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Clico Restaurant

Clico Restaurant
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Cost
R175 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Kate Liquorish

Food
Expect clean flavours and exquisite plating with an emphasis on organic and seasonal, local ingredients.

Breakfast is elegant and traditional with a sprinkling of something a little different and special throughout. You’ll find exquisitely executed eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, a fabulous croque madame as well as the vegetarian counterpart using kale, sundried tomato and emmenthaler finished with a cheese sauce. You’ll also enjoy fabulously light omelettes and a selection of wholesome options including dukkah-spiced oats, rooibos Maltabella and a ‘healthy breakfast’ comprising poached eggs, grilled halloumi, confit tomatoes, basil and olives.

Lunches are light and casual bistro-style fare such as scrumptious salads, gourmet sandwiches and burgers, risottos, freshly-made pastas and the signature, classic beef sirloin served with fluffy crushed potatoes, al dente roasted vegetables and a luxurious red wine jus.

Dinner is where this restaurant really shows its culinary prowess. You’re invited to indulge in an elaborate and intricate five-course tasting menu or, if you’ve less of an appetite, you can order from the à la carte menu, which showcases all of the options from the tasting menu. The presentation and technique displayed throughout the dinner menu is whimsical and elaborate; dishes are presented as works of art, with every element (down to the garnish) meticulously thought over and intricately put together.

Both dinner menus include optional wine pairings, but what is wonderfully original is the choice you have between a 50ml taster (some start at as little R9) and a glass (around R50), so those who aren’t big winos can still indulge in the full experience without having to quaff great quantities of Bacchus’s brew.

For starters, the root-vegetable gnocchi topped with beetroot and butternut chips and oyster mushrooms with a delicate mushroom truffle custard looks like an arrangement of forest flowers on a plate. It’s a stunningly vibrant dish that is smoky and subtle, earthy and soft.

For mains you’ll enjoy sea bass with leeks on a celeriac and lemongrass purée with bok choy, braised fennel, verjuice gel, ash aubergine purée, baby aubergines and a red-wine fish sauce. It’s a sweet and salty delight that melts in your mouth. Then the slow-braised, rolled lamb shoulder served with parmesan shortbread, confit tomato, anchovy purée and yoghurt panna cotta is a gorgeous dish that teeters on the side of rich, but still keeps a delicate flavour profile.

Desserts are dreamy. The Pina Colada, a dazzling combination of caramelised pineapple, slow-baked meringue, roast-lime purée, honey custard, salted coconut jellies and butterscotch and buttermilk ice cream, is just magnificent. The slow-baked meringue sits like a cloud atop the caramelised pineapple and the play between caramel sweetness and citrus sour is wonderful.

Drinks 
The wine selection is small but changes often. It is innovative and different with an emphasis on the most dynamic pairings, rather than the most expensive.

Service
It’s a five-star boutique hotel with matching service. The customer is always right and they will go out of their way to make every luncheon or dinner a special occasion. The service is formal and informed, warm and inviting.

Ambience
It’s upmarket without trying too hard. The décor is elegant with a soft colour palette of grey and cream throughout. It’s quiet, romantic and exclusive in the evenings and more orientated towards business lunches and casual dining during the day.

And…
The prices are outstandingly good. The average starter from the à la carte dinner menu is in the region of R70 and the average main around R155 which, considering the quality of the ingredients and the fine-dining nature of the restaurant, is an absolute bargain.

(September 2016)

Update: Marnus Scholly (ex-Sabi Sands, Singita and Savanna Private Game Reserve) is the new head chef at Clico.

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

  • Ambience
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  • Food
  • Bazil Stander

    Food
    Offering a modern interpretation of old-fashioned South African fare, the food at Clico Boutique Hotel is thoughtfully prepared and stays within a traditional and safe space. Think springbok loin with red wine jus, butternut soup with almonds, seared salmon with couscous, and chocolate fondant with berries. The menu changes almost daily, offering seasonal variety and new menu items for their numerous loyal patrons. Weekday lunches offer a small à la carte menu, while for evenings and weekend lunches a five-course tasting menu with or without wine pairings is available. These tasting menus offer good value for money and generous portions.

    Wine
    A limited but interesting selection of South African wines covers most bases, although it could do with some more unusual options. Most wines are available by the glass.

     

    Service
    A small, efficient front of house team ensures a glitch-free dining experience.

    Ambience
    Smart, casual and homely all at the same time – this space feels like you are dining at a friend’s house. It’s also a great space for a private party or small event.

    And…
    Check out their regular themed lunches and dinners, like Christmas in July and special wine pairing evenings.

    (August 2014)

  • A comfy, homely restaurant that nevertheless retains a smart feel, making it great for business meetings. Their set menus include spectacular soups and innovative starters. Clico also hosts amazing wine evenings and often boast specials on food and overnight stays in the hotel. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Careful thought has clearly gone into the menu, reflected in starters like butternut squash velouté with walnut foam and exotic mushrooms, or St James Scotch Reserve Gravadlax with a herb salad. Grass-fed fillet rolled in soft herbs is topped with horseradish butter and served with fondant potatoes and a thyme jus. Dessert choices include such delights as a single estate chocolate fondant with a sea-salt centre, served with clotted cream and fresh cherries, or a delicious banana tarte tatin, accompanied by banana parfait and candied pecan nuts.

    Wine
    A small but extremely well-priced wine list features selected options such as Jean Daneel Initial White (chenin blanc and sémillon blend), De Grendel Rosé or Joubert-Tradauw Syrah.

    Service
    Eloquent young men turned out in crisp white aprons ensure service that is efficient and polished, as is to be expected at a high-end establishment.

    Ambience
    Situated in a small boutique hotel, this rather small dining room is the perfect setting for private dining with a group of friends. There is space outside for alfresco dining and the kitchen leads right off the dining room, so the chef is quite accessible, should there be a need.

    And...
    Within walking distance from the Rosebank hub, this is a little hideaway to escape to for some great food and excellent service. They may not always be able to accommodate outside diners as in-house guests get first preference, but they are willing to accommodate when possible. (HF, October 2012)

User reviews

  • We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Clico restaurant in an elegant and comfortable setting. The welcome was warm and inviting and the service professional but in a relaxed way. I had a pear salad to start and the Seabass for mains. Both dishes were beautifully presented and tasted as good as they looked. We particularly enjoy a good bottle of wine with our meal, and here too we were not disappointed. The wine list had a good selection with some interesting choices as well as the option to have a glass of wine suitably paired with your choice of dish. All in all a memorable evening.
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  • This restaurant must be one of Jozi's best-kept secrets. The six-course winter tasting menu was sublime, but be warned, don't be tempted to finish the first three plates as you'll regret it when the next three come along. It's definitely worth the extra R150 for the wine pairing option - the selection has been very well thought out and features some boutique wines I'd never come across before. The impala tartare was particularly fantastic, as was the dark chocolate semifreddo. Looking forward to coming back and trying the summer menu!
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  • My family celebrated a 65th birthday at Clico recently. We had a set menu, with quite a few variations which satisifed all of our taste requirements including the vegan. We all found the food to be extremely tasty, it didn't only look fabulous. The price was also very reasonable for the quality of the food. We had 2 waiters who were extremely attentive without being obtrusive. I also like the fact that our party of 15 had one half of the restaurant which was separate from the other diners by a glass sliding door. We didn't need to keep our voices down and think that we were annoying other guests with our laughter and loud chatting.
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  • Tucked away in the leafy suburb of Rosebank, is a cozy little boutique hotel that has just expanded, renovated and relaunched its stunning new restaurant. The restaurant features panoramic floor to ceiling glass doors that can be left opened or closed depending on the weather. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients and changes daily. We indulged in a 5 course tasting menu tailored to our dietary requirements - Creamy tomato soup with parmesan tuilles, seared scallops with butternut puree, kingklip with mushroom risotto, sesame-seared salmon fillet and deconstructed apple tart. The food was delicious and the plating was exquisite. If you are looking for an exclusive and intimate eatery in Rosebank, then this is your place.
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  • Saturday, 16 May '15 Trevor, our friendly waiter, assured us we would not be needing McDonald's after finishing the five course dinner menu at Clico Boutique Hotel last night. But the sad truth, I'm afraid, is that a BigMac was not far from my mind when we left. And it would probably have been better value for money. Not simply to complain for the sake of a rant, but here follow some brief notes of (what we hope can be seen as) constructive criticism... First of all, we were curious as to why the chef was sporting a chef's kit from The Test Kitchen when he came front of house. (Obviously, he'd worked under Luke Dale Roberts at some point.) Was it perhaps a subtle kind of 'name dropping'? Or maybe all his usual chef's outfits were simply in the wash. Either way: not a very professional statement to make. The 1st Course was a carrot soup topped with coriander foam. Not bad. But our spoons didn't actually fit into the minute glasses that the soup is served in. Something to consider? Also, we noticed butter on the table but no bread...? So we had to remind Trevor about our bread, which finally arrived somewhere between course number three and four. 2nd Course: beetroot and feta salad. Literally consisted of beetroot cubes (most probably from a can) and feta crumbs drizzled with balsamic on top of some rocket leaves. No offence: I could have put together this rudimentary salad at home in less than 5 minutes. 3rd course: pork belly with fig and blue cheese sauce. Weird flavour combination at first glance. But in the end, it was the undisputed highlight of the evening. Very interesting! One thing though... Why so stingy? I think we got less than half a fig between the two of us. 4th Course: salmon with vegetables and risotto. The fish was cooked impeccably. But the so-called 'risotto' was actually polenta, and the side veggies were rather bland. This dish might have been zooshed up considerably. 5th (and final) Course: trio of meringue, with bits of brownie, berry coulis and rosewater jelly. Ah, but looks can be deceiving! We speculated that the rosewater was in fact normal raspberry jelly. The brownies distinctly reminded of a Pillsbury readymix. And we suspect our coulis came from frozen berries. Luckily though, the wine we had was very decent. Kudos to the white blend of Dok '13. To be fair, the main restaurant area IS currently undergoing refurbishment. And the kitchen staff supposedly have to operate from a temporary kitchen. Hardly an ideal situation! That being said... A meal priced at R450 per person (excluding wine) conjures up expectations of the very finest cuisine. The kind that must compete with Joburg's top restaurants. Inevitably, Clico's guests set themselves up for disappointment when they get served food that is, well, pretty unexceptional. In short: try and respect the old business maxim of 'underpromising' and 'overdelivering'. At least with McD's I know and get exactly what I pay for.
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  • I took a party of 5 for a birthday dinner based on reviews I had read. We ordered the five course degustation menu with wine pairing. It has to have been the worst fine dining experience I have ever had. The first course was a pea and spinach soup with saffron foam. A better description would have been pea and pepper soup with yellow coloured, tasteless foam. The salmon course that followed offered salmon that had been overcooked and was so dry the wasabi mash did little to redeem it. The course of roast duck was overcooked and dried out. The fourth course of venison was the only course that was enjoyed. The fifth course introduced us to a panna cotta that was not only tasteless but had so much gelatine it could have been used as a bouncing ball. The wines were nothing special and there was no sommelier to explain the choices or give any information on them. At a price of R900 per diner, I would never recommend the experience or go back there again. I felt cheated and abused by the amount I was asked to pay for food that was mediocre and an experience that left an exceptionally bad taste in my mouth.
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  • My partner took me out for a surprise birthday dinner on the 11th August 2014 and boy was I impressed:)
    When we drove in I was wasn't sure what to think because there were less than 4 cars at the parking area and the security guard was awfully rude. We walked in the hotel and we were greeted by a lovely aroma of food, soft subtle music and a very friend receptionist. We were than showed our table which was in a cosy secluded area right next to the fire place:) Our waiter came and gave us our menus with no greeting or a smile, he looked irritated by our presence, he than swiftly disappeared and we were served by the gentleman who welcomed us in at reception.

    We were presented a scrumptious five course menu paired with different wines. We opted for three course on the menu paired with various wines.

    Starter
    My partner had a very tasty pea soup served with shimeji mushrooms served with paprika oil. His meal was paired with a crisp KC Sauvigon Blanc. He scored his meal a tasty 10/10. I had a lovely chefs green salad as I'm not a soup fan. The salad was mixed greens, cocktail tomatoes, raddish, blueberries, goose berries, an array of goats cheese drizzled with a scrumptious vinaigrette. This first course was paired with the same wine my partner had. I score this cause a tasty 9/10 as the salad was dressed for me and I felt it was on the boarder line of almost drowning. This however does not take away from the beautiful flavours of both the dishes.

    Main course
    I had a succulent pan fried spring bok loin served with a very tasty parsley risotto and al dente seasonal vegetables and a delectable red wine sauce that complemented the loin so perfectly. My meal was paired with a Villeria Merlot. My meal was cooked to perfection and I was blown away, so I give this scrumptious second course a 10/10. My partner had a succulent grilled beef fillet with pomme fondant and glazed root vegetables served with a lovely black pepper sauce. This was gorgeously paired with a Saxenburg Carbernet Sauvignon. He scored his meal a flawless 10/10.

    Dessert
    For our last course, I had a not so decadent chocolate fondant served with a sorbet and berries. Which gets a good 8/10 for it's lovely presentation and it's fair taste. My partner had a disappointing malva pudding served with a watery custard. He scored it a 6/10 as the presentation left a lot to be desired and the taste and consistency of the custard was appalling. This dessert was however edible but a never again. This was paired with a dry Peter Falke Blanc de Noir.

    The hotel generously surprised me with a lovely plated Happy Birthday assortment of miniature cakes and they were SooOooo delicious I was short of licking my plate. Thank you so much for the lovely evening Clico Boutique Hotel, I really had a lovely birthday dinner:)
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  • My hubby and I decided to spoil ourselves for Valentines, so we contact Clico and made the reservation! As the conditions were to prepay ahead, this we did and the reservation was confirmed by email. We arrived on the night and experienced a dinner that left us in awe! Magical atmosphere, decadently delicious food with excellent service. As it was an evening we didn't want to end, so we booked a room for the night and continued our Valentines over a scrumptious breakfast the next morning! Thank you Clico for one of the most romantic and special Valentines I've ever experienced!
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  • I booked at this place for valentines dinner and they confirmed that the was space available. The person I spoke to noted that as closer to they day, they will contact me and let me know of with regards to the payment process. Closer to valentines, when I realized that they were not getting back to me, I called them and only to be rudely told that they were fully booked.

    This was disappointing as I had made this booking a month in advance, and now I had to start looking for another place, which pretty later as most of the good places were now fully booked

    The manager at the restaurant was unhelpful and unapologetic.

    I was looking forward to trying this place out, however, with the experience I had with my booking I would not even bother to go there.

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  • We had dinner with friends at Clico Boutique Hotel on Saturday night... What a wonderful experience! We felt at home from the moment we set foot in reception. The table setting, food, attention to detail, service... Everything was perfect and we'll definitely recommend this treasure to friends. Thank you for a very special evening. We'll be back soon.

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  • The great reviews for the dinner menu lured me to try Sunday breakfast. Big mistake! Breakfast was totally uninspiring with arguably the worst coffee in all of Johannesburg.

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  • Booked a small dinner celebration for my hubby and was blown away by the excellent food and service. The dining room was beautiful, yet warm and inviting (it was difficult getting our friends to leave).
    Great to encounter a chef who is passionate about his creations and staff who take pride in what they do. Keep it up guys.
    PS, Don't drink, but apparently the wine was excellent as well.

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  • My girlfriend and I spent the night at Clico this past weekend. We arrived early and had not pre booked lunch... this was no problem, the chef threw together an amazing cheese platter! For dinner, we selected the tasting menu with wine pairings for supper on Saturday night. A brilliant choice! Even if we say so ourselves. The food was delicious and the service was unbelievable! There was so much attention to detail! The staff also make you feel incredibly welcome and the rooms are beautifully done out. We cannot rave about it enough!

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  • We had my friend's birthday lunch at Clico and we were blown away by the excellent service we received. The food was absolutely divine and the staff was really helpful with the planning of the event. I totally love this place.

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  • Ambience,
    Sheer elegance.

    Service,
    Superb, with friendly staff.

    Food and drinks,
    Good. Loved the butternut soup as the starter!

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  • Four of us recently dined at Clico and had an absolute shocker.
    We requested a table outside which resulted in an 'out of sight, out of mind' type service. I personally had to get up about four times to call the waiter or manager. The starters we had ordered were terribly small, bland and expensive (R85 for 2 fork-fulls of melanzane!) For mains we ordered the R195 T-bone steak and R165 salmon. The only other option was the R145 vegetarian pasta.
    Expecting a caveman style T-bone for that price we were highly disappointed. The steak was about 1 cm thick, no more than 200 g of meat, and completely overcooked (requested medium rare). The salmon was dry and tasteless, half of which was left uneaten on the plate.

    We thought about complaining but seeing the quality of food and service it would have been pointless. I wouldn't recommend this place.

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  • We recently had dinner at Clico. The premises speak of great attention to detail and elegance. All the staff members including management, the restaurant staff (Trevor) and the chef created a relaxed atmosphere and took care of our every need, making the evening unforgettable. The food and wine were exceptional. I highly recommend this quaint boutique hotel in the heart of Rosebank.

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  • We were recently invited to the Clico hotel for dinner by some international friends who were staying at the hotel. The meal in the restaurant was indeed magnificent and we all enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere, well done Clico you impressed me.

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  • Where have they been hiding this chef? Best meal ever - superb service and the food is brilliant!

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  • I searched for a restaurant to take my husband for his birthday, since we have been to many it was extremely difficult to find somewhere new and special. I booked at Clico and the service was outstanding, from greeting us in the car park and wishing my hubby a happy birthday, to the delicious 3 course meal - definitely not small portions so go with an appetite! Sean discussed the meals with the wine pairing and even though I thought it was going to be weird being on our own it was one of the best restaurants we have been to - up their with Roots (Forum Homini)! Thank you Sean and Sonja for making our night!
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  • What an amazing treat. The food & service were incredible and we will remember our time here forever. Thank you and we will certainly be back in the future.
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  • This is the best dinning experience I have ever had in Johannesburg. Sean, really, your reputation does not do you justice.All meals were great and well paired with a wine that complemented them. I will definitely be going back.All the best guys!
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  • Well done to Chef Sean Ackermann and his team. The food was absolutely outstanding and the wine perfectly paired to compliment each dish! For starters I fell in love with Sean’s butternut soup. The main course was a fresh line fish covered in organic feta, breadcrumbs, herbs and … almonds. My highlight was definitely the dark chocolate soufflé with homemade custard. Mmm, delish!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Hotel
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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