Venues

The Griffin

The Griffin
Write a Review
  • Phone Number 0114479842
  • Location Illovo Junction, corner of Corlett Drive and Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg
  • email info@thegriffin.co.za
  • Website URL http://thegriffin.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Mondays closed; Tuesdays 12noon to 10pm; Wednesdays 7.30pm to 9pm; Thursday to Saturday 12noon to 10pm; Sundays 12noon to 4pm

Cost
R125 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Hip & happening
Food
Modern, Pub fare
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Jodi-Ann Pearton

Food
The Griffin offers a seasonal and well-thought out menu showcasing modern pub food with international flair and flavour combinations. The menu has trendy twists on it yet the food is welcoming and easy to identify with. There is a weekly Sunday lunch offering which is prepared “just how mom used to make it” and it inspires memories of family and childhood in a warm kitchen.

The starters and snacks are easy-going and simple. Try the duck spring rolls served with plum sauce or the spicy chicken, green papaya and coconut salad for a flavor explosion.

Main courses are sublime. The portion sizes are large and the meals are very well cooked. The slow roast pork belly with potato and onion bake is decadent, rich and delicious. For a lighter meal, try the Moroccan flat bread topped with pulled lamb, mint and spring onions, big dollops of baba ganoush and tzatziki. The gourmet burger is a signature dish at the establishment and you can sink your teeth into a pure beef patty topped with cheese and caramelised onions.

For the pub goers, or for those who enjoy sharing, there is a good selection of sharing boards, mezze and nibbles. There is also a children’s menu offered at lunch time.

Drinks
The drinks menu has something for everyone on offer  a superb selection of craft beers, beer on tap and local brews. The establishment also has a good selection of local wines, spirits and cocktails available, making it the perfect spot for a social drink of any kind.

Service
The service lets the establishment and experience down. The wait staff are disorganised and there is a severe lack of them. Managers need to take ownership of the floor and of the experience to make it a more slick and organised ship.

Ambience
The ambience is perfect for a casual, gastro pub environment. There is good music all day and a friendly, easy-going vibe. Patrons are at The Griffin to have a good time and the eclectic mix of diners and bar-goers adds a fun energy to the experience. The Griffin has an outside seating area for a more casual experience as well as the main indoor dining area for a warmer, more intimate experience.

And…
The Griffin is extremely well-known for its Sunday lunches but be warned, one has to book. The establishment also has a variety of fun evenings, including quiz nights which draw a large crowd and can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in a great night out.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Thulisa Martins

    Food
    As their menu says, this is the perfect spot to meet, eat, drink and be merry. Expect simple yet innovative and trendy gastro pub style food that changes with the season. To start, try the delicately cooked chilli salt squid with kimchi mayonnaise and sesame bok choy. Another very appetising starter is the beetroot and orange salad with goat's cheese, pine nuts, baby spinach and wild rocket. Alternatively, try the buttermilk-fried chicken on apple and celery slaw with Sriracha sour cream. The slow-cooked beef shin with wholegrain mustard mash, creamed cabbage and caramelised red onion is perfect for a cold winter's day. The flavour combinations are spot on.

    Then there’s their famous burger, a gourmet bacon & cheese version with caramelised onion, tsatziki, tomato relish and chips. You may also want to try the interesting Asian-style burger, consisting of a pork patty served with sweet chilli, ginger aioli and slaw. It's packed with flavour and makes for a refreshingly different meal. The sides are interesting – this is the kind of spot where you’ll find delights like truffled cauliflower cheese. Desserts are also promising – keep an eye out for that dulce de leche panna cotta, or the pear, almond and Amaretto tart with spiced custard, and if you’re looking for something more familiar, opt for the malva pudding with apricot and pecan nuts. There’s also a Sunday roast that rotates between an offering of free-range chicken, leg of lamb, rib or beef or pork belly.

    Drinks
    They offer a significant amount of craft beers, ciders and boutique wines. The craft beer selection includes local and imported beers such as the Wells Bombardier and Jack Black etc. There are also spirits and cocktails.

    Service
    Service is relaxed but quick, friendly and welcoming. The waiters are well informed about the menu.

    Ambience
    During lunch or the week it's very tranquil, but come weekends and especially Friday nights, it's full of vibe and buzz. The décor is quite rustic – brick walls and wooden tables and chairs lend a ‘dude food’ look and feel.

    And…
    There is a kids’ menu available for lunch.

    (October 2015)

  • A great South African version of the English gastro-pub, with hearty food, a superb selection of beverages (including their flagship craft beers), attentive staff and a welcoming atmosphere. Platters to share are a good way of experiencing the varied flavours favoured by chef Thomas Hughes. Asian tuna salad sits comfortably next to salmon fish cakes and the legendary Griffin Burger on the menu. Visit for a vibey night on a weekend.
  • Food
    The food is fun, accessible and hugely yummy; even that old stalwart, the burger, fully deserves the exclamations from satisfied diners that this may well be the best in town. The Griffin burger is made from hand-ground mince consisting of brisket, sirloin and oxtail, and is served simply with gherkins, mayonnaise and crisp, delicious fries. The menu covers starters, mains, sides of veggies and starches, puddings, bar snacks, platters, salads, sandwiches, and roasts and a kiddies’ menu (both only available on weekends). Whether you call it gastro-pub or bistro, this is good food at every level.The veggie platter pays creative tribute to good produce, including items like gruyere and onion tart; asparagus with herb mayo; cocktail tomato and mozzarella skewers; tortilla chips and guacamole; crystal spring rolls; and grilled goats cheese bruschetta with olive tapenade. Scottish salmon fishcakes with tarragon and dill nestle on baby spinach with lemon butter; the Asian seared tuna salad with shiitake mushrooms, coriander, and a mint and chilli lime dressing is light, delicious and cooked to perfection, while steaks are simple and unadorned but expertly done. The Sunday roasts alternate between chicken with sage and onion; roast leg of lamb with home-made mint jelly; beef rib with Yorkshire pud; and pork belly with red cabbage and crackling.

    Wine
    From craft beers to cocktails and selected boutique wines, The Griffin aims to offer something different at every level. Craft beers include Lucky Beer, Citizen Alliance, Jonny’s Cumberland Ale, Joseph Holt Maplemoon and many, many more. The list of craft whiskeys (such as Salty Old Dog) gives a nod to the latest hot trend, while the cocktail list features traditional as well as new and interesting variations on classics such as a June Bug or a Gingerbread Mule. The wine list also features an extensive range of carefully considered wines, among them Solo Viognier, Rustenburg John X Merriman and Pinotage Allée Bleue.

    Service
    Please note that while no dress code is specified, one will blend in much easier looking the part of an up-and-coming young Johannesburg executive, and the beautiful space and good food calls for a well-dressed crowd of bright young things to play up its positive aspects. The waiters are extremely efficient, competent and generally in command of a space that could easily become unmanageably crowded and full.

    Ambience
    Entrance is gained at street-level into an intimate and smartly appointed bar, past a formidable looking bouncer. The real action is upstairs, where after-work drinks easily flow into dinner. The Griffin is situated on the corner of Oxford Road and Corlett Drive, one of a strip of increasingly hip and happening Johannesburg venues. The entrance bar area on street-level is slightly more intimate and therefore less noisy, making for easier conversation and people watching: everybody arriving and leaving passes through here. Turquoise, polished red copper and thick glass décor elements set a stylish tone (despite the obligatory TV screens for monitoring the latest sports happenings), while not sacrificing any of the modern edginess. The upstairs dining area consists of a large room with a variety of large tables (sometimes requiring people to share) and smaller tables along the edge of the room, all overlooked by a large bar counter. An enclosed verandah serves as the smoking section.

    And...
    Fresh flowers, focused attention to detail by the staff and the other owner, Martin Jakoby, good food and a great selection of beverages make for more than your average establishment. (Hennie Fisher, May 2013)

User reviews

  • Sadly we were one of only 2 tables in the restaurant this past Sunday so the ambience wasn't the best, but the service and food more than made up for the empty restaurant. The limited but delectable menu and a fantastic drinks selection made it hard to decide what we wanted, but we definitely weren't disappointed with our selections. Definitely the highlight was the roast lamb Sunday roast with duck fat roast potatoes and seasonal veg. Everything was cooked to perfection. Additionally the manager made our 3 year old his own special mini burger and gave it to us on the house. We will definitely be back for the full on Sunday Roast, this time with friends.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • The best thing about the Griffin is the sunday roast! It makes winter bearable.....
    Reminds me of lazy sundays in the UK in my favourite pub
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Wow wow wow!!!
    That was without a doubt the best gourmet beef burger I have ever eaten!!!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Unfortunately, I was met with a major anticlimax after having waited for more than a month to get a reservation at the Griffin on a Friday night.
    We had to wait more than 15 minutes to get our table (even though we had a reservation) as the patron who was seated there refused to leave.
    They had just launched a new menu but the option that I had requested was 'not available'. I then ordered the steak which was over cooked despite me having asked for it to be medium to well done.
    It was so loud that we could not even hear each other and I will definitely not be going back there any time soon.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • You can tell these guys are passionate about food and beer. Delicious goats cheese parfait to start followed by a very yummy salmon fishcake. True pub food in a beautiful pub...more please.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Great atmosphere, better service. Duck spring rolls to die for and ginger beer that's beer. My fave hangout!

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Just had the best roast pork in my life! You guys rock.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Comfortably the best pub in Johannesburg. Had a Sunday roast last week. Spectacular!

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Best selection of beers in Jozi by far! Pity the food is not up to scratch.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I am British and was so excited to see a real pub...proper fish and chips! Happiness away from home.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Superb evening last night. Professional service. The food was sublime! I had the best fishcake I have ever eaten! I think this place is a gem, taking advantage of an all too often tired and limited Johannesburg eatery. Keep up the good work.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Monumental failure posing as a gastro-pub, this fake facsimile fails at every level. Student dive dressed up as a wannabe venue, creates an insult to the Jolly Roger. Food is sad, limp and tasteless; menus are guillotined to pieces; large tracts of drinks menu are unavailable, verging on fiction (have never been available), and God forbid if you order a drink at the bar, It requires that you surrender car keys or first-born child as security pledge before you receive a drink - student dive? You tell me. Great location wasted on amateurs - hopefully next-round buyer makes a better go of it.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • My husband and I had lunch at the Griffin on Wednesday. The service was absolutely outstanding but unfortunately the food was a bit hit 'n miss. My crab linguine was fantastic but my husband's mussels were horribly overcooked, chewy and tough. The manager offered us a dessert on the house and we ordered their baked chocolate pudding which really could have been left to cook longer as it was essentially just hot chocolate sauce in a ramekin.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

Write a review

Nearby Restaurants

Featured restaurants

Eatout