This iconic grill house has been serving great steaks in Joburg since 1994. They are famous for the on-site butchery, which can cut any meat to your requirements. The extensive menu features seafood dishes, steaks, lamb cuts, venison, salads and hearty stews. Try the famous fall-off-the-bone oxtail stew, which is served in a small cast- iron potjie, or the venison pie, if you’re into game meat. All main dishes are served with choice sides like creamed spinach, sautéed seasonal vegetables or roast pumpkin, pap and tomato gravy. The dessert menu is small and features typical South African desserts like malva pudding and brandy pudding.
This establishment is also famous for its wine selection. There are two wine cellars on site, featuring local and international wines and rare vintages. A sommelier is on hand to guide, advise and recommend wine to pair with your food. There’s also a full bar, with both local and imported beers, ciders, cocktails and soft drinks.
The service is slow for such a busy restaurant, but waiters understand the menu and make good menu recommendations. The restaurant gets full on the weekends and booking ahead is essential.
Warm and cosy, with very masculine décor elements. The private dining rooms and lounges make The Butcher Shop perfect for business meetings or private dinners.
Do visit the adjoining butchery and deli, where you’ll find excellent meat cuts, biltong and condiments to take home with you.
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The Butcher Shop & Grill is an institution. As you would expect from such an establishment, they wow from the outset, says Eat Out critic Hennie Fisher.
Their selection of starters offers something for everyone: fresh oysters with horseradish and lemon; sardines done in a Portuguese style; garlic snails; baked camembert; a Mozambican prawn fiesta (500g or 1kg) served with garlic, lemon butter and peri-peri sauces; prawn cocktail; game or beef carpaccio; smoked salmon; sticky riblets; chicken wings or livers; and gravlax. It’s all there.
The remaining sections of the menu offer salads, their signature steaks (because of their thickness, some steaks may take up to 40 minutes to prepare), signature entrées with sauces and sides in a separate section, lamb, pork, poultry, fish and seafood, vegetarian and venison dishes, and a page of homemade desserts.
Delicious bread, large hand-rolled butterballs and a small dish with juicy pieces of boerewors in a brown gravy appear on a wooden plank as an amuse bouche. Condiments are simple yet very appropriate – English mustard, sundried chopped chillies, red and green Tabasco – and good, old-fashioned mint sauce appears after the lamb cutlets are ordered.
Of course, meat will probably be the main drawcard for most people, and the Argentinian rib-eye steak and traditional steak tartare would appease many a meat lover’s desire for a carnivorous fix. For those whose appetites are a little less bloodthirsty, they do offer a tasty vegetarian burger (made with a falafel patty), and to end on a sweet – if slightly old-fashioned – high, nothing can beat malva pudding, jelly and custard, lemon meringue pie, halva ice cream, or a cheese platter.
A portion of lamb chops ordered medium with baked potato and morogo is near perfection: four thickly cut lamb chops are simply and perfectly grilled with minimal basting and just the right amount of seasoning. A small bowl with thick sour cream accompanies the potato, and the morogo is simply seasoned with onion and salt. A better plate of simple, yet extremely well-cooked food would be hard to find in Johannesburg.
Although prices might seem somewhat steep (there is a basic minimum charge of R200 per head for adults), the portions are large and the quality of the food excellent, and the mix of guests a poster image for what a truly unified South Africa could look like.
Like everything else in this restaurant, the wine list is straightforward and no-nonsense, comprising 14 pages of all the great varietals in South Africa, with listings of many great bottles and credit given to the winemakers – a nice touch. Your attention might be drawn to the Cape Winemakers Guild auction wines, which are available for viewing in their wine cellar. The Pick’s Pick collection are the only wines available by the glass, and even though this must ensure simple stock-taking, it would be nice to see some of the other delicious wines also available by the glass. There is a small selection of high-end champagnes and the list ends with dessert wines in full bottle or 50ml glass portions. Other beverages such as whiskies and cognacs are listed at the end of the food menu.
There are enough waiting staff to run a cruise ship, but as this is a large restaurant that can become very busy, all hands need to be on deck at times. There is a clear distinction between waiting staff and clearing staff. Waiters seem to be allocated to a specific set of tables, which does result in that uncomfortable situation where other waiters pass by an empty glass because that table belongs to another. Despite this niggle, the service is generally good; with a little effort it could be excellent. Doggy bags are done with lovely flair and style, with each portion of food tucked away in its own container with a paper lid.
There are no tricks here; what you see is what you get, and that is old-fashioned quality, style and simplicity. The restaurant offers the entire menu for perusal outside in glass-fronted cases. It’s best to enter the restaurant from the Sandton Square side (close to the statue of Madiba), since the entrance close to the theatre next door will necessitate you weaving your way through the entire restaurant to get to the reception desk. Seats at tables in the outdoor section, which is separated from the square by flower boxes, make for interesting people watching. At around 6pm there’s a wonderful mix of early dinner and late lunch guests enjoying the flow of food and wine. The restaurant also has a few private rooms available, but it is the newer, less formal outside area that offers the best seats on built-in banquettes.
In addition to the restaurant, there’s also a very successful butchery and food shop, which stays open as long as the restaurant does. They offer everything from well-aged hand-cut steaks, roasts, great-looking oxtail, whole ducks and prime goat to salmon, Frenched racks of lamb and many other wonderful pieces of meat. You can also pick up special cooler bags and dry ice if you’re travelling a long distance, and all orders can be placed in advance.
This fabled New York-style steakhouse is still serving expertly aged meat to a mix of loyal fans, tourists, businessmen and die-hard carnivores. Their oysters have become a drawcard too, and the restaurant now serves up over 800 oysters a day – a plump and juicy start to your meal!
In terms of meat cuts, you’re really spoilt for choice between the standard aged, grass-fed and fat-marbled Wagyu. Standout dishes on the menu include the slow-roasted lamb, sirloin on the bone and the venison pie. Pescatarians are not left wanting: there's an extensive offering of grilled linefish, calamari, prawns, crayfish and Scottish salmon to choose from. Be sure not to miss out on the delicious Kobe-style Wagyu sandwich if you're just popping in for a quick lunch, or need some sustenance after a Sandton City shopping jaunt.
They offer an extensive and thorough list of wines, beers and whisky to choose from. Wines are fairly expensive, starting from R200 a bottle and then climbing steeply. There’s also an excellent and well-curated vintage wine list for a special occasions, as well as an edited but excellent offering of their own brand wines by the glass.
Professional, slick and well informed service from a loyal brigade of bow-tied waiters and floor managers.
This upscale but homely Jozi institution feels right for every occasion, from a business meeting to a relaxed dinner or weekend lunch with old friends.
Be sure to investigate the extensive take-home deli offering of aged beef cuts, game, pre-cooked ribs and shellfish.
Janine WalkerThere’s a butchery on site, which features meat that is aged to perfection. Meat on the bone is dry hung, while the rest undergoes a wet ageing process. The Butcher Shop and Grill continues to be the place of choice for locals and the first port of call for many international visitors keen to experience renowned South African meat and wine. There’s everything from Kobe-style Wagyu beef with its gorgeous fat marbling – both imported from Australia as well as that raised in South Africa – to sirloin and aged prime rib. One of the house specialities is the izimbambo zemvu, in which the perfectly cooked lamb riblets and neck take centre stage. Other starters include grilled baby calamari, snails and beef carpaccio. Fish sales at The Butcher Shop & Grill are more than that of most specialist fish restaurants – they sell hundreds of oysters a week, fresh prawns and Loch Duart Scottish salmon. (July 2013)
Overpriced, arrogant, to be avoided at all costs!
Terrible service, overpriced. Would not recommend to anyone.
Overpriced, arrogant and there are many places to have a better steak. Tourist trap of note.
My last experience at the Butcher Shop was very disappointing - the food is always great but the service I experienced was awful. The Asian waitress did not even ask us how we wanted our steaks done. I have not been back since.