfway through the evening did they replace it. This in unacceptable. It really does not make a good impression.
    The music in the restaurant was very loud. We could not even hear the waiter or each other, while the band was playing.
    We had a table very close to the kitchen door and the bar. This is also the area where the waiters have their conversations or arguments. I really did not feel comfortable with the constant discussions between the waiters. It did make my experience very bad.

    I would think twice to go to Black Bamboo on the next time that my wife and I want to go on a date night!

    Black Bamboo is an upmarket restaurant with good priced meals, but I have to say that my last experience did not live up to the standard.

    I really hope that other people will not experience the same bad service or experience as we had!!! The fact that the chef gets married soon should not have an impact on the food served or to the experience!

    4 days after an email was send, no reply!
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  • Finally a restaurant in Pretoria that dares to be different, amazing food , brilliant service and totally unique wine list. Best of all is the fact that the chef took time to come see us at our table... Best restaurant in Pretoria by far!
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  • Ran into this restaurant on EatOut and decided to give it a try for Mother's Day lunch. No expectations. And what a find it turned out to be!

    The setting is chic and modern; high-beamed ceilings, an expansive outdoor wooden deck, and a striking stone sculpture. Effortless sophistication without the pretension. The service was attentive and warm; our special request for a herbal tea of grated fresh ginger with lemon and mint was arranged with a smile.

    The real coup though was the food itself. Mom and I had the Green Thai Curry Kingclip - a silky, spicy and succulent ensemble. The accompanying banana slivers coated in coconut were a treat of sweet in savoury. My dessert was fresh, tart and inventive: a granadilla sorbet with gin (yes, you've read correctly! Gin!) jelly while Mom had a cloud soft chocolate treat into which you could just snuggle and die.

    The menu apparently changes every two weeks so there is no guarantee that you will find these same dishes. However, I have no doubt that the kitchen, led by head chef Pellie Grobler, will be whipping up some equally thrilling culinary sorcery to transfix your palette. Looking forward to the next two weeks. Hold onto this one Pretoria!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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