A unique experience combining the very best of finely crafted drinks and locally and internationally influenced food served in a laid back setting.
Take the time to enjoy a selection of different dishes with one of their delicious infused gins.
From food to drinks they’ve chosen to stay away from the usual suspects and offer you something a little different, a little out of the ordinary.
Workshop 55 does things a little differently, which can be strange at first - you pay a set amount for a total of three dishes off their food and dessert menu - these are tapas style dishes, portioned so that you can enjoy the selection rather than eat a huge heavy meal.
The food is quirky and delicious, with my absolute favourites being the ostrich, which melts in your mouth, and the decadent seafood gnocchi. The deserts are all stunning, (I can never say no to the rich, creamy dark chocolate tart, it's my weakness) and I'll admit to being tempted once or twice to skip the main meals altogether and indulge in a dessert-only feast.
Workshop 55 is also known for their gin and tonics and they have a huge variety of local and imported gins. I'm clueless about gin but the waiters are pretty good at recommending a fruit infusion and tonic water that will give you the flavours you prefer. I do like the crisp, refreshing taste of a G&T, especially on a warm summer evening but I can't drink too many (and they can be a bit pricey) so luckily they also have a good wine list that includes some bubbly if you are in the mood.
I have been to this restaurant several times with friends and family and we always have a great time. The service is intuitive and attentive, and the chef is happy to accommodate guests with stringent dietary requirements (one of my friends cannot eat gluten, dairy, eggs or beef and she still had a fabulous meal). It's one of my go-to places when you want an extra-special meal.
Seated in the empty gin bar (barring two other tables), two people in our group of 5 ordered tapas dishes. They were told they had to eat outside and that it was heated. When the food arrived after a 40 minute wait, we went outside to eat but realised "outside" was a closed veranda for smoking and unheated, despite 7 degree cold. We brought the four small dishes inside to be able to eat in normal conditions, the manager aggressively prevented this, resulting in a shouting match while the food went cold. He was extremely belligerent and made no effort to accommodate us despite an almost empty bar area. When we asked for a table in the restaurant area, he insisted on taking the food away whilst we had to wait another long while to be seated.
Finally, when the bill arrived, it emerged that we had been charged for doubles whilst singles were requested.
Dishonest, agressive staff. Avoid this place if you are looking for a pleasant evening out.
Had dinner at 55 last night.
Lovely ambiance, well designed, pleasant and attentive staff, tables & chairs sturdy and new and clean - - happy environment.
Manager/owner (gentleman with long and unruly hair that he constantly had to manage by touching it) explained the menu to us. He emphasized several times the Entrance Charge to the restaurant was R180 per person. For this, a guest can enjoy 3 dishes from the first menu. However, you can also enjoy 4 dishes from the second menu which would increase your cover charge to R220.
The idea was, according to him, to share your dishes.
My comment that I did not enjoy sharing was dismissed with "this is how we do it here" and then "if you do not like sharing, never go to Spain". Little does this man, playing with his hair know how many times I have been to Spain. The Guests at the table next to us did not enjoy the explosive reaction.
My partner commented the two menu's sounded a bit confusing upon which he commenced with hard selling the Gin they serve - it is apparently the best in the world. She informed him she only enjoyed red wine, to which he rolled his eyes. My comment that I can not take alcohol was met with the comment - "feel sorry for you".
Wholly inappropriate behaviour, I would say.
When I tried to place an order, he quickly reminded me that he "does not take orders - not his job".
Whoever this man is, he needs reminding that long hair hanging loose and constantly being touched is not good for his type of business. He should also remember to treat each client with respect and according to their tastes and requests. His attitude was "take it or leave it".
Having enjoyed this type of dining all over the world I had to compare the experience with Maze in London - what a vastly difference experience!!
The gentleman who served us was well informed and courteous and very helpful.
I did not enjoy the "hard sell" tactics, when my partner was still half done with her wine when another person - who seemed to be in charge - insisted on a "REFILL". In polite company, you would never offer to REFILL a ladies glass of wine!!
The food was good and enjoyable. The Prawn tails were not good - tasted old.
Some comment though:
- the small bowls in which the dishes were presented makes in difficult to see what is in the bowl and makes cutting awkward
- I had: Eggs and Bacon; Duck; Hake; Pork Belly and Prawns and had to eat all these dishes with the same knife and fork - surely a clean set should be provided for each dish??
- ensure that your credit card machine is connected to the system - it is rather embarrassing to have to wait whilst three members of staff are trying to sort out the connection and you want to go.
We enjoy dining out all over the world and when Johannesburg has a new restaurant we make sure to support. On balance however - I would rather not visit again - my wife feels the same.