Douglas + Hale sits on a stretch of 4th Avenue in Parktown North where chef James Diack thrives. (Coobs, Il Contadino and La Stalla are nearby.) Previously the site of Diack’s The National, Douglas + Hale opened in late 2018 with the idea that it would be a cool wine and cocktail bar combined with an eatery that offers bar fare, tapas-style portions and substantial mains. As such, it’s as much about the tipple as it is about the nosh, and where the former excels (with some stellar cocktails and a ridiculously impressive wine list), the latter isn’t half bad.
Like Coobs in Parkhurst and its two other sibling restaurants, Douglas + Hale benefits from the fresh produce and meat (including wild boar) from a family farm in the Magaliesberg, which means on any random day they could be smoking free-range chicken wings or wild boar on the pavement across the street. For my meal, that smoky, succulent boar was used to stuff the generous agnoloti main. The chicken wings were cooked well and smoked to perfection, though they could have done with a little less barbecue sauce.
The salad options are substantial – options include everything from a house green and a good old Caesar to an option of roast beetroot, goat’s cheese, crispy leek, rocket and organic leaves. If you’re ravenous, opt for the double cheeseburger with aged boerenkaas and hand-cut fries.
The sweet-toothed will be satisfied by the Eton mess or the Sicilian-style lemon tart. If you’re really throwing caution to the wind, the deep-fried Snickers bar with marshmallow ice cream will round off your meal nicely.
The extensive wine list famously includes up to 66 wines by the glass. If you prefer cocktails, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
This feels like a smart gastro bar, filled with groups. It’s only really a date night spot if you’re looking for a very relaxed evening out. Booking isn’t mandatory but it is recommended, especially over weekends.
Oddly slow on this visit, but others have had better experiences.
An enjoyable evening out or a very relaxed date.
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