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The Grill Jichana

The Grill Jichana
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Cost
R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R45 (wine), R75 (champagne), R90 (magnum)

Critic's review

Nicola Ashe

The Grill Jichana
Food
At Grill Jichana the considered sourcing of local meat means that Karan beef, free-range Karoo lamb and Dargle Valley chicken all feature on a small focused menu.

Expect a variety of starters that include both meat and veggie salads, as well as beef carpaccio, half-shell garlic and saffron Saldanha Bay mussels, or sautéed chicken livers. The escargot in blue-cheese sauce, with garlic cream and café de Paris butter, is a bit oily instead of creamy, so there is no liberal mopping up of sauce and the snails on one occasion were a little skinny instead of plump.

Choose from rump, fillet or T-bone topped with the same 20-ingredient café de Paris butter, which is sliced off a cold block and set atop the meat to slowly melt over it. Fillet requested medium rare was served almost blue, but this was swiftly rectified and re-plated with new vegetables and crispy chips.

Other sauces include roasted-garlic cream, truffle-scented mushroom, spicy chakalaka or béarnaise. Pepper-crusted ostrich fillet, slow-braised lamb shank, or a halloumi-and-aubergine veggie stack feature as signature dishes, along with cinnamon-scented citrus-basted duck, which is presented as a confit leg and grilled breast portion.

Seafood includes Norwegian salmon and tiger prawns with SASSI-listed line fish rubbed in east-coast spices.

Round off your meal with homemade sorbet, a Midlands cheese board, share the recommended five-chocolate Valrhona ball with fresh fruit relish, or the baked lemon tart with cardamon and rose water panacotta.

Drinks
A comprehensive wine list is available as well as a selection of exclusive wines purchased annually from some of South Africa’s specialist wine auctions.

Service
Staff are friendly, polite and extremely obliging. It’s a nice touch to be greeted with a sherry on arrival.

Ambience
The black brick walls, padded leather booths and low-lit chandeliers give off a cigar-bar vibe, but rest assured, smokers are relegated street side.

And…
‘Jichana’ is the Swahili slang word for ‘eating well’.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    Home baked bread served with smoky, delicious chakalaka sauce offers perfect fodder for scrutinizing the menu. This grill house has paid particular attention to their suppliers, which means diners are rewarded with high quality, flavourful meat. Prime cuts of beef are hand cut and a chalkboard next to the open plan kitchen tells you how long the various steaks have been aged. A good accompaniment to a beautifully prepared steak is the café de Paris butter, which boasts 20 ingredients. Other carnivorous temptations include lamb chops and succulent rotisserie chicken, and the seafood selection makes use of SASSI approved line fish. Main course accompaniments are more inspired than one might expect and includes curried butternut mash with coriander butter or a rocket, tomato and red onion salad with a pomegranate dressing. To end the meal on a high note, try the lemon tart served with a lemon sorbet and candied nuts. The biscuity pastry is adorned with a subtle lemon filling that is mousse-like in its delicate lightness.

    Drinks
    The wine list covers all varietals and provides star ratings for each. The local contingent is complemented with Champagnes. There are budget friendly options and a fair mark-up on the more premium wines.

    Service
    The team is eager to please, from the hostess swinging open the door on arrival and offering a complimentary sherry, to the waiters who have very obviously received intensive training. Unfortunately some noise escapes from the open plan kitchen.

    Ambience
    The space is masculine and broody. Black and white checked floors are teamed with dark wooden furnishings, striking chandeliers and red accent walls. In keeping with the upmarket interior, serviettes are crisply starched and the cutlery has a striking angular look.

    And…
    Book your dinner in the modern glassed-in cellar – it takes up to 10 people and there is no additional charge. – Tracy Gielink

  • Tracy Gielink

    Food
    Home baked bread served with smoky, delicious chakalaka sauce offers perfect fodder for scrutinizing the menu. This grill house has paid particular attention to their suppliers, which means diners are rewarded with high quality, flavourful meat. Prime cuts of beef are hand cut and a chalkboard next to the open plan kitchen tells you how long the various steaks have been aged. A good accompaniment to a beautifully prepared steak is the café de Paris butter, which boasts 20 ingredients. Other carnivorous temptations include lamb chops and succulent rotisserie chicken, and the seafood selection makes use of SASSI approved line fish. Main course accompaniments are more inspired than one might expect and includes curried butternut mash with coriander butter or a rocket, tomato and red onion salad with a pomegranate dressing. To end the meal on a high note, try the lemon tart served with a lemon sorbet and candied nuts. The biscuity pastry is adorned with a subtle lemon filling that is mousse-like in its delicate lightness.

    Drinks
    The wine list covers all varietals and provides star ratings for each. The local contingent is complemented with Champagnes. There are budget friendly options and a fair mark-up on the more premium wines.

    Service
    The team is eager to please, from the hostess swinging open the door on arrival and offering a complimentary sherry, to the waiters who have very obviously received intensive training. Unfortunately some noise escapes from the open plan kitchen.

    Ambience
    The space is masculine and broody. Black and white checked floors are teamed with dark wooden furnishings, striking chandeliers and red accent walls. In keeping with the upmarket interior, serviettes are crisply starched and the cutlery has a striking angular look.

    And…
    Book your dinner in the modern glassed-in cellar – it takes up to 10 people and there is no additional charge.

  • Kate Ziervogel

    Food
    Jichana is Swahili slang for 'eating good'. Although a fairly new restaurant, Jichana is making a name for itself with its steaks. This is a meat lover’s paradise. To start with, the beef carpaccio with balsamic vinegar reduction and tomato compote, shaved parmesan and watercress charms with subtle truffle oil flavours as well as a hint of citrus. Their Karan beef comes from Ivor Karan’s farm in Heidelberg and is expertly and custom-cut to the restaurant’s specifications. The 500g rump with 20-ingredient café de Paris butter with its North-African flavour, is a good choice for main and delicious served bleu. The Karoo lamb, free-range chicken and duck from the Dargle valley in the KZN Midlands are also becoming popular. Fish are sourced according to the SASSI list and includes a beautifully seared tuna steak. For desserts, there is the option of a simple but classic crème brûlèe with berry coulis, as well as a baked lemon tart with lemon sorbet, and the KZN-made La Petite France Grande Brie with biscuits and preserves.

    Drinks
    They provide a full wine list prepared by the hotel sommelier Miguel Chan. Expect to find the best Platter-rated Champagnes, sparkling wines, white and red still wines in their temperature-controlled glass-enclosed cellar.

    Ambience
    With its comfortable leather décor and chandeliers, the restaurant reminds of classy smoking room – without the smoke. It’s casual dining with a smart edge. Seating is set to allow enough space between tables to encourage some privacy. Unfortunately the music can be a bit loud, just enough to prevent the waiter from being heard.

    Service
    Service is personable and friendly. Complimentary sherry on arrival makes you feel most welcome. Attentive servers and managers are available, and any problems are sorted out quickly and without fuss.

    And…
    They stock the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee – end you meal with a cup of this very fragrant Joe.

    (August 2014)

User reviews

  • This was possibly one of the best steaks I have ever had - together with the French Butter Topping. It was so good we went the next night too and placed the exact same order from the previous evening. I'm also not in the habit of writing reviews, so doing just that in itself says something.
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  • We had dinner at Grill Jichana last night and were so impressed with the food and the service. The steak with the 20 ingredient sauce was executed perfectly and really is all that it promises on the menu. The 5 chocolate ball dessert was one of those death by chocolate experiences - decadent, delicious & delightful. Great attention to detail. Sithembiso, our waiter was just great. We would highly recommend you try it out. Kim & Enban
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  • Jichana is apparently a Swahili slang word meaning “eating well”. I didn’t know that; and to see the restaurant décor, branding and menu, you’d not expect anything vaguely “Swahili” about it. As a matter of fact, when we walked in, I guessed the place to be more of a Cuban Fusion Jazz joint. Not that there is anything wrong with it, mind you, just didn’t know where the Swahili element fitted in.
    Jichana Grill is also located on the ground floor of the Elangeni (Tsogo Sun) hotel (next to Daruma Japanese Restaurant and Teppan Yaki which we were fortunate to visit the night before). Just off to the side street, the solid metal door with lightbox branding above gives the impression of a nightclub entrance and since we were on time, were a little confused about getting in through that door at all since so many restaurants we had visited were still prepping at 6pm. But Mr Burly-Man let us in and we were shown to our table, past the temperature controlled glass wall enclosed wine cellar and little humidor (you see why I thought the place Cuban). Our server was pleasant and informative and made every effort to make our dinner an enjoyable one although his knowledge of the menu adequate.
    Our meal included a beef carpaccio with watercress, balsamic vinegar reduction, fresh citrus squeezed over, and I am sure I detected a hint of truffle oil. You can’t really go wrong with Carpaccio but I will say that the portion size was nice and the accompanying flavours fresh and well suited.
    Grill Jichana is getting to be well known for their steak dishes. 500g rump steak ordered bleu with 20 ingredient café de paris butter and a side order of fries. Now I will introduce you to the very reason why we have decided to stop booking our dinners at 6pm and opting for 8pm. Being the first people ordering, my hunk of meat was pulled out of the fridge and slapped immediately onto the grill. Now a bleu steak can’t be cooked directly from fridge cold because it leaves the inside, well, cold. So it was with regret that I had to inform our server of the chilly situation and see how he would handle it. Absolutely no excuses or arguments, my plate was returned to the kitchen to be inspected by the chef and subsequently replaced with a perfectly bleu grilled steak exactly to my liking.
    The pan seared tuna steak with red peppers showed off excellent quality ingredients and superior skill in preparation. Simple flavours and presented with style. Although Grill Jichana is making a name for themselves with their beef, it would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent quality of the fish too.
    Our dessert of homemade crème Brule was simple and creamy with half a strawberry on the side with a little berry coulis again made a meeting of angels on the taste buds. Very nice.
    On leaving Grill Jichana you will most likely be handed a business card with a Tripadvisor link on the back with a request to rate or review the restaurant. Very proactive and an excellent way for them to keep things at the highest standard possible.
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  • My husband and I were looking for some place different to eat out at one evening and we were pleasantly surprised by the food and hospitality!

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Alfresco
  • Beer served
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Hotel
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian

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