Review: Something’s Cooking by J at Time Square Casino in Pretoria

J’Something’s restaurant at Menlyn’s new casino has been causing quite the buzz. Eat Out critic Hennie Fisher goes to check out the aptly named Something’s Cooking by J.

Fact facts

Cost: The average main course is R160

Serves: Modern fusion cuisine

Best for: Deliciously prepared, interesting and creative food, but at a premium

Star rating: Food 4, service 4, ambience 3


J’Something’s menu opens with a short summary telling the tale of how this performer ended up owning a restaurant in the Time Square casino.

The menu is thoroughly modern and features a range of international items such as a bao trio: beautifully tender and tasty steamed buns with fried chicken, pulled pork and mayo langoustines as fillings. Other starters include an heirloom tomato and candied beetroot salad; deep-fried mac ‘n cheese; torresmos (a bowl of pork crackling sprinkled with apple-sultana spice) and petiscos, a Portuguese-inspired platter with goodies such as prawn cakes, olives, presunto ham, pickled carrots, sardine paste and goat’s cheese.

Other delightful dishes include a lamb feast to share; a 200g picanha steak; deboned Portuguese chicken; and Mom’s prawns, which J says are prepared his mother’s way, with olive oil, garlic and lemon.

A delicious pork-belly ramen comes with perfectly cooked noodles, a poached egg, shredded pork and a delicious broth. There is also a Collaborations section, for which J and Hugh Masekela worked together to create a Bra Hugh Burger and The Catch, an ode to Masekela’s love of fish. Desserts include The Afroguese, which is a sweet meeting between milk tart and arroz doce (rice pudding); baked beignets; a pastel de nata cronut; flourless chocolate cake, and deep-fried apple pie.


You can order great-looking jugs of Spanish sangria or Mozambican catemba (red wine and cola) for the table, but they also have tasty signature cocktails such the Smokey CocoNana, comprising smoked and sweetened coconut water topped with soda water and dehydrated banana. There is a fairly accessible wine list that may benefit from the addition of names from smaller producers.


Although service is not yet entirely seamless, everyone is very competent, helpful and friendly. A spilled Bloody Mary is extremely efficiently dealt with and management is always on hand. You get the feeling that staff enjoy working here and are eager to be of assistance. As in most casinos, there are loads of people milling around, wandering in and out of the gambling halls and other entertainment areas, with the result that it does not feel entirely relaxed and peaceful. But perhaps visitors will soon stop gawking at the new casino and just enjoy the plentitude of great restaurants.


Sitting outside on the deck at Something’s Cooking by J, guests can see some of Pretoria East’s koppies peeping out between two of the adjacent buildings to the north. It is a big, beautiful space, and its clear-glass railings give the impression of being on the highest deck of a cruise ship, with views over the restaurant patios below. The interior of the restaurant is sparse and simplistically decorated, mostly in shades of grey, with the lack of tablecloths and minimal table clutter strengthening the informal and relaxed vibe.

Guess who is in the house? @jsomethingmusic himself and dinner prep is underway #SomethingsCookingByJ #WeServeSmiles

A post shared by Something’s Cooking by J (@somethingscookingbyj) on


Singer-turned-chef J’Something is not present on the day of our visit, but a bevy of young chefs can be seen manning the open pass, ensuring that every plate looks beautiful. The clientele is delightfully diverse and contributes to a general feeling of people out to enjoy the latest hip and trendy spot. Something’s Cooking by J would be a nice place to visit frequently for deliciously prepared, interesting and creative food – but at the moment the rather steep prices might make it a special-occasion-only restaurant for most people.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here. Have you been to Something’s Cooking by J at Time Square Casino in Menlyn, Pretoria? Tell us what you thought by writing a review. (For every review you write, Eat Out pledges a meal for a hungry child through Stop Hunger Now SA.) Write a review now.

Something sweet anyone? Todays menu testing was on the sweet side and proved to be nothing less than amazing #SomethingsCookingByJ

A post shared by Something’s Cooking by J (@somethingscookingbyj) on

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