James Diack is known for fresh, seasonal, fun flavours, which are put together at Coobs in a clever way to tantalise the palate. The plates have a great combination of flavour, colour and texture, which work well together but are at the same time artistic and unique to the chef’s own style.
The menu changes regularly depending on the produce available, and portion sizes are generous, allowing for patrons to share and get a taste of many different dishes. The menu has a bistro influence, with classical cooking methods clearly visible throughout.
A highlight to start is the braised pork-shoulder arancini, with pork-and-lentil ragu, baba ganoush and pomegranate. The flavour of the arancini may change depending on the week, but this dish is always decadent, delicious, heart warming and filling – big enough for two to share. The Scotch egg is also a fabulous twist on a classic, with a soft centre and perfectly seasoned duck, saffron purée and edamame bean purée.
The restaurant is known for its confit of Brightside (from the Diack family farm) pork belly served with slow-braised pork shoulder and truffled potato bake – and for good reason. The dish is simply scrumptious, served with crackling for texture and a hearty, sticky jus. The confit duck leg and duck pie are just as good, and should not be missed. There is also a selection of home-made pastas with creative combinations of sauces as well as traditional compositions available to suit all diners.
The pastry chef has put together a selection of sweets as pretty as a picture, so be sure to sample what’s on offer. The passion fruit and pomegranate mille-feuille with caramelised white chocolate ice cream is something to behold. The menu changes regularly, so be bold and experiment with what’s available.
Coobs has a fair, reasonably priced wine list. The staff members are knowledgeable and keen to assist with beverage selections, so ask for help if you need it. There are non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails available, too.
Guests receive fabulous attention to detail from the staff. Waitrons are quick and quirky, and are educated about the regularly updated menu as well as the produce on offer. It’s easy to book a table at Coobs, which makes the overall experience pleasant from the start.
The street-side café offers a lovely, Euro-centric feel with a vibrant energy. The shop fitting has been done in a clean, warm way, with lots of wood and natural materials. The atmosphere is well geared towards a casual luncheon or a slightly more formal dinner occasion.
Coobs has fabulous menu of lunch specials, with wonderful home-style meals at great price points. All the meals are freshly prepared using seasonal ingredients.
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Coobs prides itself in finding good-quality ingredients that brings the best flavours and textures in food. Most of the produce comes from the Diack family farm – Brightside. In-season organic vegetables, free-range chicken, ducks and eggs are some of the ingredients that Coobs does not compromise on when cooking; hence the Coobs menu changes quite often.
The menu is limited, yet everything on it is worth trying. A dish to note, if available, is the Brightside whey-fed pork belly, Asian veg, crispy calamari, kimchi and miso broth. This dish is beautifully presented and the textures and flavours do not disappoint. The tender and juicy pork belly pairs well with the slight spicy and pickle kimchi, crispy Asian vegetables and miso. Then, finally, it's topped with thin strips of calamari to complete it.
The mains hosts creative dishes, such as roasted cauliflower and blue cheese lasagne served with cauliflower crisps and parmesan raisin muesli. The Korean-style BBQ chicken served with udon noodles, poached egg and kale salad with chilli lime sauce is also noticeable on the menu.
A very moreish dish to try is the lamb burger. A stack of meaty patty cooked to perfection, juicy not dry; grilled halloumi that melts in the mouth and a homemade tomato relish that complete the burst of flavour and gives the dish a clean fresh note.
Save space for dessert: try the millionaires shortbread served with salted butterscotch sauce, vanilla brandy snaps, and a smoked caramel and vanilla bean ice cream. This dessert is art on a plate. A touch of richness and decadence, just the correct amount is what one can expect with the dessert. The sweet, salty and gooey millionaires shortbread goes really well with the smooth butterscotch sauce and contrasts beautifully with the chewy lightly smoked macaroon and the creamy vanilla bean ice cream. The perfectly baked brandy snaps adds a good texture dimension. Another dessert to note is the lemon curd crème brûlée served with koeksister ice cream, orange soil, citrus segments and white chocolate snow.
The food can be summed up as trendy, tasty and innovative.
The drinks menu includes white wines, red wines, rosés and some craft beers and ciders.
Friendly, well-informed and relaxed service. Guests are well taken care of.
The interior has a modern twist blonde wood, splashes of crisp green and bright eclectic art on the walls. The décor matches the menu and style of cooking in the restaurant.
On a cold winter’s night, blankets are provided for guests to be warm and snuggly.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
Coobs prides itself in finding good quality ingredients that bring out the best flavours and textures in dishes. Most of the produce comes from the Diack family farm, Brightside. In-season organic vegetables, free-range chicken, ducks and eggs are a priority, hence the menu is small and changes quite often.
While the offering might seem limited, everything on it is worth trying. Keep an eye out for the Brightside whey-fed pork belly with Asian veg, crispy calamari, kimchi and miso broth. This dish is beautifully presented, with the tender, juicy pork belly pairing well with the slightly spicy kimchi and crispy veg. The thin strips of calamari complete the picture.
Other creative dishes include the likes of roasted cauliflower and blue cheese lasagne served with cauliflower crisps and parmesan raisin muesli, and Korean-style barbecue chicken with udon noodles, poached egg, kale salad and chilli-lime sauce. The lamb burger is very moreish, featuring a juicy, meaty patty cooked to perfection, grilled halloumi and a homemade tomato relish that bursts with flavour and gives the dish a clean fresh note.
Save space for dessert: Try the artful millionaires shortbread served with salted-butterscotch sauce, vanilla brandy snaps, a lightly smoked macaron, and smoked caramel-and-vanilla-bean ice cream. Another dessert of note is the lemon-curd crème brûlée with koeksister ice cream, orange soil, citrus segments and white chocolate snow.
There’s something for everybody, from white and red wines to craft beers and ciders.
Coobs staff are friendly, well informed and relaxed. Guests are well taken care of.
The interior has modern blonde wood, splashes of crisp green and bright eclectic art on the walls. The décor reflects the same philosophy as the food, innovative and fresh.
On a cold winter’s night, blankets are provided for guests to be warm and snuggly.
The term ‘contemporary’ applies on many levels here. Apart from the spot-on ambience, Coobs also embraces the green movement, as the family farm in the Magaliesberg provides for most of the organic ingredients. The strong and well-balanced menu diverges in an interesting way from the usual bistro fare. Apart from the tasty vegetables, herbs (and even edible wild field pickings) featured, organic and grass-fed meats also make for great taste and texture. The menu changes often, which is a boon for the regular clientele. The wild boar cob salad is a must when it appears on the menu. Another favourite is the orange-glazed duck, slow-roasted and served with cumin-dusted pumpkin, pearl barley and red wine vinaigrette. Choose between ‘sarmies’, risotto and pastas of great quality that will appeal to the vegetarian and carnivore alike. The beef burger is a great lunchtime choice, served here with quality maple-glazed bacon and haloumi. For the veggie-inclined, choices include parmigiana with organically grown aubergine and melt in the mouth fresh mozzarella. Desserts hold their own and its best to keep space: if you’re lucky, you might encounter the Belgian milk chocolate parfait with Oreo crème and chocolate gravel. Go ahead – indulge.
This is an establishment that clearly prides itself on its wine list. There’s a nice selection of wines by the glass as well. Boutique wine estates that offer good wines feature regularly.
Professional and friendly.
The look is New York loft, with a stylish yet comfortable feel. The sidewalk tables are great for people watching.
Their popular supper club offers a five-course menu with splendid wine matches.
This modern bistro menu presents an innovative and interesting combination of flavours and ingredients, often featuring grass-fed and organic meats and homegrown vegetables. Highlights on the regularly changing menu include twice-baked cheese soufflé with apricot chutney and peppered cashew praline; Asian marinated grilled calamari with wasabi coleslaw; wild boar bacon cobb salad; slow-braised smoked lamb with cucumber raita and masala fries; and fresh and zingy dishes like Harissa-marinated salmon with an organic fennel, celery and chickpea salad. The homemade pastas are excellent and push boundaries in terms of quality; the wild boar ragu with pappardelle is a deeply satisfying and iconic dish, and the butternut gnocchi and smoked ricotta panzerotti are not to be missed either. For dessert, try the citrus baked Alaska, organic pecan pie or the beetroot and white chocolate brownie.
There's an interesting and well put-together wine list with a good selection at various price points. Quality wines are available by the glass, too.
Service is attentive and quick off the mark.
Light, modern and airy, Coobs is a sophisticated yet relaxed space to enjoy good, honest food and flavours. It’s a great spot to watch the Parkhurst crowd wander by.
Check out The Library next door, it’s a wine-meets-tapas bar for a quick glass of vino and a light snack.
On a visit from Sydney and had the pleasure of eating at Coobs. Sydney prides itself of the quality of the restaurants. My experience at Coobs equalled and even surpassed eating out at some of our top restaurants. The food was delicious beyond words, the service excellent and we drank some lovely wines. I don't really know South African wines but our friends commented that they were not the usual suspects found on Johannesburg menus. Planning another meal before we go back.
Visited on a busy night so the service struggled. Noise levels pretty high too due to hard surfaces. Food wise, the sweet potato souffle starter was very good, but the cured salmon was off and should not have been served. We complained and they took it away but they charged us anyway. It was taken off the bill when we complained again. Mains, not great. Thyme gnocchi with wild muschroons basically smothered in cream but unremarkable and cooked crumbed venison terrine, strange. We cut our losses and did not tackle dessert.
Probably one of the best resutaurants in JHB.
Don't believe the bad reviews - if you're a fan of Spur and its portions then don't go here. It's not for you. But, if you like an eating experience where you enjoy a journey from starter to dessert - then this is the place. Fresh ingredients, a vast wine list, a well thought through menu and great service.
We tried this restaurant at the end of June for a friend's birthday celebration, after hearing good things online.
The interior is visually attractive - modern and clean and hard - so the restaurant is quite noisy. The manageress was a bit snooty, but the waiters were good-humoured and knowledgeable.
The food is ok. Not awful or anything, but certainly nothing new, different, or particularly special. Just ok. And as one of the other reviewers has said, the portions are quite small for the prices they're asking. Basically the food does not live up to the hype this restaurant has managed to create for itself.
On the plus side they have some lovely and unusual wines.
Would that be enough to make me go back? Er. no.
Portions minute, service shocking and manager rude. Tables on top of each other. I absolutely hated the place!
The winter menu is phenomenal. Try the Salmon Wellington, hands down the best dish I have eaten in Joburg.
A friend and I decided to give Coobs a try and it was a let down. Everything we had was average and for the price it's a bit cheeky. We were drawn in by the whole organic farm fresh product but it may as well have been microwaved food.
Had dinner on Valentine's Day and the location is rather lovely. Starter was great and the rib-eye beef was sub-standard. This was duely changed for a delicious prawn pasta. Dessert was disappointing - fresh berries was not delivered as promised on the menu (lemon tart).
Lovely decor, but poor service and average food that was overpriced made it a tiresome eating experience. And they insisted that they charged for "corkage", even though they did not have a liquor license. Disappointing.
I was most surprised to read the previous review. We consider ourself at this new fabulous eatery. I am a vegeterian and my favourite dish is the home-made goats cheese and butternut gnocchi, I also love the Asian mushroom parpadelle .
They have an awesome version of melanzane to start which I have enjoyed on a few occasions, their rissottos are also almost always veggie as well. The starter speacial also contains vegeterian dishes and on Wednesday evening I enjoyed an awesome riccotta stuffed zucchini flower and my partner had an memorable fig dish. So the comment that vegeterians aren't catered for seems a bit out of place, I have also had more than charming service from both the hostess and waiters. As far as the Thomas Maxwell Bistro, I reserve my opinion
Our first visit to one of the restaurants in this new part of Parkhurst. While we waited 5 minutes before our waiter arrived at the table, the rest of the service and food made up for it. Our starters of calamari and salmon tartare were very tasty, as was my confit duck main course. My wife's mushroom linguine, however, took top honours! Sublime! We shared a lovely chocolate mousse and butterscotch dessert. Shortish wine list, but contains very good variety. Modern setting...an enjoyable night out!
The atmosphere may have been pleasant but the service and menu options for vegetarians is very limited. I think the chef punished me for the feedback provided as he had a heavy hand with the chillies when preparing my food. The hostess and the head chef should definitely take some tips from the guys over at Thomas Maxwell Bistro when it comes to dealing with customers!
Coobs has the best atmosphere, food and service in Parkhurst. Among all the restaurants in Parkhurst, Coobs is the best. Everything is made fresh, and being American, I'm the most critical .So happy I live in the area - what a 'win'.
Excellent food, great service, strikingly decorated space. Well worth a visit.