“Joburg just has too many bistros,” said no one ever. This is why Estrellas, one of the latest additions to the city’s trusty lunch-break, after-school and coffice hangouts is so welcome. But the alfresco eatery with an in-house car wash isn’t just any other old bistro; it’s keeping things simple while pleasing all palates. Eat Out critic Thando Ndabezitha pays Estrellas a visit.
Serves: Bistro cuisine and small bites
Cost: Average price main course is R70
Best for: Tapas and drinks with friends
Star rating: Food 4, service 5, ambience 5
The food at Estrellas is simply made, light, tasty and satisfying. Think meaty burgers and pregos and some lighter options. The chicken wrap with hummus, cottage cheese, tomato, lettuce and cucumber comes with your choice of chips of a side salad. Salads are mostly of the green, leafy variety, with various versions such as mozzarella Caprese, chicken or Greek on offer. For a more grain-rich option, there’s a couscous salad with chicken, roasted butternut, pumpkin seeds and feta.
Seafood includes grilled calamari tubes, spicy prawn stacks, and hake and chips.
While it may be premature to judge the food offering (the establishment has just opened, after all), you can tell it’s going to be a people pleaser.
The team has gone to great lengths to cater to various tastes and dietary preferences, including the diet du jour: banting. Gluten-free meal options are available, as is the choice to create your own meal from a number of ingredients if you’re ordering breakfast, a burger or sarmie.
The best part is the wide selection of tapas options, from beef chipolatas and chorizo to jalapeño poppers and different traditional Mediterranean-inspired dips. What better experience could there be than to dine at a long table with friends in the open air, noshing on an array of tiny and tasty treats, while sipping something cold and refreshing?
The adequate selection of wine is decently priced. There’s everything from Porcupine Ridge and Durbanville Hills to La Motte, and Altydgedacht. Overall, it’s a well though-out liquor offering, with some signature Estrellas cocktails, bubbly cocktails and craft beers in the mix. They currently have a buy-one-get-one-free cocktail special, so tarry not.
The service is warm, efficient and thorough throughout the experience. But, as much as the superb customer service is a stand-out component of the Estrella experience, what immediately propels it to its own league is the hybrid business model – a bistro meets car wash – which means a free car wash with every meal ordered. I kid you not.
Unique touches – like a bright blue wall at the front, strategically displayed vintage collectables with feel-good aphorisms, and mismatched décor and furnishings – make Estrellas quite special. It’s a place where you feel immediately at ease and welcome, and you can tell that they’re not trying to be like any other old bistro in town.
There’s ample indoor seating for inclement weather as well as a spacious tropical pool area for hire where you can host your best party yet this year.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read more about our editorial policy here.