Countess Cover
Countess Cover

The Countess

Cost
R80 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool, Hip & happening
Food
Bistro fare, Burgers, Café fare, Food from the Americas, Light meals, Steak
Payment
Diners Club, Mastercard, Snapscan, Visa, Zapper
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Critic's review

Marie-Lais Emond

Food
The Countess in Melville has taken Joburg by storm. Having perfected the basics so soon after opening, it’s now at the stage where it can concentrate on making statements with smoky barbecue coupled with modern cooking techniques.

The food is, in a word, smoky. The smoking equipment is visible through the kitchen’s glass wall, allowing guests to watch the processes. The Countess is at the forefront of the latest food movement of more-is-more, but the from-scratch menu is based on the best ingredients, responsibly and locally sourced, and makes use of house-made pickles, breads and brioche. In presentation, each dish is a masterpiece.
Starters can be as outrageously delicious as mac ’n cheese made with actual truffle paste, parma ham croquettes, or beer-and-cheese brulée, topped with house-smoked chorizo and served with freshly baked ciabatta.

The beer-battered fish with fennel-and-garlic aioli is my best-yet combo, and another main that’s worth fighting over is their French dipping sandwich of rich, fall-apart, eight-hour-cooked brisket, with molten mozzarella (smoked, of course) piled with spring onion into a Countess baguette, and served with some of the rich onion gravy for dipping – and much dripping. With every main there’s the choice of 11 sides, such as onion rings, creamy garlic mash or deep-fried battered gherkins, and your selection of as many condiments, including bacon jam, pickles, homemade piccalilli and chutney.

Desserts on special might include The Countess’s pot de crème. It is simply delicious: sous-vide caramelised cream custard with slightly bitter maple syrup and black lava salt floating on top in a little glass. The chocolate mousse syllabub is ridiculously rich too, with real Belgian chocolate contrasted with that fresh lemon-curd taste of the syllabub.

Drinks
The liquor licence is in contention (some local residents haven’t approved), but there are great cocktails if you bring or buy a spirit from the bottle store. The mixologist (who can sometimes be seen making infusions like lemongrass syrup) produces lovely mocktails like Cool Cucumber, made with cucumber juice, green apple, salt and lime in a tall, frosted glass, and The Grand Dealer, made with fresh pomegranate, orange juice, house-made cinnamon bitters, and lime. The coffees are excellent and include iced condensed-milk fantasies of the day.

Ambience
The double-volume space of Prussian blue and lots of copper, both practical and decorative, is there to impress. Inside, there’s a huge mural of The Countess above the mixology area. The canopy of white umbrellas outside, surrounded by young olive trees, is one of Melville’s prime meeting spots.

Service
Leona Chauluka, for instance, embodies the kind of happy and funky service that seems natural here. It’s quite casual but efficient. Knowledgeable waiters who offer to find out, without a fuss, really inspire confidence.

And…
The coffee is so good because they get the beans green, roast them and grind them for your cup – and they sell the goodies to do it yourself.

(March 2016)

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User reviews

  • I reckon The Countess deserves to be called the steampunkiest joint in Jozi. Nicely decorated interior and menu, very pleasant waiters and manager/manageress, an excellent drinks menu, and interesting food. I had the French dipping sandwich + chips, and my girlfriend the beer battered fish + salad. (There are about 8 different sides to choose from!) Our only criticism would be the oiliness of the food; a little too heavy for our taste.
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  • The Countess has become my happy place. Get messy with their Sticky Pork Ribs. Or feast your eyes and tastebuds on the insane Countess burger. Great value for money. Friendly peeps and the venue is a double-storey showpiece with a spacious umrella-ed deck. Happiness right there!
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  • Housed inside an enticing shipping container precinct in Joburg; is this absolutely grand and hip hangout I highly recommend, with a defined and utterly superb menu, that will offer you a real genuine feel good gastronomic adventure. Steampunk’d most stylishly, the venue will surely intrigue your eyes to every corner which ultimately creates a relaxed sublime atmosphere. Fully equipped with a Barrista and an award wining Mixologist you’re sure to have a complete and unique dinning experience.
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  • Wonderful afternoon, that became a late evening, spent at the Countess. With her steampunk decor inside and inviting sunny deck outside, the day was spent soaking up the late winter sun to be greeted with a cosy fire as the evening chill set in. Certainly a huge asset for Melville and 27 Boxes. The menu offered a great selection of vegetarian dishes with a must try comfort dish of mac and cheese with the Countess adding her own delicious twist. Of course the extensive list of craft gins available cemented the uniqueness of the restaurant! Friendly staff and great atmosphere made for a delightful visit - we will certainly be returning to the grande dame of Melville.
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  • My weekly visit to my favorite lady is indeed to The Countess , a somewhat seductively large , yet intimate atmospheric diner and smokehouse restaurant in 27Boxes , 4 th ave Melville. And I've never left without feeling that wonderful emotion of compete satisfaction! From the welcome ( we are at hugs! ) and being whisked to the Prussian blue steam punk seat of the lady herself, the savouring of the aromas of that freshlyused smoker and a great outdoor area , it's really a wind down and enjoy experience! Seductive G&T's ( WOW! their selection of local gins is amazing, as is the choice of tonic waters ) to an almost overwhelming choice & combination of starters through mains to dessert and incredible coffee sets the scene for " Choices, choices , choices " in the most appetising way possible. From a combo of starters ( try the artichoke patè, add a baked Camembert but don't dare skip the wonderful chicken liver patè drizzled with organic honey, one wonders if there will be space for mains! There lies the true strength of The Countess , amazing smokey ribs, smoked brisket lasagne and the best chilli burger in Jozi are my favorites, but having worked my way through the menu ( as one does!) fish lovers and vegetarians will also be well looked after from the vast choices of mains and sides! Well done to all at this great restaurant, where the passion is felt on the palate!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Breakfast
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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