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The Butcher Shop & Grill (Sandton)

The Butcher Shop & Grill (Sandton)
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Cost
R150
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Seafood, Steak
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Mokgadi Itsweng

Food
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.

Drinks
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.

Service
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.

Ambience
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.

And…
Do visit the adjoining butchery and deli, where you’ll find excellent meat cuts, biltong and condiments to take home with you.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Hennie Fisher

    Food
    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.

    Drinks
    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.

    Service
    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.

    Ambience
    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.

    And…
    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.

    (January 2016)

  • Bazil Stander

    Food
    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.

    Drinks 
    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.

    Service
    Professional, slick and well informed service from a loyal brigade of bow-tied waiters and floor managers.

    Ambience
    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.

    And…
    Be sure to investigate the extensive take-home deli offering of aged beef cuts, game, pre-cooked ribs and shellfish.

    (July 2014)

  • An institution in Sandton Square with some of best aged meat around. The deli offers cuts and wine to take home and there’s a butchery on site. Great service and a lovely lived-in atmosphere. The T-bone; Kobe-style Wagyu beef with gorgeous fat marbling; aged prime rib; and lamb riblets and neck take centre stage.
  • Food
    The meat options here are totally overwhelming, including a giant beef kebab, lamb wors, wagyu sirloin from Tasmania or rump from Australia, ostrich fillet, game of the day or venison pie. They serve only mature aged meat, three days on the whole carcass and between 21 and 40 days thereafter in large joints. But food is taken seriously at all levels, so feel free to try something different like the half deboned duck, the izimbambo zemvu (salted lamb riblets and neck) or one of their signature entrées, grilled Portuguese sardines.

    Wine
    Apart from some highly priced wines, such as Marc Kent Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2007 at R2000, there are some carefully selected Butcher Shop wines (Pick’s Pick) such as Gary Jordan Sauvignon Blanc or Beyers Truter Pinotage Reserve that will not break the bank. The wine list offers a fantastic selection of pinotage, namely Middelvlei Free-Run, Meinert Printer’s Ink and Rijk’s Private Cellar. For those on a health kick, even the juices are squeezed upon order.

    Service
    Extremely helpful, attentive and friendly. I appreciated our waiter’s genuine concern when I ordered melanzane: “We are a meat restaurant; are you sure you want vegetarian?” His concerns were quite unfounded – the Melanzane was great.

    Ambience
    Wooden floors and no-mess, no-fuss tablecloths make for a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. The loos contrast quite smartly with the rather utilitarian interior of the restaurant. This is a busy restaurant right on Nelson Mandela Square, meaning a constant stream of people pass through right throughout the day. Specially designated areas offer those with an interest in sport with an opportunity to eat while watching a special game on TV.

    And...
    If Sandton is the centre of the African economic hub, this is most certainly the spot to clinch million-dollar deals. The restaurant also offers a good starting point from which to access any of Sandton City’s shops, library or the theatre around the corner. Remember to have your parking ticket validated at reception. (HF, October 2012)Also read: [Serious Steak at the Butcher Shop & Grill](http://www.eatout.co.za/Features/519/Serious-steak-at-The-Butcher-Shop-Grill """")
  • Janine Walker

    There’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)

User reviews

  • Specifically for meat Very nice restaurant Biltong super fresh The shop is very good too
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  • When it comes to meat they are overwhelmingly average. Having a restaurant on Mandela square one would think they would be a bit "more". Decent food, good service and "okay" ambience at ridiculous prices.
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  • Overall; Scenery A Service A+ Food A Pricing: reasonable for the A+ quality We absolutely loved being there, the waiter and old gentlemen was so kind and informative. Our table of 6 on a celebratory outing had starters,main and dessert. Starters: I had the black mushroom au Gratin, this was not that overwhelming great, but it was tasty. (Reason for not getting the full 5.0 on my rating) main: game of the day, the venison of the day was Kudu, succulent, seasoned well and cooked to perfection, with a peppercorn sauce. I always order baked sweetpotato with my meat based main, I think its healthier as well as more refreshing than the usual boring chips, add a little butter, salt & pepper... Perfect. dessert: Cheesecake (One word) HEAVEN With every bite melting in your mouth and the vision of vanilla pod-seeds and fresh smell of the strawberry syrup, tantalizing your tastebuds
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  • What a lovely meal we had here. We came her on a Thursday night without a booking and we were accommodated and seated inside. We were helped quickly by a lovely waiter and a portion of boerewors in a tomato sauce with fresh bread was served as a complimentary appetizer. We ordered some delicious red wine and had started and mains. For starters my uncle has the beef carpaccio that was presented beautifully and was not disappointing. My partner and I shared the baked Camembert with cranberry jam (plenty for 2 to share as you get two small whole cheeses) this was delicious. For mains I had the calamari with rice, the calamari was cooked to perfection. However the rice was highly under seasoned. My partner had a perfectly cooked rib-eye with mash and gravy that was to die for. And my uncle had the king prawns that were also apparently cooked perfectly. Overall the service was pretty good. We did wait quite a while for food but it was worth it. I'll go back only for a special occasion as its a pricey night out to say the least.
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  • A much spoken about restaurant was a total disappointment. No ribeye available, but you have an in house butchery?, changed the order to a rump medium rare......got the steak and it was raw and aged to perfection, yeah right, i could get better quality at my local spar. The kingklip down the road at the local fish and chips was leaps and bounds better than that, which was served to my wife, and as for my kids not to even finish half the food they ordered really says something and they are only 9 and 4. Come on guys get your act together. we won't be back in a hurry that's for sure.
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  • Overpriced, arrogant, to be avoided at all costs!

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  • Terrible service, overpriced. Would not recommend to anyone.

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  • Overpriced, arrogant and there are many places to have a better steak. Tourist trap of note.

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  • 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.

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  • This restaurant has been a huge dissappointment. Took my daughter and son in law in May, greasy plates, cockroach fell from underneath daughters plate, Two hairs found in mussles, fish of day was dry, and looked and tasted like it had been standing all of the day, wine poured on cloth on purpose, after we complained, manager extremely put out at my complaint moved us to another table but never came back, poor show, will never go there again, every ever after having been there plenty times. This is not the place it used to be. No reply to our email to owner, manager. Not a bit of interest. We still stayed, paid the outrageous bill, but will not again. I suggest Eat Out inspects the kitchen before putting it in their recommended restaurants.
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  • My partner and I ate at here on Saturday lunch (06 Feb 2010). The shop wasn’t that busy and due to the works in the square there wasn’t much to look at - but that’s not their fault. Ambience is ok - obviously in the evening when its bustling it’s a lot better.We also noticed the minimum R200 spend per head for food on the menu and despite the fact that we were having starters and mains I think it’s a cheek, especially during these times. Quite clearly it says if you aren’t a tourist or a politician with a penchant for spending rather go elsewhere.Ok - now for the food. I ordered the mussels (at R59 for 6/7 mussels) with garlic and my partner ordered the Caesar salad (at R57) with bacon. My mussels were tasty, albeit the sauce very creamy and rich and my partners Caesar salad was a pretty standard salad affair - in my opinion to dry, no anchovy and very little dressing. At close to R60 it’s daylight robbery.Then came the steaks (of course). I had (what I was told) a 500g prime rib cooked medium and my partner ordered a rib eye - also medium. My steak was acceptable - but hardly earth-shattering and my partner’s steak was good. I also ordered sides - spinach and onion rings (they don’t come cheap) - and I ordered a green pepper sauce which was a joke. For R30 you get the equivalent of two dessert spoons of what is the most pedestrian sauce I have encountered in years - and I was lucky I got it - I had to remind the waiter (a pet hate of mine). The sauce was basically a standard thinned white sauce with a few green peppercorns thrown in - it appears that the modern steakhouse doesn’t have a clue about making a tasty sauce?When the bill came - my steak worked out to R165 totting up a bill for R550 ex tip for two. If my meat was delicious (like CARNE SA) I would have left with a smile on my face - but it wasn’t. It was average - maybe the cow had an off day...I can humbly recommend that the average SA citizen gives this place a wide berth - its really a tourist trap or a place to spend your bosss money and whilst I don’t mind paying where I am - the bill should to some extent be justified by the quality of the food which in my case was sorely lacking.It’s a pity because its so well advertised and is clearly an anchor tenant on the square but from a gastronomic perspective its pretty average stuff. Whilst there was nothing clearly wrong with my meal - I had greater expectations.
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  • We went to Butcher Shop and Grill on the evening of 5 September 2009. The first thing I noticed was that there was a minimum food order amount of R200, I thought this was ridiculous but I confirmed with the manager that they would not charge this as we were not going to have starters, just a main.One of my friends then tried to order a glass of tap water, because bottled water is not good for the environment. We were refused by the manager – we could only order bottled water. I stand under correction but this is illegal in South Africa.When we received the bill the manager added 10% gratuity even though it was clearly stated that this was applicable to tables of 10 and over. We where 7 people and did not appreciate to be forced to pay gratuity.A restaurant experience is supposed to be enjoyable and these three incidents ensured that it was not.I sincerely hope that they get their act together, it’s embarrassing to think that this is experience that most visitor and tourists enjoy.
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  • Do not know what the hype is all about. Service bad, venison cooked as requested but not flambeed as advertised.The worst side order of mashed potatoes I have ever had, go to Olivedale hospital for the best ever mash! Rip off of note, embarresed to sell this as a typical South African experience.
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  • I had fish as I dont eat meat but I was very dissapointed as the special fish of the day Kingklip was overcooked, dry and I left most of it. This is usually a moist firm yummy fish. The starter salmon with wasabi & ginger they didnt have any soy sauce to go with it - dissapointment again. I wont go back.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Dancing
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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