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Sandton’s longest running café blends family heritage and history with contemporary design making for a cosy, artsy and hip space. Walnut Grove has been run as a family business in Sandton for over 30 years. When Yianni Drakopoulos handed the restaurant over to his son and daughter this January, they decided to refurbish the space. “We wanted to excite and entice our customers to visit the new Walnut Grove without losing site of the traditions, history and handiwork of our parents,” explains Elle Ruschioni, who runs the restaurant in partnership with brother Fotis Drakopoulos and their partners, Alessandra and Marco.“For Greeks and Italians eating is a social experience, a very special event that just happens to occur every day – three times a day!”, she adds. Meals here are about family, friends and sharing, a value carried through in several different dining areas, and in the platters designed for sharing.“Our food is rustic, simple, fresh, authentic and inspired by our travels to our villages in Greece and Italy,” says Elle. Salads and mezze platters are designed to share. Feeling virtous? Try one of the vibrant salads like the Casablanca salad – a green leaf salad with rocket, cous-cous, roast butternut, roast peppers, grilled halloumi, sunflower seeds, almonds, cherry tomatoes, carrots and cucumber ribbons in a pomegranate, extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinaigrette dressing, served with avocado fans and homemade-flatbread chips. Alternatively, succumb to the decadent display of cakes (our editor, Abigail, admits to indulging here). Muffins come baked in terracotta pots in every flavour from white chocolate and macadamia, to nougat and goji berry seeded bran. Natural wooden finishes contrast beautifully with translucent perspex Louis Ghost chairs in the main dining area, where a towering tree is hung with over 20 000 crystals, sourced from charity shops and antique dealers around the world.