steak prepared and served at Carbon Bistro
charcuterie prepared and served at Carbon Bistro

Carbon Bistro

Cost
R180 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool
Food
Bistro fare
Payment
Diners, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Food

With a gin variety bigger than their wine list, it would be forgivable to mistake this Brooklyn spot for little more than a gin bar. But the food more than pulls its weight, sure to lure in even gin detractors. Carbon Bistro also does its best to support local producers and currently sources their meat from places such as the Kalahari and Free State.

Nibbles and starters are listed on the first page of the menu, and include items such as potato cigars, chicken liver pâté, crispy chicken wings and roasted lamb croquettes, all of which can be shared and enjoyed with a drink. The crispy salt-and-pepper calamari is enough to share, though the accompanying mayonnaise could be better. There’s a small selection of boards featuring artisanal dipping sauce with beetroot hummus, sundried tomato pesto, tapenade, crumbed mozzarella and fresh bread.

The main course options include ribeye and lamb rump, lamb cutlets, sticky beef ribs, venison of the day and deboned chicken. Opt for the Colita de Cuadril steak, accompanied by a deliciously fresh and vibrant homemade chimichurri sauce and served with roasted vegetables. Apart from the perfectly roasted vegetables, other side choices include mashed potato, creamy herbed rice, shoestring chips and a side salad.

The menu also has a small selection of burgers. The Highwayman is utterly delicious, consisting of cheddar, Swiss cheese, pastrami, a soft-boiled egg, onion rings and BBQ sauce. A few more salads and a vegetarian option or two should address the needs of those who don’t feel like a meaty feast.

Desserts include chocolate brownies, deconstructed cheesecake, a decadent chocolate mousse, and beignets with a chocolate filling and mango cream.

Drinks

Squat and compact, the shape and size of the bar makes one think of a gin bottle. They currently stock over 150 gins, which include most of the gins produced in South Africa. They offer gin tasters, with little bits of aromatics in each glass to accentuate every gin’s particular flavour.

Service

Service is quick, competent and hands-on. Waiters and managers are always available to make suggestions and field questions. The waiters all look smart and neat in their blue gingham shirts and handle any accidents efficiently.

Ambience

Located in a small street close to Brooklyn Mall, Carbon Bistro offers a slightly more upmarket experience. The restaurant’s décor is modern, though somewhat generic and replaceable. A huge dispensing counter runs along the central axis of the restaurant, while the rest of the tables are divided into smaller areas for a more inviting and friendly feel.

And…

They have many regular events as well as their own restaurant wine club. Go for bubbly pairing dinners, vertical Shiraz tasting dinners and the Butchers & Brewers dinner, where different cuts of dry-aged, Wagyu and Black Angus are served with appropriate beer selections.

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

(September 2017)

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User reviews

  • Possibly the best fillet on the bone I've had; tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. And accompanied by a wide selection of craft gins. Can't beat it.
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  • As a carnivore and food lover of note, we are fortunate to visit many different eateries in the course of a month, and when holidaying we eat out daily, and at times we do so for weeks on end. And now I have a confession to make, I suspect I might have discovered one of Pretoria best kept secrets; Carbon Bistro. Bravely nestled between a few of Pretoria’s mainstay eateries that have been serving Pretoria for many years, Carbon stands proud and firm as it fights to establish its place as one of Pretoria best. As a relatively new kid on the block, Carbon’s owners are innovative and pro-active in their quest to usurp the current top dogs; these guys are hungry and committed and ensure every visit to their classy establishment is a memorable one. Their passion for excellent dining is obvious and they cater for most budgets and appetites, especially for carnivores like me and even the ‘unfortunate’ Vegan has a fine place at the table. We just keep going back for more, be it a quick burger, steak, a delicious gin from the massive Gin collection, or a sorbet beetroot starter dish that should not work but defies logic and just does! Having eaten magnificent steaks at some of SA’s best restaurants, I keep rating Carbons as possibly the best ....perhaps even better than Hussars, the Butchers Grill or the Butcher Man in Cape Town, and these guys are established steak specialists...So that’s a huge accolade for Carbon, and well deserved for such a fledgling establishment. If you have not yet visited Carbon, do yourself a favour and just do it! Take your partner and spoil them...You will establish much relationship ‘credit’, and your taste buds will be applauding you for weeks, but be warned...you will be back! The ambience and decor is classy yet relaxing, they have wine evenings that are fun, tasty and informative, and our firm favourite, their recently renowned Gin Bar is not to be missed. Be sure to ask for a ‘Ginifer’, a ‘lekker’ Craft Gin that just keeps falling down your throat until you are forced to abandon your vehicle and Uber home. They also have an extensive Craft Beer selection that holds little interest to me as I am not a beer drinker, but apparently Craft Beer is very trendy and Carbon has this well covered as with everything else. These guys get 9 out of 10 from me simply because I need to keep believing that I am still to discover the perfect place to eat!
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  • A hidden gem! The unassuming exterior hides the treasures within. A fantastic place to chill and enjoy wonderful Gin (such a vast selection that you will be coming back just to try more), sublime food and excellent service. My favourite part of this restaurant, is the friendliness of all their staff. The hands on approach from management and the all round experience. Craft beer, craft Gin, brilliant wine selection are just a small part of what is to offer. The food in this restaurant is truly something you don't find everywhere. They cater for all diners - and each dish is served with attention to detail. Well worth a visit, and another and another
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  • Driving past Carbon Bistro an unassuming motorist might not realise quite what they're missing as they drive on by. Honestly even as I walked into CB for the first time; I had no idea it would soon become one of my all time favourites. CB's major commercial draw card is their vast variety of top class craft Gin on offer, but that really is just what gets you through the door. Carbon Bistro has something for everyone. Fine dining for the sophisticated palate. Half price specials and a relaxed atmosphere that would cater perfectly to the UP student population, amazing Gin from all over the world for the Gin connoisseurs, but Also wine for the pseudo-Capetonians, Champagne (actual Champagne I might add), a Champagne gin and lemonade cocktail called the French that I feel needs a special mention because it's an absolute must have for those with a sweeter palate. And to top it off the service is honestly unbeatable.
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  • Red carpet treatment, excellent service, ambient atmosphere and FANTASTIC food. I cant remember when last i have enjoyed a night out so much as i did this night. Highly recommended! Thank you Carbon Bistro
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  • We went to Carbon Bistro and I was delighted to see they have a gin bar and offer gin tasting!! The drinks were superb and served with a little "magic"
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  • Upon entering the restaurant I was welcomed by the friendly management and staff and beautiful chandeliers. I started with the Blackhorse Gingerberry Beer, so refreshing that I could hardly tell I was drinking a beer. I had the Norwegian salmon served with honey and soy glaze with spinach and creamy mash potato with a hint of wasabi. The skin was crispy and perfect. For dessert I has a spiced doughnut basket filled with ice cream, covered in a caramel sauce. Our waiter Percy ensured our glasses were never empty. I would recommend this restaurant for a perfect date night, unpretentious and beautifully laid out. Till next time
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  • Great Restaurant! Perfect for a date night!
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  • Had the BEST steak at Carbon Bistro last night! Thanks to Vincent, our waiter, the floor manager and all the friendly staff. You will definitely be seeing us again - I think the Kobe Beef burgers are next on my list. Go check the place out, guys!
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  • We went to Carbon Bistro in Brooklyn Pretoria for lunch. They opened about six weeks ago. Lovey space, craft beer on tap, friendly waiters , floor manager and chef. We had beef short ribs with a blueberry and black peppercorn sauce, very tender fried salt & pepper calamari with a garlic aioli,yummo. Ribs were lukewarm but corrected immediately and with profuse apologies. The burgers are a 200g kobe style beef patty. So even if you eat your meat cremated, its still tasty. The burger names are interesting,we had a Honky Tonk and The Roadhouse. We don't normally do dessert but chocolate brownie with peanut butter ice cream and caramel sauce made my heart beat faster, my arteries harden and I could actually hear my "ass" growing
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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