New review: Great British Menu’s Charles Lakin joins the team at 9th Avenue Bistro

This Morningside restaurant has been getting rave reviews since its inception in 2001. We sent Tracy Gielink to see if it’s still just as good.


This bistro has serious culinary credentials. Chef-patron Graham Neilson has been joined by Yorkshire man Charles Lakin, who’s worked in Michelin-rated restaurants and competed in the TV series The Great British Menu. It’s a sanctuary for those of jaded palate… Think wild mushrooms with toasted brioche, crispy egg yolk, walnuts and halloumi, or pig’s head terrine with apples, walnut and pickled turnip. Main courses are mostly meaty affairs and could include braised lamb shoulder with confit carrots, spinach, potato mash and herb yoghurt, or charcoal roasted pork chops served with Brussel sprouts, bacon, baby potatoes and tahini. It’s impossible to refuse dessert here, and the comforting pear-and-apple bread pudding served with a warm whiskey sauce, pecan nuts and fresh whipped cream elicits blissful sighs.

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


The wine list is carefully contemplated, informative and has fair mark-ups. South African bottles are listed according to varietal with vintage, area of origin, winemaker and a brief description. There are also good value new and old world international wines. By the glass options cover all eventualities and you’ll also find dessert wines, local ports, sherries and cognac. Classic cocktails and some craft beers complete the picture.


Service is impeccable and dispensed with genuine hospitality that follows through from the hands-on owners. Regulars are showered with attention and newcomers made to feel equally appreciated. The team on the floor is alert and attentive, ensuring that service matches the same high standards of the kitchen.

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

9th Avenue Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


An air of quiet sophistication is created by modern lines and a tempered use of colour. Terracotta walls radiate warmth, striking botanical photographic artworks make a statement and black metal chairs feature against the backdrop of white napery.


The six-course tasting menu offers a good culinary overview and you can also add wine pairings for a minimal additional payment.

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