Venues

Urbanologi

Urbanologi
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  • Location 0114921399
  • Phone Number 1 Fox Street, Ferreirasdorp, Johannesburg
  • email info@urbanologi.co.za
  • Website URL http://www.urbanologi.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Lunch: Monday to Sunday 12noon to 3.45pm

    Dinner: Monday to Saturday 7pm to 10pm (Bar: Monday to Saturday 12noon to 10pm; Sundays 12noon to 6pm)

Cost
R65 avg main meal
Ambience
Contemporary cool
Food
Tapas
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Marie-Lais Emond

The people
When chef Angelo Scirocco, South Africa’s entrant for the 2015 S.Pellegrino Young Chef awards in Milan last year, left Chefs Warehouse, he was advised not to take his talent to Joburg where it was said he would ‘fail’.

Instead, he realised the city is both receptor and generator of new foods and ways of eating in urban South Africa. Johannesburg is also the ideal source of some of the unusual ingredients he requires for his ‘urban garde’ cuisine.

In Newtown Angelo found the inventiveness and edginess he needed for his Urbanologi concept. For comparisons, think Amsterdam’s industrial De Hallen or Copenhagen’s meatpacking district in Vesterbro. But this restaurant is not based on anything that has gone before – and part of the reason is the feedback between the constantly inventing brewery and restaurant.

Food
The food is impossibly good. Make that perfect – if there is such a condition. It’s inspired by what tastes good with special beers, using Japanese street-food flavours and processes with inevitable French influences in an urban melange.

The menu has six sections, each including a mix of you might consider to be starters, mains, accompaniments or even desserts. It’s a way of eating that you can construct in many ways, depending on who you are and what you enjoy. Everything, no matter how simple, is the best it can possibly be.

Chips could never be just chips; you’ll get a stunning wooden bowl of chunky deep-fried spud slices, served with a seaweed-mayo condiment with a fresh, delightful taste of seaspray. The deep-fried skins are served in the same bowl, with crackling textures. They appear under the Fried section of the menu, as does a pork belly dish that involves salt-curing the meat first, cooking it sous vide for the softest texture, battering it with black pepper and frying the pieces. The resulting crisp exterior and melting interior are contrasted with sweet butternut purée and sour tamarind dressing on fresh cucumber with smoky peanut flavours.

You might choose to start with a taste from the Steamed section, like the little steamed brioche buns. Made with sourdough, raw milk and butter, they’re injected with truffle custard and dusted with potato-skin salt.

Be blown away further by something from the Cured section, perhaps octopus cured in jalapeño and ginger, with a small shower of fresh, delicate petals of shaved turnip, and lime-and-coriander dressing over seared fresh tuna. Beautiful, yes, but even better to eat.

Move onto the Kushiyaki section of charred and glazed meats, with rump marinated in a Korean paste, fired on the Japanese grill, sprayed with lime and served with soba noodles and taste-wakening lemon-wasabi mayo, black-turnip shavings and seaweed dust. The rendang-style soft-shredded beef cheeks are also unforgettable, with creamy truffle- cauliflower purée and sherry-glazed onion sections.

The Frozen section will surprise and delight with gorgeous local tomatoes with salt and oil, served with a snow of oyster, buttermilk, fresh yoghurt, whey and horseradish. A devastatingly beautiful and well-balanced dessert in this section combines the tartness of blackberries with the earthiness of beetroot juice, poached plums and basil, under Angelo’s liquorice fruit powder.

Eating is a sensational, playful experience for all. The dishes are prepared with complex understanding, but require no finer appreciation tools than your taste buds. Angelo entertains without intimidating. And the lab is developing ever more dishes, such as the dessert using wonderful local milk in different forms, as well as new cultures for beers.

Drinks
The Mad Giant’s four beers – a pilsner, weiss, pale ale and amber ale – are the drinks that complement this oriental menu, and vice versa. The beer experience is foremost about taste; the staff are well versed in the flavours that complement the food in many surprising ways. Besides the beers, the wine menu is limited to only seven whites and seven reds, led by organic names like Waterkloof. Interestingly, there are three kinds of glasses to elevate the beers to new heights.

Service  
Urbanologi staff are fully trained and unhesitating with advice because they really do know their stuff. It’s very busy by night, but the space and the attitude of the staff makes everything seamless and genial, happy even. But so would you be in the comfortable-looking pale-blue and beige hemp shirts and aprons designed by Daniella Kisten. The team of chefs is headed by Scirocco and manager Rogio Pedro.

Ambience
All under one enormous industrial roof is the high-tech Mad Giant working brewery, fragrant with the aroma of delicate fruit. No glass separates you from Urbanologi’s fully open kitchen, allowing you to see what you get. Haldane Martin designed the interior, which features modern lighting, a variety of tables, and clever industrial chairs that accommodate a variety of bodies. The parquet of the floor is as clever as an artwork, leading the eye to the table detail. Couches of released-pleat flowing leather really stand out.

It’s difficult to get such a voluminous space to be cosy, but this is achieved by light pools. On the tables are wooden chopsticks on holders (but you can use your hands), wooden boats of salt flakes and slightly pressed peppercorns, and gorgeous Mervyn Gers bowls instead of side plates. The attention to detail is impressive.

As the manager says, the food is enjoyed equally by guests hailing from First Chinatown a street away, the new cops from what used to be John Vorster Square cross the road, hipsters and tourists. However, beer drinkers wearing shorts are just as welcome.

And…
Something surprising is planned for August to add to Urbanologi’s already fantastic experience. You’ll hear it from us first.

(July 2016)

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User reviews

  • My wife and I experienced Urbanologi for the first time on Saturday evening 20th May 2017. I was particularly taken with the ambiance of the place. A perfect balance of paying due homage to the history of the old building whilst catapulting it into the zesty future has been attained. I felt like I was simultaneously in New York and Cape Town when I entered the restaurant - and there's a name that should be bestowed upon of that sort of fusion of culinary cultures - that name should be - Jozilicious! We found the service to be of a very high standard. Friendly and welcoming and knowledgeable. Without feeling like you had eyes constantly over your shoulder - we felt that we were being singularly taken care of - almost as if we were family of those who own the place.... very well done in that regard. lastly, the food was a completely new experience for us and quite frankly, blew our minds. I think it's the first time I've had food that was not just a pleasurable necessity but rather it was a culinary and visual 'artistic' experience. Everything we tried was extraordinarily thrilling in it's flavor, presentation and effect. We are returning soon because we can't wait to try out everything on the menu. That is the first time I have felt that way about any menu set before me. Urbanologi is a very special place - a bit of history and the future bound together by passion and a hope for a Jozi renaissance! Indeed, as far as restaurants are concerned in South Africa - like The Italian town of Firenze (Florence), Urbanologi could be the birthplace of this renaissance.
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  • Went here for lunch today upon arrival staff already knew my booking by heart (great touch). Staff is very friendly and followed her recommendations on what to drink and I was not disappointed. You have gained a life long customer and I promise to bring more friends for the beer tasting
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  • If you love food that is out of the box, delicious, and beautifully presented then Urbanologi is the place to go. I went to Urbanologi twice the first week they opened, and have gone twice again since. With the delicious beef cheeks and the tuna and octopus dishes or even the pork belly. All was to die for. The blackcurrant sorbet that brought me back to my childhood from my grandmother's house in France. Just all round delicious and writing about this now makes me want to go eat there tonight... If you haven't tried it. You are missing out! Go!
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  • This funky chilled industrial dope (not the herb but the awesome) restaurant at the recently renovated 1 Fox has an indoor beer garden feel to it and the menu and tastes of a 5 star molecular gastronomy pub set in Asia. The fried was perfectly crispy and well-seasoned, the grilled deliciously tender, the steamed was delightful and fluffy and the smooth was so smooth Peak: (",) Pork Belly – what a wow, the very first time I had these I couldn’t place my finger on whether it was vegetables or meat (not because I’m slow but because I hadn’t seen what was being ordered) turns out it was pork belly and turns out Urbanologi knows how to turn Pork belly into a “once you pop you can’t stop” affair (",)The sirloin – damn this sirloin. tender, soft, melt in your mouth – had me asking myself is this really really meat??? Juicy, flavourful and cooked to absolute beef perfection (",) The steamed brioche – with a delicious truffle centre surprise, so soft… just so so soft (",) The banana barley malt ice cream Trough: :-( The dark beer gateu that comes with the banana barley malt ice cream Distinctive, different but excellently complimentary flavours and textures are on every plate. Places like these remind me why I love South Africa so much and why food is a passion, eating is not for survival but a blessed activity. A delicious meal tastes like that moment when you see someone you love that you haven’t seen in forever, it feels pure, its feels joyful (to the max) and it feels like life cannot get any better than this…. Except with the next bite – the magic ride starts all over again. The staff is fantastic, well versed in the various dishes and offer great suggestions on how to make the most of the menu. The wine list offers some interesting not mainstream bottles , so an excellent opportunity to fall in love with something new. Live once – Eat Always 
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  • Wow! We came here for a friends birthday... a group of about 27 of us. We were looked after from the moment we walked in, offered separate tabs for smaller groups so that the bill wouldn't become a mess at the end, we were offered drinks as soon as we sat down - the drinks menu is okay, there is a large variety of wine at very different price ranges, there's gin and of course there's 4 of their home brewed beers.. that they brew at the venue - you can see the brewery from where you're sitting - it's actually INSIDE the venue. So... drinks, awesome. Decor, funky, modern, different... lekker. Service, fantastic.... so far. We then ordered food... the menu is very different, flavour combinations that you wouldn't necessarily think about but really impressive. The ONLY issue we had over the entire night was the way the food came out. Okay it was a table of 27 people so we can't be too picky... But some people had received 3 plates of food while others hadn't recieved a single one.. that would be by only complaint. Want to know about the food? Here's what my husband and I had and the feedback: Steamed Brioche Buns with Truffle Creme - mmmmm - these were heavenly (if you like Truffles), you could smell the truffle as you cut open the bun and the creamy goodness oozed out. The brioche was soft and fluffy. I think this was probably my favourite dish even though it was so simple in comparison to the rest... heavenly pillows of delicious savouriness. Apple-Jalapeno cured octopus & tuna steak - raw turnip with spicy coriander lime-dressing - Fresh, flavourful and just yum! The octopus was something I don't have often and I was pleasantly surprised by how tender and flavourful it was. I really enjoyed this dish. If you're into your sashimi and seafood type of vibe you HAVE to try this. (For those who don't like coriander and are put off by the dressing, don't worry, it's just dotted around the plate so you can avoid it). Cured & smoked pork neck, quince puree and baby choy - Soooooo gooood, the pork seemed a little over smoked at first when I tried it by myself but actually when you pair it with the sweet quince puree, it's absolutely to die for... loved this dish. If you're a gammon/bacon lover - try this. Deep fried potatoes, seaweed emulsion - Okay.... this one I wasn't sure about when it arrived. The potatoes which are like super crispy potato wedges were delicious... and the seaweed emulsion was one of the best things i've ever tried (if you don't like sushi you'll probably not enjoy this) ... the combination of the two confused by brain... I think it's because I'm used to having seaweed and mayo on cold sushi, and not with a scorching hot potato - but don't get me wrong, I couldn't stop eating this dish. This for me was the most interesting and different dish I tried. Doenjang glazed beef cheek kushiyaki, truffled cauliflower puree and sherry braised onions... just wow. The meat was so incredibly succulent and tender and the flavours just worked so magically together. By this stage I was pretty full so my husband ate the majority of the dish. But the mouthfuls I did have were really something special. Overall this was just an awesome experience. Food, service (for the most part), atmosphere, decor... just the whole package. Will definitely go back in a while when I crave some more of those steamed truffle buns...
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  • Iconic decor and amazing food. Will definitely visit again
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • WiFi

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