There are few things that warm the soul like the tender goodness of a lamb shank that’s been braised slowly in a hearty jus and served with a colourful helping of veg – and, if you’re lucky, some creamy mashed potato. Here’s where to feast on this satisfying wintery dish around SA.
Even before you taste it, you can see that the food at Craft has got that comforting look. The braised lamb shank with North African cumin and yoghurt flavours is a wonderful winter warmer, from the first sniff of the warming aroma onwards.
EB Social Kitchen & Bar (Hyde Park)
Chef Russel Armstrong considers and reconsiders all his menu creations. His version of the lamb shank is organically sourced and cooked on the bone before being deboned to serve. It’s accompanied by a Mediterranean-inspired lemon couscous, with a remarkably delicious spiced-bean stew. It’s just the dish for warming the spirit while gazing at the wintery landscape from the warm side of the huge windows.
Gemelli Cucina Bar (Bryanston)
The flavourful lamb rump is here treated like a shank, and then the top fat rendered under a flame grill. It’s quite a dish with the most exciting accompaniments, including a porcini risotto with parsley butter, olive tapenade on the plate, pea mousse and a roasted-garlic-and-mustard crème fraîche, all under a breath of porcini dust. It’s outrageously delicious.
Lucky Bean (Melville)
This restaurant is known for its lamb shanks in winter and summer. The current version is meltingly tender, very slowly cooked in local craft ale for a slight sweetness that’s quite Belgian in flavour, and served with parsnip-carrot mash. It’s a deliciously comforting dish served in a bowl. You could eat it with a spoon it’s so soft and lovely.
Pata Pata (Maboneng)
Cooked almost forever in a divine rich and thick tomato sauce, Pata Pata’s tender lamb shank is served with mielie pap, sweet potato, regular mash or rice. There is also a venison shank, depending on the game meat available at the time.
Wang Thai (Sandton)
For quite a different lamb shank, take the steps up to the right of the statue on Nelson Mandela Square. From here the people watching is good, but this lamb shank will dominate your attention. The steaming massaman kha gai is a fragrantly curried lamb shank, slowly roasted in its delicious massaman sauce and laced with a smoky crush of peanuts.
Here you are always king (or queen) and the meat is done to perfection, according to your desires. The tender shanks come in a definitely delicious lamb gravy, the meat roasted in its marinade of herby olive oil, lemon and garlic, and are served with seasonal vegetables on lovely plates and silver. There are springbok shanks available, too, also roasted but served with green peppercorn sauce and stewed fruit.
Baobab’s lamb shanks are baked in a rich tomato, garlic and herb sauce, and served with your choice of starch and veg or salad (R179).
Geet delights with the lamb shank (sikhandari raan-lackhnow) marinated in Kashmiri chili, ground coriander, garam masala and yoghurt. The shanks are lightly smoked and then slowly roasted overnight, which results in the most melt-in-your-mouth texture. Served with creamy black lentils. (R180)
Kream offers a delectable (and enormous at 500g) lamb shank that’s slow braised in red wine with Moroccan spices and served with hummus, buttered greens and mint potatoes (R195).
Life Grand Café (Hazelwood)
Life Grand Cafe offers a slightly more modern plating of lamb shank that’s beautifully presented in a terracotta dish. The shanks are slow roasted until succulent and tender, and served with mixed potatoes and baby butternut. (R198)
Mythos (Menlyn Maine)
The kleftiko here sees succulent lamb shank slow roasted on the bone and served with rich gravy and oven-roasted potatoes. (R190)
Prosopa (Waterkloof Heights)
Prosopa’s generous speciality lamb shanks are served with a merlot-and-rosemary jus, honey-glazed carrots and crushed mustard potatoes. (R178)
Village Bistro (Irene)
Village Bistro cooks its lamb shank in a classic wine sauce with fresh herbs and spices, and serves the dish with mash and vegetables (R155).
Bellevue Café (Kloof)
The menu here often changes, but you’ll almost always find a form of satisfying lamb on the main menu. Dishes might include spiced lamb shanks that are slowly cooked with cumin, coriander and star anise and served on a bed of steamed rice with all the roasting juices (R190).
Butcher Boys (Morningside)
It’s no secret that this is a top pick for some good red meat. The lamb shank here is slow roasted with fragrant garlic and onions and served with seasonal veg and herbed mustard mash (R196).
Fourteen on Chartwell (Umhlanga)
The pie of the day here often features the ever-popular lamb shank pie. This generous beauty comes served with the bone peeking out through the golden pastry and is filled with tender meat and a rich, hearty gravy. The dish is served with a side of fries and a red-wine jus dipping sauce for R120.
Hussar Grill (Umhlanga)
If you’re not here for a steak, order a hearty lamb shank dish to satiate your carnivorous cravings. The meat is very slowly roasted in a deep red-wine jus and served on a bed of mashed potatoes. Order a side of sautéed green beans, oven-roasted veggies, or some creamed spinach to seal the deal.
Little Havana (Umhlanga Rocks)
Known for all things meat, this upmarket steakhouse keeps things classic with its lamb dishes. The shanks here are slow roasted and served with creamy mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies and a fragrant rosemary jus (R185).
Lupa (Durban North)
A generous portion of shank is prepared in the roaring wood-fired oven at this popular Italian spot. The lamb is roasted in a gloriously rich sauce of red wine and rosemary until it falls off the bone, and comes served with seasonal veggies and a side of your choice (R215). We highly recommend the wilted spinach with butter and parmesan, parmesan fries, or wood-roasted veggies.
Mamma Luciana’s (Glenashley)
This dish has become quite legendary over the years. It’s cooked very, very slowly overnight in the wood-fired pizza oven in a rich and robust red-wine gravy. The dish is served with your choice of sides including chips, veg of the day, zucchini chips, or a side pasta with Napoli sauce.
Anatoli (Green Point)
A true local gem, this Turkish restaurant keeps regulars happy with traditional, satisfying flavours. The lamb shank has quite the fan base. This rich dish is slowly cooked for four hours in orange juice, coriander seeds and aromatic spice blend before being served, meltingly tender, on a bed of smoked aubergine purée.
The Brasserie (Tokai)
One of the house favourites here is the wood-fired lamb shank. This generous plate is served fall-off-the-bone tender with root veggies, soft potato mash and a zingy gremolata.
The Crazy Horse (City Bowl)
Bree Street’s newest gastropub offers hearty English grub with flair. The pie of the day changes often, but it might be the robust lamb shank pie. Complete with a golden puff-pastry casing, this dish means business with sumptuous red-wine braised lamb, a pot of rib-sticking homemade gravy, and some fluffy buttered mashed potatoes.
Engruna Eatery (Sea Point)
If you’re craving lamb shank and pizza at the same time, this is the place. The hearty lamb pizza here is a blissful choice for meat eaters. This comes topped with slow-braised pulled lamb shank with additions of mange tout, fresh basil, poached pears and a roasted garlic crème fraîche.
Hussar Grill (Camps Bay, Mouille Point, Rondebosch, Steenberg and Willobridge)
It’s not only about the steaks here. The lamb shank dish is a luxurious option for any carnivore. The meat is slowly roasted in a dark red-wine jus and is served on a bed of mashed potatoes with your choice of side.
Sloppy Sam (Green Point)
Try not to fill up with the starters here, as the lamb dishes are legendary. The famous Sloppy Sam lamb shank comes slow roasted with butternut, green beans and onions and some good roast potatoes.
The Wild Fig (Mowbray)
The thatched pub and roaring fireplace make this old faithful a winner in winter. Cosy up with the famous lamb shank that’s slowly roasted in red wine until tender. The dish comes served with jus with carrot, celery, onion and fresh herbs, and on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. It’s the ultimate comfort food.
Abbey Rose (Greyton)
This charming, cosy restaurant sets the scene for some magnificent fall-off-the-bone lamb shank. The glorious dish is braised and slow cooked in a red wine sauce that’s perfectly mopped up by veggie accompaniments (R150).
Henri’s Restaurant (Somerset West)
The lamb shank here is a popular dish for those looking for a fix of something sumptuous. The dish is slow roasted with tomato, onion and white wine, and served on a bed of banting-friendly cauliflower mash (R180).
The Fatbutcher (Stellenbosch)
The locally sourced lamb here gets a thumbs up from locals. The shank dish is oven braised and served with a decadent parmesan mash, seasonal vegetables and a glossy red-wine jus.
Mama Cucina (Riebeek-Kasteel)
The blackboard menu may change regularly but you’ll often find the delicious slow-roasted lamb shank on offer. This dish is served with creamy sweet-potato mash. Alternatively, get your fix with the pizza topped with pulled lamb, spinach, feta and minted yoghurt.
Have we missed a worthy spot for a hearty lamb shank? Let us know in the comments section below.
Please note that while we take care to report information accurately, some items and prices may change without our knowledge.