Venues

Zest Bistro

Zest Bistro
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  • Phone Number 012 460 0275
  • Location Greenlyn Village centre Shop 18 C/o Thomas Edison & 13th Street Menlopark Pretoria
  • email zestbistro@mweb.co.za
  • Website URL www.zestbistro.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday 9am - 3pm

    Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6pm - 11pm

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Cost
R180
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool
Food
Contemporary fare, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Diane de Beer

Food
What strikes you when glancing at a Zest menu is the innovation, ingenuity and individuality. From the Thai seafood bisque starter with avocado ice cream to the chicken breast and prawn satay served with basmati rice, broccoli, corn, mushroom and peanut nibs or braised beef short rib on the bone complemented by French green beans and mixed pulses, with a concluding sweet decadence of dark chocolate fondant and peanut butter ice cream. Every dish is about the contrasting flavours and textures and it says everything when the choice is made this difficult. It’s pure classical food, cleverly conceived.

Drinks
The chef patron is hands-on with the selection of wine. Every dish on the menu has a wine pairing, so you can opt to do that kind of meal. The accent is on wines that are meant to be drunk now.

Service
The premises is intimate and the approach hands-on.

Ambience
It has a cosy yet chic feel, with a gentle buzz that's always part of the dining experience. It’s like stepping into a friend’s stylish home.

And…
They are thinking of larger premises, but that's still in the future.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Hennie Fisher

    Food
    The menu conveniently gives one price per category for starters, mains and desserts (with some small variations here and there). Seared duck livers with Turkish fig paste and an apple tarte tatin, or roasted beetroot with goats cheese dressing, honey, prosciutto, basil, nuts, balsamic cream and micro greens are some of the four or five starter options available. Other starters include Thai red curry butternut soup, which might also arrive at your table as an amuse bouche. Main courses include grilled Moroccan marinated lamb leg with tabbouleh, courgette, hummus, tzatziki and a rosemary jus; beef & duck breast (should you prefer the confit option, there will be an additional cost), the beef shin braised with chocolate and pulled, served with a green pea smear. The bubble & squeak and carrot brunoise deserves a mention; while the slow-cooked five spice pork belly with ginger, coconut milk and sweet potato purée is a total must. Other main course options include seabass; Thai monkfish escalope; Loch Duart salmon; a chicken breast supreme or classic beef fillet with Béarnaise, demi glace, Mediterranean vegetables and fried onions. This restaurant serves some of the best sweets around, which is quite easy to sample by ordering a combination of three desserts to share – options include baked white chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake; lemon freak (burnt lemon tart, Zest creamy yoghurt, lemon confit and orange marmalade ice cream); a decadent crème brûlée or a dark chocolate torte. If you are not keen to share your sweet treats, order a simple bowl of three home-made ice creams.

    Drinks
    A large cupboard lines one wall of the dining area, and apart from serving as a waiter station with additional glassware and paraphernalia, it also houses glassware and a good part of the restaurant’s wine stock. The staff members are well versed in the wines and the service thereof, so one is in good hands when it comes to selecting and savouring a good wine. MCC’s include interesting wines such as Groote Post Rosé and Nitida The Matriarch White, Saronsberg Brut or Nicolas Krone Marque 1. White wines are sourced from the likes of Jordan, Buitenverwagting and Nitida. Reds may come from Hartenberg, Vrede en Lust and Muratie.

    Service
    Zest appears to have a regular flock of young, able and energetic wait staff from the surrounding area, so chances are good that regulars would already know them well or get to know them over time – adding to the welcoming atmosphere and continuity that one expects from a neighbourhood bistro. The Brooklyn theatre is close by, so often tables are packed by 18:30 and vacated again by 20:00, meaning that there is a healthy flow of energy and a good flow of tables.

    Ambience
    The inside dining area is quite small, tastefully decorated and features nice touches such as exposed rafters. Easy listening music enhances rather than distracts from the food and the overall experience. In the warmer months, there is a lovely deck outside where one can enjoy the balmy Highveld evenings. Tables are set with quality white linen napery and wheat coloured runners, contributing to the feeling of understated elegance. In true bistro style, enticing smells often waft through from the kitchen to stimulate one’s appetite.

    And…
    Chef Sydney Cousins has been at the helm of Zest for more than 13 years, consistently serving delicious fare to a discerning clientele and gradually building the reputation here as one of Pretoria’s best value for money restaurants. Over various visits in the past we observed that people eating at Zest invariably know somebody at a neighbouring table, not only demonstrating six degrees of separation in practice but also that Zest Bistro might just be the best kept secret that everybody loves to talk about.

    (August 2015)

  • Diane de Beer

    Food
    Husband and wife team Sidney and Anchen Cousins march to their own drum. Those who have discovered their magic are loyal and regular diners who follow a menu that’s small, yet changes regularly. The secret lies in their interesting combinations, like the buffalo-style mozzarella starter with Himalayan pink salt, grilled aubergines, capers, kudu carpaccio and gooseberry smear. Another unexpected and delicate starter is the cauliflower and almond soup.

    As for the mains, relish dishes like the grilled Moroccan marinated leg of lamb with rosemary potato risotto, aubergine and onion pulp, and cumin roasted carrots. A slow-cooked, five-spice pork belly with gorgonzola and pear risotto and a sweet sauce will lead your thoughts to dessert; this part of the menu presents difficult choices like their burnt lemon tart (a standard favourite they dare not tamper with) and a dark chocolate torte with peanut butter ice cream. This is the kind of place that always surprises, with a menu that’s fresh and original. It’s about clever thinking and crafty execution, and the perfect balance between quality and a bit of adventure.

    Drinks
    Chef Cousins is a wine aficionado and likes supporting the smaller and younger wineries. The wine list is constantly changing as he travels to seek out the new.

    Service
    It’s a family-run establishment, so it’s all hands on deck, by a watchful staff who really know their stuff.

    Ambience
    Even though Zest bistro has become part of the city’s dining repertoire, it still manages to feel like a hidden secret. The interior remind of a classy winery, with dark tables and chairs, linen tablecloths, glass and silver completing the picture. There’s also an enclosed outside dining area, and the eatery has a gentle and warm buzz that makes for a very comfortable experience.

    And…  
    Keep an eye out for their regular food and wine pairings.

    (August 2014)

  • A sure thing. Zest delivers on ambience and cuisine. Try a starter of roasted pickled beetroot with goat’s cheese mousse, crispy bacon and prune purée. Leave space for a burnt lemon tart with lemon confit and lemon curd ice cream. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Two of the newly introduced light lunch menu items are grilled lamb and roosterkoek with mint, tomato, salad leaves, tzatziki, onion rings and shoestring potatoes, and the poached egg Hemingway (Royale) with smoked salmon, a freshly made croissant, hollandaise sauce, tomato jam/confit. The menu changes regularly, adding to the adventure of this restaurant, which has always been very proud of its own sense of style. They never miss a beat with their flavours, textures and combinations.

    Wine
    The owner/chef makes a smart selection.

    Service
    Clear and classy.

    Ambience
    It’s cosy, classic yet comfortable – just the way the customers like it.

    And...
    You’re always surprised at some point during the meal by the chef’s innovative flair. (DdeB, October 2012)

User reviews

  • The first time we went to Zest was during a load-shedding evening and when we arrived there, the power promptly went off too! Thank goodness for gas burners and candles. We had an excellent meal and have been back with family and friends, each time served with exemplary food! They have regular wine-pairing evenings and Sidney's dishes with the paired wines are quite phenomenal. Seafood bobotie with a well-known Sauvignon Blanc was a winner. And their "Lemon Freak" dessert is to die for - burnt lemon tart, zesty creamy yoghurt, lemon confit, seville marmelade ice cream . . . .
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  • Zest Bistro is a gem and one of the best restaurants in Gauteng. Incredible food, and a great atmosphere. This family run restaurant values their clients and one will struggle to find food of this incredible calibre anywhere else in Pretoria.
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  • This has the be the worst food ( and even worse attitude) we have had for along time. For a party of three not one meal was of an acceptable standard. To make matters worse when one person in the party sent their food back we were told sorry but that's what we ordered .It was a leg of lamb which was full of fat and sinew and was so tough it rendered itself inedible. The manager did not even bother to come and enquire what the problem was. To add insult to injury when the bill arrived we were charged 50% of the meal returned. When I enquired I was told sorry that was what we ordered. When I approached the manager on this he did not even bother to respond. When I asked if he has lost his tongue he advised me that he had personally cut the fat off the meat before cooking it. They just could not accept that they had served a poorly cooked inferior piece of meat. Needless to say I paid for the meal and will definitely not return. I advise any other diners that should they wish to try this restaurant that they should not expect much and if they dare complain they will to brushed off with the management and staff not prepared to accept any responsibility.

    This restaurant definitely does not deserve to exist and I wont be surprised if it is not around for much longer

    Blaize Wulfsohn
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  • Average food, but the price charged certainly is not average. Will not recommend it.

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  • Won't see us again soon. Poor service and overpriced.

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  • This was my second time at Zest Bistro and it was even better than the first. It is a small romantic setting and the owner takes absolute pride in each plate of food that he serves. The taste of each dish was unique and new to me. Thanks for the great over all experience!

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  • Unassuming venue which makes the experience all the more delightful! The Morrocan lamb was pure bliss, and the Asian inspired pork was a blend of great flavours. Baked Camembert with nuts, berries and honey finished off one of the most memorable meals we've had in a long while. Service is good and sitting on the terrace on a lovely highveld day is always a treat. We'll be back!

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  • Great food! Have a look at the menu on their website, www.zestbistro.co.za

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  • I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant. It has a nice quiet intimate atmosphere, ideal for romantic dinners or informal visits with friends. They are reasonably priced and the service was very attentive. The food was of exceptional quality and very unique. We enjoyed our evening tremendously!

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  • Definitely not for larger groups of preople. The service is extremely slow, the corkage outragoeus (R80 p/btle) . The main course was well cooked but preseentation left a lot to be desired.
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  • One of our favourite Pretoria restaurants. The food is excellent, and the wine recommendations exceptionally good. The service is equally good too.
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  • This has to be my favourite restaurant in Pretoria. We have been going at least once a month for the last five years, and have never had less than a really great meal there. In fact, dining at Zest has spoilt me; I cant eat the kind of unimaginative, steak-and-sauce-and-chips meals that are served at so many restaurants in the capital anymore. Looking over previous reviews, I cannot believe that any of the waiters were rude to a patron. They have all literally been there for years and are highly professional. Also, interestingly, we ate at the restaurant around the 24th of June and ordered the fish and pork dishes. And our meals were superb. This little gem of a restaurant is really worth a try!
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  • One of my top 3 restaurants in Pta; I eat there regularly and every time is just fabulous in all respects. The service is excellent, the food is a 10 every time and for what you get pricing is very reasonable. I am astounded at the comment above about the waiter being aggressive; the same couple of waiters have been working there for years and they are highly professional and a joy to deal with. Someone telling me that one of the waiters swore at a patron is like someone telling me that the dominee is a paedophile...I simply do not believe it! Maybe someone had one or two drinks too many on the night?
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  • Last night was most probably the 100th time we went to Zest for dinner and every time it remains such a great pleasure eating out at this quality establishment with its excellent food and superb service. To Sydney & Anchen, congratulations for an unsurpassed eating experience, every time, plate after plate.
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  • Went to Zest for dinner last weekend. The service was friendly and professional. The food in general was very good, especially the sauces that accompanied each dish. The starters were superb, the desserts - especially the Crème Brule was fantastic. But the main courses were very disappointing.As I said the sauces accompanying each dish was good, but my pork dish was very tough - got the impression that it was the cheapest cut of meat they could buy. And my partner’s fish was very dry and crumbly. The price of the main course does not reflect on your plate. Feels like this restaurant could be a top restaurant but the quality is just not there yet.
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  • Wonderful experience. Definitely the best restaurant in town. Superb value, excellent service, beautifully decorated portions, and such a tasty food. This place has never disappointed me or any of my friends.
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  • Dont waste your money at this restaurant, it is not worth it!!
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  • This was our worst eat out experience in 10 years. First we orderded wine and only our 5th choice was available. Our table light kept on fading, something with the fans. In this type restaurent you expect quality food, the starters were good but the main course was very ordinary and nothing special. When we politely complained about the main course the waiter got very aggressive. All we wanted was decent treatment if you pay high prices. The waiter cursed at us when we left the restaurant, we just ignored his very very unprofessional bahaviour. Please dont go there, it is very very overrated.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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