The Hussar Grill in Rondebosch was established in 1964. They refer to themselves as a grillroom, and the flame-grilled meat does not disappoint. When you enter, the alluring scent of grilling steak might lure you to quickly select a steak from their steaks and grills menu. You won’t be disappointed by their wide assortment of grilled meats. From sweet and succulent spare ribs in the signature Hussar basting sauce to a generous portion of tender Grilled Lamb, the grillroom provides a tempting selection. Accompanied by a basket of fries, the Hussar’s main menu is a bevy of comfort food. Their starters don’t disappoint, either – choose from a diverse starter menu that includes Italian tomato soup and a mussel pot.
The signature dessert is a chocolate vodka martini – but the Hussar serves a variety of desserts that includes traditional malva pudding and baked cheesecake.
A selection of single malts is available on their drinks menu, however, the restaurant is renowned for their multi-award winning wine list. It isn’t difficult to select something special as the wines are listed according to their varietal and each gives reference its appellation.
You’ll experience exceptional service from the moment you enter the door to the moment you leave. From a bowl of olives placed as a snack while you peruse the menu, to attentive and knowledgeable waitrons like Moira, no detail goes amiss.
The red carpet is laid out at the front door and the décor speaks to the restaurant’s desire to step it up. Decidedly strong, dark wood paneling and plush green chairs make the restaurant feel cozy. Although we placed a reservation, tables in corners are packed tightly together and the lady seated at the table beside me was practically on my lap. The restaurant is cheerful and full of regulars and lovers of well-grilled meat and good wine, so it’s not difficult to understand why so many flock to The Hussar Grill for a seat at a table.
There is ample parking on the side-street – Rustenberg Avenue, alongside the restaurant. Walk-ins are permitted, but make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Style and sophistication sum up the success of the Hussar Grill franchise, with the Rondebosch outlet having the distinct honour of being one of the oldest grill rooms in the country, established in 1964. It features an extensive menu and a healthy appetite is a pre-requisite to experience all that this classic has to offer. For starters, the garlic snails are a must-have, drenched in roasted garlic butter and finished off under the grill with a liberal sprinkling of parmesan. Then there is the Hollander Bitterballen, a Dutch derivative, which comprises double-cream béchamel studded with beef jus and beef bits deep fried. It's a great way to start the evening.
The Hussar Grill usually has two dinner sittings, which is worth keeping in mind if you arrive without a reservation. Meat dishes include fillet, rump and sirloin, grilled to your liking, with the usual accompaniment of hand-cooked fries, mash, new baby potatoes or a side salad. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the grilled hog ribs (if you like a bit of fat) or ask for the spareribs if you prefer it leaner.
There are also lighter grill options, like the Hussar burger or the steak roll. If you’re not into a carnivorous meal, the seafood menu has some good variety like the mussel pot, prawns and grilled kingklip. You could also go for the chocolate chilli chicken.
End the evening with a choice of decadent desserts such as chocolate fondant, hand-selected chocolate truffles and the Hussar ice cream dessert, which is a sinful combination of vanilla ice cream, nougat, peanut brittle, marshmallow, sprinkled nuts and drizzled with dark chocolate. Or simply go for the chocolate vodka martini!
A refined and well thought through wine list makes it a diner’s pleasure to choose from. It caters for all palates, indulgences and wallets, with esteemed estate labels that are regularly updated with listings from the latest Platter’s Wine Guide. A limited selection of wine by the glass and a good selection of whiskies, ports and brandies are available too.
Timely and attentive, although during busy times it can be a bit tardy. Waitrons are efficient and knowledgeable about the food and wine menus.
The Rondebosch branch is filled with character and emulates the wood-panelled, cosy feel that the Hussar Grill franchise has become synonymous for, thoughtfully decorated with sepia photographs of the Cape.
Look out for two-course and three-course lunch specials.
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Don’t come to the Hussar expecting innovative vegetarian food, minimalist décor, or a celebrity chef. Since the grills were first fired up here in 1964, making it the oldest of what has grown to become a citywide franchise, ‘the Hussar’ is about one thing: great steak, and lots of it. The Hussar’s reputation is known far and wide, and even on a rainy mid-week night you’ll struggle to get a table here unannounced. Reservations are highly recommended. On the menu you’ll find prime cuts, and classic interpretations such as the popular Chateubriand. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the oyster-stuffed Hussar Carpetbagger or Blue Cheese Sirloin. Also look out for chalkboard specials such as prime rib, alongside the usual assortment of game steaks. There are (shock!) salads and (gasp!) seafood on the menu too, but then you do need to ask yourself if you’re in the right restaurant. If you absolutely have to go off-message, do it in the starters where old-school classics run to garlic snails and deep-fried camembert. These are mere distractions though: come to the Hussar for succulent, well-cooked steak and you’ll rarely, if ever, be disappointed.
An expansive wine list dominated by major brands, but with a few tucked away gems. Generally well priced, but as there’s no corkage charge many diners choose to bring their own. There’re a dozen single malts on offer, as well as a pair of craft beers on tap.
Most of the waiters here are students, so the quality of service can vary from week to week. That said, it’s always friendly, usually efficient, and occasionally excellent.
A charming spot filled with 60 years of magnums, wine boxes and knick-knacks. It’s cosy without being crowded, with a warm conviviality that keeps locals coming back again and again.
The Chocolate Vodka Martini is all you’ll need for dessert.
The Hussar Grill (Rondebosch) stakes a serious claim for the mantle as Cape Town’s oldest and best steakhouse.
Did you know there are seven Hussar Grills? It’s strange, as it’s not the kind of place you associate with being a chain or even a franchised restaurant and it doesn’t feel like one, but with Hussar Grills in Green Point, Camps Bay, Constantia, Willowbridge, Stellenbosch, Paarl and of course the original in Rondebosch, it’s a veritable empire built on meat.
Named after the light calvalry, but serving up the heavy artillery, The Hussar Grill is where you go for well-cooked, bloody protein. The starters run the full gamut of pre-steak morsels from garlic snails to chicken livers, deep-fried camembert to biltong, springbok carpaccio, calamari, an avo and prawn cocktail (for those who loved the 80s), and even some boerie if you’re worried your meaty main won’t suffice. The bitterballen, a favourite Dutch bar snack of a meaty seasoned paste, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried served with a Dijon mustard, are a decent option to get the taste buds going without being too filling. The Italian tomato soup served with a swirl of cream has been a house specialty for 30 years. A thick, concentrated beast, it’s closer to a pasta sauce than a soup, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The mains are all about meat. Sure, you can get some fish and the odd chicken dish (chocolate-chilli chicken, anyone…anyone?), but the Hussar Grill is really all about steak. Beef. With a bit of game and some pork.
There are the classic combos: fillet béarnaise, Madagascan pepper fillet, filet moutarde, Hollandse biefstuk with brandy and pepper, and the slightly unusual surf-and-turf combo of the carpetbagger, a fillet mignon stuffed with smoked oysters and cheddar, finished with brandy and mustard.
The chateaubriand is a 200g fillet set alight with brandy at the table and accompanied by a sauce béarnaise. The fillet is good and tender as hell – if hell involves buttery pillows of meat. The brandy was a nice eyebrow-searing touch, but the béarnaise was a bit flat, lacking acidity and almost mute on the tarragon front. The sirloin on the bone is wonderful. Tastier than the fillet, it comes anointed in their signature basting and does not need a sauce of any sort to tart it up. On a final note, it’s worth noting that all the meat is grass-fed.
The wine list is commendably extensive, well thought-out and they go to great lengths to tell you where each wine is from, its awards and so on. In a nice and unusual touch, they don’t charge for corkage. One area that could use some attention and expansion is the by-the-glass selection, which is limited to two options. (That said, it also says you can ask your “service ambassador” which other wines are available by the glass.) On the beer front, SAB and the other usual candidates are well represented, but there are no craft beers, which is a pity. Beers like the Devil’s Peak King’s Blockhouse IPA or Triggerfish Hammerhead would go down a treat with some of the Hussar Grill’s fine meat dishes.
Professional when it was present. The place was heaving so it’s understandable that the staff were a bit stretched, but at times I wished I had one of those Kauai buzzers strapped to our waitress’s head.
Very good. Bustling on a mid-week evening, with a surprisingly young clientele, mixed in with the older crowd you’d expect. It’s a great option for people taking in a show at the nearby Baxter Theatre. If Don Corleone were in Cape Town for some nefarious meetings with Glenn Agliotti and the Guptas, he’d probably feel at home in The Hussar Grill. Old black and white photos of moustachioed butchers manhandling meat adorn the walls amid bookshelves and other memorabilia. You sink into a booth behind a crisp white tablecloth and you’ll feel at home in a patriarchal bossman kind of way. Then you have a steak, a bit of red wine and start to talk like Brando.
A 1kg steak special – it’s real and The Hussar Grill offers it. Good luck with that.
This original Hussar remains the benchmark against which all the others are measured. The medium-rare 300g rump with béarnaise sauce is the signature dish; also try the 300g fillet with onion rings and old-school creamed spinach and butternut. They have a decent wine list (but you are welcome to bring your own for free) and a great selection of craft beers. Also visit Hussar Grill at 108 Camps Bay Drive (021 438 0151).
If there were awards for staying power, this landmark steakhouse (founded in 1964) would win championship status in a town where novelty restaurants come and go. Consistency, top-quality aged beef, skilled grillers and a magical basting sauce are a winning formula – ensuring the loyal support of three generations of locals. Generous portions of house specialities – pork ribs, 28-day aged rump, fillet and sirloin – with crispy frites on the side (and ubiquitous creamed spinach and butternut at R10).
An affordable selection of wines with a focus on big reds to go with steak.
Consistently excellent, from recommendations on the steak of the day to meats grilled to your exact preference.
Come as you are. As comfy and nostalgic as an old library with books on the shelves – and old black-and-white photographs on the walls.
Enjoy retro side orders like garlic roll, onion rings and crumbed mushrooms. (GH, September 2010)