Venues

Laughing Chefs Restaurant, Venue & Tapas Bar

Laughing Chefs Restaurant, Venue & Tapas Bar
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Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Hip & happening
Food
Country-style fare, Modern, South African, Tapas

Critic's review

Alida Ryder

Food
The menu at this quaint establishment is very creative and cleverly broken down into categories like “Nibbles”, “Veld”, “Butcher” and “Sea”, and promises favourites like mushroom arancini, lamb croquettes and caramel pork belly. Unfortunately the execution of the dishes is lacking a little and most dishes tasted were either under-seasoned or lacked any seasoning at all. The deep-fried chicken livers had a lovely crispy coating and were well-cooked but lacked any punch or zest and could do with a simple squeeze of lemon juice. The lamb croquettes were sufficiently crunchy on the outside but the meat inside was a little dry, something that could be fixed with the shredded lamb being mixed with some of the roasting juices. Many of the issues here could be fixed with simple seasoning or a little more thought. The menu shows a lot of promise and potential.

Drinks
Their wine list is sufficient, with a few wines represented in each style and most wines available by the glass. They also offer a satisfactory amount of craft beers and an extensive list of cocktails.

Service
The staff are friendly although not always aware enough. The owners do the rounds and introduce themselves, which added to the comfortable, homey vibe.

Ambience
Set in a lovely old house in Rietondale, this establishment has a lovely homey feel to it. Pressed ceilings, original wooden floors and a roaring fireplace all add to the cosy ambience. In summer, grab a table in the beautiful, lush garden.

And...
They often host musicians for jazz evenings.

(September 2016)

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  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Diane de Beer

    Two years after Laughing Chefs Dining Room opened its doors, mother and daughter team Maggie and Esrida have kept refining and fine-tuning their tapas-orientated menu in the knowledge that they’re right where they want to be.

    Food
    It’s more tasting menu than strictly tapas, however. The offering, with its decidedly South African flavours, includes blue cheese snails (a favourite); bruschetta with pear, walnuts and caramelised onion; risotto balls with filled melted mozzarella (a new version of an old favourite); mini fishcakes; deep-fried chicken livers; and various types of mini meat skewers, including bobotie or ostrich.

    If you want something more substantial, stand in line for the restaurant’s all-time favourite, the Moroccan-slanted slow-roasted lamb shank with star anise jus. They dare not take it off the menu. Other items that might appear in colder months include oxtail and lasagne rolls or perhaps oxtail lasagne. They’re constantly shifting and shaping their food options to keep diners interested and their imagination ticking.

    Drinks
    Expect an easy-drinking wine list with four options. They’ve included Earthbound organic wines and are also big on port and muscadel for those chilly winter evenings, when they serve it in a wine glass rather than the traditional tiny tumbler.

    Service
    Mom Maggie keeps an eye on the floor with charming chatter while daughter Esrida is hands on behind the scenes in the kitchen.

    Ambience
    Picture lush gardens and the soothing sounds of rippling water, the reflection of lights at night on large glass windows, and a mood pool that runs the length of one of the dining rooms. Laughing Chefs is a charming spot with many different placement options – you can be off on your own or part of the buzz, depending on your mood.

    And…
    Take note of dinner theatre nights, with jazz, acoustic and classical music all forming part of the soundscape. They’ve also introduced wine pairings and craft beer tastings.

  • Diane de Beer

    Food
    Two years down the line, the mother and daughter team Maggie and Esrida, who started this tapas-orientated restaurant, keeps refining and tuning their menu in the knowledge that they’re right where they want to be. Tapas it is, although it’s more tasting menu than strictly tapas, say the owners. The offering (with its decided South African flavours) includes blue cheese snails (a favourite), bruschetta with pear, walnuts and caramelised onion, risotto balls with filled melted mozzarella (an new version of an old favourite), mini fishcakes, deep-fried chicken livers, and various types of mini meat skewers, including bobotie or ostrich. If you want something more substantial, stand in line for the restaurant’s all-time favourite, the Moroccan slanted slow-roasted lamb shank with star anise jus. They dare not take it off the menu. Other items that might appear in colder months include oxtail and lasagne rolls or perhaps oxtail lasagne. They’re constantly shifting and shaping their food options to keep diners interested and their imagination ticking.

    Drinks
    Expect an easy drinking wine list with four options. They’ve included Earthbound organic wines and are also big on port and muscadel for those chilly winter evenings, when they serve it in a wine glass rather than the traditional tiny tumbler.

    Service
    Mom Maggie keeps an eye on the floor with charming chatter while daughter Esrida is hands-on busy behind the scenes in the kitchen,

    Ambience
    Picture lush gardens and the soothing sounds of rippling water, the reflection of lights at night on large glass windows and a mood pool that runs the length of one of the dining rooms. It is a charming spot with many different placement options – you can be off on your own or part of the buzz, depending on your mood.

    And…
    Take note of dinner theatre nights, with jazz, acoustic and classical music all part of the soundscape. They’ve also introduced wine pairings and craft beer tastings.

  • Diane de Beer

    Food 
    Mother and daughter team Maggie Gey van Pittius and Esrida Brits are the faces behind this restaurant, which they took over from the former owner and dressed up in brand new clothes.

    It’s a cosy venue, with many nooks and crannies to choose from, making it a versatile spot. Inside and out, you can pick both your setting and your food. With an adventurous tapas menu (ideal for small or large parties), it becomes great fun. Make your selection from dishes like blue cheese snails; lamb croquettes with tomato chilli chutney; mushroom risotto balls with a melted mozzarella centre; ostrich and peppadew skewers; and snoek and patat fish cakes served with moskonfyt.

    Or for more hearty mains, try the fish fillet topped with pistachios and crispy bacon, the slow-roasted lamb shank with star anise jus, or the rich creamy pork fillet stuffed with blue cheese and figs.

    Drinks 
    The selection suits their cuisine and is on the easy-drinking side, including Vrede en Lust Casey’s Ridge, the Place in the Sun range, Zonnebloem Blanc de Blanc and Graham Beck Railroad Red, all reasonably priced.

    Service 
    Mom Maggie keeps an eye on the floor with warm conversation, while daughter Esrida is hands on in the kitchen.

    Ambience 
    Imagine large glass windows, lush gardens and the soothing sounds of the rippling water, and a mood pool that runs the length of one of the dining rooms. It used to be more cluttered, but the women have stuck to clean lines to enhance the beauty of this idyllic spot.

    And…
    This is also fantastic as an events venue, and catering is another of their strong suits.

    (July 2014)

User reviews

  • It was an evening where you're laughing at, not with the ambiance, service and food. Half of the menu was available, and it took the waiter took an hour to get our drinks order; you can only imagine how long it took for us to actually get our mediocre food. The only positive from Laughing Chefs is that the food was well displayed on the wooden cutting board plates, but then it all went downhill once you actually tried the food. It was an extremely disappointing experience.
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  • My 30th birthday party was held at Laughing Chefs, and it turned out to be one of my worse experiences ever. We were told that even though they have a show on that night, there will be no problem with accommodating the 24 guests in a separate room. We had a quotation and price per person for a set menu was given, when the platters arrived, the food was not bad, but there was not enough food,3 platters for 24 people. We complained and the lady on duty confirmed that there must have been a mistake and the price per person was reduced. When it came to pay the bills, the circus started, wrong bills, waiters couldn’t handle the payments, and as our group left, three people asked the waiter in charge if all bills were paid, to which the waiter gave us the confirmation that no bills are outstanding and everything was paid, but after we corresponded with the restaurant they are trying to say people didn't pay their bills, when I personally saw each patron paying with cash and/or card or going inside to pay their bills. We had guests all the way from White River in Mpumalanga, and 24 people left being very disappointed.
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  • one of the worst experience i had in my life. the service was nothing to talk about, coz there wasn't service. Champange was hot, had to ask for ice buckets to get the champange cold so its drinkable. waited an half an hour for drinks. food wasn't even enough for the amount of people, as it was suppose to be a set menu. we had 3 platers between 24 people. each person had 1 samosa, 1 frikkadel, 1 spring roll, 2 pieces of chicken strips aand a few potato wedges. suppose to be dessert was chocolate truffels, wasn't even enough for all, this for R150.00 pp excluding drinks and champange.

    by far the worst place to have a function. waiters didn't even know what was going on and staff sitting @ the bar, or must i say, laying on a chair.....
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  • Horrible experience. Had a group booking and only half the menu was served. The cocktails were terrible, mojito's were made from lemon juice and soda water and the long island ice tea was undrinkable. The service was average at best. When we complained we were told that not everyone paid their bill, this after the waiter confirmed that everything was paid. Some of the group even had extra drinks loaded to the tab. This was tge worse experience I have had at a restaurant.
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  • Mouthwatering array of dishes on the seasonal menu which makes it very hard to choose, but whatever you do decide to eat, I can promise you that it will be amazing! Their Tapa's is a definite must!
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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Beer served
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Live entertainment
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food

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