The menu is an ode to delicious comfort food: bangers and parmesan mash, chicken pot pie, roast pork belly with apple mash and crackling, and an array of seriously good handmade pastas all guaranteed to make you smile (they’re one of the few restaurants that actually make their own spaghetti.) It must also be mentioned that they make some of the best burgers in town: the double cheese burger with onion relish, tomato and rocket, served with hand cut chips, is a little bit life-changing. The crumbed chicken burger with sriracha mayo, slaw and chips comes in a very close second.
For dessert there’s nothing to beat the infamous deep-fried Snickers bar with marshmallow ice cream – it’s just so good! The chocolate fondant with fudge drops and vanilla anglaise is also fantastic.
You’ll struggle to find a restaurant with better wines by the glass – the range is diverse and delicious, not to mention very well priced. The extensive wine and cellar list will have winos banging at the door, and with a Coravin option on a multitude of their high-end wines, you really can have your cake and eat it. And then there’s ‘Wine Wednesdays’, when they offer three gorgeous boutique wines for only R50 a glass.
If wine isn’t your thing, the in-house mixologist Jesse will concoct something fabulous to suit your mood. He makes stellar virgin cocktails too.
The majority of waiters have worked here for years, so they know patrons by name and welcome you like family. They’re well-versed on the menu and the wines, and really care.
The outside deck seating is a favourite for summer days and warm evenings: laidback and inviting; whilst the darker, cosier interior and bar are perfect for winter afternoons and romantic dinners for two. It’s a good mix of rugged and romantic.
Sundowners, after-work drinks and dinner with friends.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
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.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.