Review: Embarc adds a relaxed upmarket dining experience to Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue

Embarc opened during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic just after restaurants reopened for sit-down dining and describes itself as “modern, elegant dining in a trendy, relaxed space”. Chefs Lisa De Beer and Darren O’Donovan have created a restaurant that’s inviting and unpretentious but with a hint of refined elegance.

Fast Facts:

Restaurant name:

Address: Shop 1, corner of 4th and 13th avenues, Parkhurst

Phone number:
072 913 3269

Opening times: Wednesday and Thursday, 11.30 am – 10pm; Friday to Sunday, 11.30am – 11pm

Average price of a main course: R225

Parking situation: Limited street parking

Food type: Contemporary upmarket dining

Best for: A fancy Tinder date or a family dinner with the in-laws

The menu is broken into sections for snacks, starters, mains and desserts with every main course also offered as a starter portion for a reduced price. An eclectic mix of items is available that carry both Asian and Mediterranean influences. The snack of kataifi prawns is a moreish umami and textural experience: crunchy kataifi pastry envelopes succulent prawn meat and is served with a contrasting light and aerated tom yum cream. The dish is given some zing with lime mirin, orange and pickled ginger mayo. Other options on the snack menu include triple cooked fries, crispy squid and pulled duck wontons. Starters feature line fish with mango atchar, fennel and cucumber, which is a light and delicate dish but with a punch of spicy-sweet tang from the atchar. As a main, try the beef fillet short rib with baby leek, salt and vinegar crisps, potato air, and gremolata – a rich but satisfying course that will delight any meat lover. Vegetarians can look forward to items like barbecued aubergine with harissa or cauliflower risotto with hazelnut, sage and smoked raisin.


The desserts take on a homey and nostalgic slant – think banana, dolce, custard, Nuttikrust biscuit crumbs and buttermilk ice cream. A bowl of creamy sweet comfort. The baked brie with goat’s cheese ice cream and butterscotch is a fun savoury-meets-sweet dessert that also features the kataifi pastry as the crunch factor.


Embarc offers a focused and considered wine list featuring sufficient bottles of many of the mainstream varietals with some interesting and uncommon inclusions like semillon gris, alvarinho and grenache noir. The selection of local MCCs is comprehensive and, if you’re after something international, there are a number of sparkling wines to choose from. Apart from wine, one can order from a range of spirits and liqueurs.

The staff are well-trained and the service is friendly and efficient, without being intrusive or overbearing. The staff are knowledgeable about the menu items and are happy to answer any questions. The owner himself is often on the floor, chatting and engaging with customers, which makes the experience more personal.


The restaurant is small but well-used in its layout and is situated on the corner of two streets, allowing much natural light to flow in. With its neutral colour palette – that is calming and refined – and its minimalist Scandi-style furniture, the decor is a supporting act to the food, which is the hero. When the restaurant is busy, you’ll pick up the buzz of chatter and clinking glasses, the soundtrack to people having a good time. Embarc attracts a diverse clientele who is in the market for good food that offers real value for money.

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

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