Brooklyn is the fast-growing business and cultural hub that everyone in Pretoria is talking about. There’s a little something special for everyone to be found here, no matter how particular your palate, diet or budget. Eat out critic Khanya Mzongwana treks through one of her favourite culinary neighbourhoods to showcase the reasons everyone keeps coming back to Brooklyn.
This bread house is a haven for die-hard gluten fans and makes an impressive variety of interestingly flavoured artisanal breads. Favourites right now include the decadent chocolate bread, exotic mushroom bread and sweet pumpkin bread. They make light-as-air buttery croissants in-house, and change the menu daily, depending on what the local greengrocer has on offer. Broodhuijs also offers a solid cup of coffee, fantastic burgers and a cute, cosy getaway from the office. (And they’re currently at work on the wine list.) Pop in any time from 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm on Saturday, or linger longer on Wednesdays, when they keep the doors open until 10pm. You’re looking at spending approximately R200 per couple.
This authentic Indian restaurant is in a class of its own. Expect delicious Indian entrées, lots of good vegetarian offerings and classic South Asian cooking methods and serving styles. The lamb biryani is off the charts – tender chunks of lamb cooked in stock and spices, basmati rice and crispy onions, all enclosed in a homemade pastry lid, which, once opened, lets out the most deliciously fragrant steam. Rather go for mild if you’re not sure about the heat, because spicy here means spicy. The ambience is serene even on a busy evening, and the venue offers a gorgeous private dining space with a low table and cushions to sit on. The service is great. You’re looking at spending an average of R360 per couple – a good Indian meal (outside of India) seldom comes cheap! VISA and MasterCards are accepted and there is free WiFi.
Kream is the ultimate in opulent spaces, and is rightfully hailed as one of Pretoria’s finest culinary offerings. The food, service and décor here are unmatched in excellence. Try the trio of chicken with smooth and sweet butternut purée, steamed French beans and grilled new potatoes – a fresh rejuvenation of a classic Sunday roast, which pairs excellently with the Hermanuspietersfontein No.7 Sauvignon Blanc 2015. For dessert, take a trip down memory lane with Candy Crush, a dessert as fun as it sounds: A landscape of rainbow cheesecake, candy floss, caramelised popcorn, gin-and-tonic jellies, crushed candy cane and a scoop of bright blue bubblegum ice cream. You might want to share this one; it’s not for the faint hearted! Guests can expect to spend an estimated R600 per couple, so might want to save Kream for special occasions.
This reliable and humble Chinese takeaway spot first opened its doors 12 years ago and since grown into a successful franchise throughout the city. Kung-Fu Kitchen has been satisfying cravings for Chinese, Thai and Japanese food with mouthwatering pork dumpling broth, fresh sushi, shrimp chow faan and piping hot delicious vegetable spring rolls. The Thai massaman chicken with a side of steamed jasmine rice makes for a soul-warming, satisfying meal. Have a lazy Sunday afternoon in and place an order by phone to pick up later.
One of my favorite lunchtime haunts, Lucky Bread is the epitome of classy convenience. Situated in Brooklyn Square, it’s central and nearly impossible to miss. Enjoy a mango chai smoothie, choose a mouthwatering salad or sandwich from the menu, or take your pick from the delicious, fresh bakes of the day. There’s a lovely selection of cakes, tartlets and breads that you can take home, and the coffee is exceptional. Warning: You might be tempted to eat everything and go far beyond the average R250 per couple. Lucky Bread also takes special orders for fantastic cakes and artisanal bread.
This place might appear a bit impersonal, but the food here is just incredible. Often referred to as the hidden gem of Brooklyn, Padbok isn’t really getting the attention it so well deserves. The sushi is superb, the bird-shaped Thai chicken dumplings are a fun, cute and Instagram-worthy addition to the menu, and the ultra-fragrant tom kha with prawns and red duck curry are what dreams are made of. Come in a big group and order a mix of different dishes; you won’t regret it! You can make a reservation or take your chances and just show up.
What’s your favourite spot in Brooklyn? Tell us in the comments.