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Urbanologi

Cost
R70
Ambience
Local cuisine, Quick meals
Food
Tapas
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Food
The business of ordering always ends up being a rather expensive exercise at Urbanologi it’s worth it for the pleasure of being able to taste so many fresh, foreign and interesting flavor combinations. The menu is divided into raw, cured, steamed, fried, kushiyaki (meaning skewered and grilled) and dessert. If you’re dining alone, make sure to pick one from each.

Standout plates included the herb seared venison with Sriracha emulsion, cucumber salsa and ponzu in the raw section; the duck pancakes with kimchi, horseradish emulsion and hoisin in the cured section; the coal-fried broccoli with smoked gorgonzola and broccoli gremolata; and the crumbed line-caught chokka (squid) served with a sweet and piquant mango salsa and micro basil. For those who enjoy pairing their food with the right kind of beverage, each dish comes with a wine or beer recommendation.

Say yes to the churros served with lime frozen yoghurt, cinnamon and orange jelly for dessert – they’re light and fresh and go beautifully with the suggested glass of Yardstick pinot noir.

Drinks
Pleasingly, many of the wines are served by the glass, with some nice surprises such as the Circumstance Biodynamic (cabernet franc) and the Yardstick (pinot noir). Cocktails are made using only premium spirits and specially made spirits and are definitely worth a spin. For instance, the humble margarita is made with Don Julio, Cointreau, still lemonade and a squeeze of lemon. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available – from Symmetry Botanical tonics to BOS ice tea and S.Pellegrino sparkling water.

Service
Quick, efficient service and knowledgeable staff means that recommendations from your waitron can be trusted and ingredients and plate size can be explained before decisions are made.

Ambience
Because it’s a huge, industrial-style restaurant space with high ceilings and a brewery on-site, it can get very cold and drafty, especially in the colder months. But it’s great for entertaining big groups, who can be seated at the long dark wooden tables on matching high chairs.

And…
Urbanologi patrons don’t pay for parking – just remember to ask for a receipt and present it to the car guards.

(August 2018)

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

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  • Jodi-Ann Pearton

    Food

    Think sublime, mouthwatering, delicious, decadent, fresh, tantalizing, to die for, wonderful – go back for more – food: this is what Urbanologi offers. The cuisine is incredible. Enjoy the sultry plates of food as an a la carte experience or better yet, order multiple plates and share them with the table as a tapas experience and have the opportunity to experience a little bite of many more wonderful plates.

    The menu is broken down into six categories, defined by the cooking methods used for the key ingredient in the dish: raw, fried, Kushiyaki, steamed, cured and frozen. Try to select plates from each category to experience a well-rounded meal.

    Think venison tataki served with Sriracha emulsion, salted cucumber and kumquat ponzu, tempura Shimejii mushroom with tamarind dressing and butternut puree, or lamb rump with rose geranium poached quince, baby spinach and apple blossom. Flavour combinations are fun and trendy, but extremely well thought out and not over complicated or confusing. Each plate is utterly unique and phenomenal in its own way.

    Progress to pork dumplings, pickled chokka wings with turnip spaghetti, and don’t miss the Yakatori Chicken with Urbanolgi chimichurri – a signature dish and a must have.

    Finish with candy floss with peach salsa, lemongrass and pineapple sorbet.

    The chef changes the dishes seasonally, using unusual cuts of meat and seasonal, quality vegetables to ensure perfection of flavour. Each plate is as pretty as a picture and will entice you to dig in.

    Drinks

    Urbanologi boasts an exceptional beverage menu, with a vast selection of unusual wines and craft beers. The restaurant is set in a brewery, so there is a great selection of house craft ale on offer, as well as quite an unusual array of lesser known wines. There’s MCC, fabulous craft gin, whiskey, hard tack and soft drinks for the those who prefer something lighter. The bar is gorgeous, so arrive a touch early and enjoy a drink at the bar before your meal.

    Ambience

    Set at the original Fox Street Brewery, Urbanologi has an amazing energy and ambience, which hard to find anywhere else in Johannesburg. A sense of history flows through the restaurant, making diners want to pick up their shoulders a little bit and to tap their feet to the music. The open plan kitchen buzzes, adding to the buzz on the floor. The restaurant recently won an international décor award.

    Service

    The service staff are friendly, kind and match this fun, trendy establishment and cuisine. They know the menu extremely well and will not overwhelm you, but ensure your comfort at all times. Booking at Urbanologi is very easy and may be done on the website or telephonically and one shall receive an SMS to verify your booking.

    And…

    Although located right in the middle of Johannesburg, which is quite a distance for some, the drive is well worth it, and there is safe parking. Do not miss out on this one!

    (September 2017)

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User reviews

  • Was a little dissapointed by the food. For tapas, I found that there was no cohesion between the dishes. The duck pancake was delicious but required something fresh to cut through the fatty like texture. My partner found the steamed brioche bland as the bun had very little of the truffle catalan. Alas, the only dish we truly enjoyed was the deep fried potatoes. Maybe we made poor selections, as the waiter did not offer up any suggestions or recommendations. For dessert we had the peach and thyme. There was no peach flavouring and too much thyme. Not a great way to end. May give this another try in a couple of months if the menu changes.
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  • Best restaurant, food and beer in town, simple as that
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  • Having recently returned to South Africa, Urbanologi was high on my list of must try restaurants. It is a great spot, with wonderful potential, and I look forward to visiting again. As a creature of habit, I perused the menu before my visit, and was very keen to try the duck pancakes. Unfortunately our waitress informed us that the menu item was not available that day, and I was slightly perturbed. We don't eat beef or pork, but found sufficient menu items that satisfied our dietary restrictions. We ordered the venison tartare, smoked snoek toast, mushroom springrolls, chicken yakitori and brioche buns. Most of the menu items were scrumptious - I particularly enjoyed the brioche buns (bursting with a truffle butter filled center) and the chicken yakitori (soft and tender, served with an excellent chimichurri style sauce). Our least favorite item was the mushroom springroll - I felt the sauce and springroll combination just didn't work. We skipped dessert as we planned to grab ice-cream at the little market in the center. I was slightly apprehensive about driving to Urbanologi in Johannesburg central, but there is adequate, free secure parking provided. There are a number of small craft style stores in the little center that are worth a visit. With the promise of seasonal menu items, I'm keen to give Urbanologi another try, especially if duck pancakes are still on the menu.
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  • Great restaurant, we loved that we could chat to the guys who run the place. Will definitely go back any day
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  • Had another great lunch at Urbanologi. As always. I'm not necessarily a vegetarian but would become if these guys would cook every day. Grilled broccoli with gorginzola dip. Heaven!
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  • As good a meal as the 4 of us have ever had. The superb eat out review is spot on. All 4 of us believe this qualifies as a top 10 restaurant.
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  • We had a truly amazing experience at Urbanologi. We were struggling to find something interesting and different for our office year-end function until we came across this remarkable eatery. It quickly became evident that we were not just booking a meal, but an experience. The decor is beautiful and the meal even better, paired perfectly with their fine craft beers and superb local wines. The service is outstanding. The waiting staff are clearly well trained, attentive and friendly. A big thank you to Roger, Myron, Jack and Lovemore for making our time with them an experience to remember. Highly recommended.
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  • Urbanologi is an urban legend! Going in, thanks to its ridiculously high ratings, expectations were ridiculously high. Urbanologi delivered. From the moment we stepped out of our cab, we were warmly greeted and assured of safety in the urban environment, to the moment we sat down, the service and professionalism was unmatched. But most importantly, the food was what we came for! The tapas style at Urbanologi caters for all tastes, from spicy to crisp fried deliciousness and healthful cured goodness. My only recommendation is to order a spread across the menu and savour the inventiveness of every style and technique. I loved that the chefs presented gorgeous plates balanced in taste, texture and style. This restaurant is uber chic and uber delicious, a must try urban legend!
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  • Went to this really cool industrial style restaurant twice in the past week and was an experience of a lifetime. The food was very delicious and the service was fantastic.
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  • Even though Urbanologi truly delivers creative fine dining and absolute perfection, it is unpretentious in the best way. I would challenge any person to feel uncomfortable or intimidated as a diner here so simply come as you are without assumption. The service is warm, sociable, and helpful. The menu is definitely something to be explored and encourages you to leave pickiness and ordering habits at the door and surprise yourself with a bit of adventure. After having tasted a large part of the menu, it can be stated that every dish was remarkable, and whatever comes to your table will be a pleasure to eat. As for the beer, the Pilsner is a personal favourite, but do try them all. The interior has exceptional design, and being seated inside to fully appreciate it is recommended. Also, having a view of the kitchen is rather entrancing. In short, if you want to impress and have an extraordinary experience, this is the place.
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  • 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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Facilities

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

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