Restaurant News


14 JUNE 2019


Joburg boasts some amazing coffee shops and cafes, each with a unique offering; adding to those is The Tree Garden, which recently opened.

Founded by 21-year-old Amanda Jojo, The Tree Garden coffee shop offers a variety of coffees filter, French press, Turkish, cappuccinos and espressos.

The coffee shop also offers different teas (normal tea fruit infusions and ice tea), confectionery, dairy free ice-cream, fresh juices, pastries, salad and other gluten free food.

Born in Joburg, Jojo said The Tree Garden is something very close to her heart and it’s been a dream that came to reality about two year ago.

I love coffee so much. I really like great quality coffee and I judge coffee a lot, so it*s been my dream to have a place where I can get to have coffee as much as I can and also share that coffee experience with a lot of people.

Also the most important thing is to let people know that there is no right way to have coffee; that is why we have a large variety of coffees on our menu, and therefore I thought the coffee and tea business is what I need to do in order to get the aforementioned.

I feel like coffee makes you feel great while tea makes you calm and relaxed. I love the peace both beverages come with,§ she said.

Explaining the meaning behind The Tree Garden, Jojo says there are many trees in their garden and they wanted to highlight that they were a tea and coffee house, so the two combinations sounded much nicer and unique.

She said at The Tree Garden they were dedicated to sourcing the best coffee and tea.

Our tea is from Toni Glass Collection which is a remarkable infusion of both tradition and new-age tea drinking sourced from all corners of the world We also have House Blend from Earthen Coffee roasters, blended different African origins, Kenyan coffee from BLK which is obviously a Kenyan origin roasted here in Centurion by a black owned roastery,” said Jojo.

As part of the plans for The Tree Garden, Jojo said she would like to get into the delivery scene where their neighbours could order coffee or tea while they are at home or at the office; and also looking at introducing more food to their menu he said her favourite tea had to be the fruit infusion without milk but with two sugars, and her favourite coffee was the ice coffee or a good cappuccino with sugar.

The Tree Garden coffee shop is situated in 26 Swart Drive, President Park in Midrand.

Restaurant News


13 JUNE 2019


The City of Gold’s iconic member’s club now features a public bistro boasting a fuss-free à la carte menu

The Rand Club’s sweeping wooden bar still holds the accolade of the longest bar in Africa.

Founded in 1887 in Joburg’s heady gold rush days, the Rand Club is one of the city’s most enduring social institutions – and one of its most beautiful heritage buildings from the Edwardian era.

Up until just a few months ago, the club was open to members only, retaining an air of exclusivity that has endured over the past 100-odd years. Non-members lucky enough to visit during a private tour would get a glimpse of the grand interior with its sweeping wooden staircase, plush carpets, rich antiques and artworks.

After realising the club needed another strategy to remain sustainable – especially after a fire in 2005 damaged much of the top floor – events management company Masiwela Management began renting out parts of the club for weddings and private events a few years ago.

The latest development to this is a restaurant that opened to the public at the beginning of March, in partnership with French Corner Catering.

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Located in the downstairs main bar, the elegant space is framed by large stained-glass windows and a sweeping wooden bar – which still holds the accolade of the longest bar in Africa.

Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s bistro menu offers light meals – from wraps and salads to more substantial dishes like pork skewers, line fish, burgers and good old bangers and mash.

“The focus is on an easy, uncomplicated à la carte menu that’s accessible to the general public but still appeals to existing members,” says Brandon Clifford, the club’s business development director.

Once the restaurant is more established, there are plans for a seasonal menu and smaller snack menus to accompany after-work drinks in the cigar lounge and ladies lounge.

As has been the case since it was first built, the Rand Club is the perfect location for business meetings, which makes it perfect for surrounding banks and corporates – whether they use it for client lunches or business meetings over drinks after the working day is over.

While the main bar and other downstairs rooms are open to the public, upstairs venues such as the ballroom, library and the billiards room are still strictly reserved for members only.

“This is an iconic building that we hope will attract people wanting a really authentic experience,” says Brandon.

Perhaps no other venue in Joburg better epitomises the glamour of the city’s early gold rush days, and now with its wider accessibility, even more Joburg residents can enjoy it.

Restaurant News

High tea at 54 on Bath is a lavish experience

13 JUNE 2019


High tea at Level Four on 54 on Bath, Rosebank, Joburg

While the glacial temperatures are steering many of us towards coffee shops and their decadent desserts, high tea is a fitting alternative. A wonderful indulgence in summer or winter, although I prefer it in the latter season.

I recently grabbed a friend to enjoy high tea at Level Four on 54 on Bath, Rosebank, Joburg. Food critics have been raving about it. Despite being half an hour late, we were promptly escorted to a cosy table next to the fireplace at the restaurant.

There were mostly large groups, with couples scattered about, partaking in the high tea. The waiter gave us an overview of what to expect while placing a long stemmed glass of iced tea and amuse-bouche before us.

Next came the tea options. Just a quick side note here: tea used to be a medicinal drink until the Chinese Tang dynasty helped popularise it as a recreational drink, which then caught on in other East Indian countries and Europe.

The menu came with several options: 1837 White Tea, Lung Ching, Jasmine Pearls, Silver Moon, French Earl Grey, 1837 Black Tea and Red of Africa. Each option is accompanied by a brief description. And you can try them all, if you want.

Partial to Earl Grey, I gravitated towards my closest option while my friend, who isn’t a tea drinker, opted for a fruit juice instead.

Spoilt for choice we were, with the savoury to sweet options placed before us. The spread comprised spinach and feta as well as smoked salmon and broccoli quiches.

The treats are brought to you on a three-tier stand. The dessert options – opera cake with gold leaf, orange posset with silver moon foam, white chocolate and raspberry jelly, beetroot and rooibos cake with lemon frosting and a sugar cinnamon doughnut with Earl Grey creme and honey comb – were at the top. I sampled several of them.

My friend and I were sold on the doughnut, though.

Tier two was laden with a mix of savoury and sweet scones. Both were baked to perfection, tasted delicious and boasted that perfect golden crumble.

The bottom section was filled with a mix of sandwiches on fresh crostini. The options were: smoked salmon with horseradish cream, whipped brie and sun-dried tomato as well as roast beef.

To say that we were completely stuffed when we left is an understatement. But we managed to exit as gracefully as we arrived until we got into the car where garments had to be loosened a tad.

Now I understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to having high tea at Level Four. The personalised touch makes guests feel special. The staff are most pleasant.

My only suggestion would be for the waiters to clear the plates more often – I hate eating off a messy plate, especially when trying out different treats.

That said, the high tea here is an ideal way to celebrate a special occasion or to simply bond with family, friends or both!

Restaurant News


13 JUNE 2019


Chef Kobus van der Merwe poses for a portrait at the Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster.

His eatery in remote South Africa has won renown as the world’s first Restaurant of the Year, but chef Kobus van der Merwe insists fame will change nothing. 

“When I saw the other nominees in that list I actually had a giggle, because I thought we were so out of our league,” smiled Van der Merwe, 38, who did not begin to cook seriously until he was 30.  

Unlike many competitors at last week’s inaugural World Restaurant Awards, a seven-course tasting menu at Wolfgat costs about R830 — a fraction of what you’d pay at a top Paris table.  

Van der Merwe also forages every day for ingredients on the wild  Atlantic shore near his restaurant at Paternoster, and makes his own bread and butter.  

“I checked my emails and I was like, OK — there’s actually an official communication letting us know we have been nominated. 

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So, we had like no clue, absolutely no clue,” said Van der Merwe.

Entrance to the Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster.

The restaurant’s humble setting in the Western Cape, and Van der Merwe’s belief in sustainable, back-to-basics cooking, won the hearts of judges in the French capital, who named it Restaurant of the Year.

The former journalist, who can feed only 20 people at a sitting, told AFP: “We were all sort of finding our feet at the beginning.” – ‘Not going to change anything’ – “I was in that tiny little kitchen doing all the cooking and we were all serving so we sort of figured it out together,” he said wearing a pristine white shirt and black apron alongside a long beard and curly hair.

But the award “is not going to change anything about the scale that Wolfgat operates on,” he said.

“The scale that we do (is) sustainable — and that’s what works for us,” he said.

Van der Merwe vowed not to increase prices despite his new-found fame.

“It’s a golden ratio, between the amount of people we serve, what we can collect from the wild, what the team (can do) and the size of the building it’s comfortable with.”

Diners on Wolfgat’s thatch-covered terrace are offered small dishes including Saldanha bay mussels served with cauliflower and dune celery alongside bream presented with sorghum, snoek roe and wild sage.

But for all of the rugged allure of his remote sea-view eatery, Van der Merwe does face challenges not experienced by leading chefs in major cities elsewhere.

“Sometimes, it’s like cooking in a disaster area, we have load-shedding (power-cuts) and no water because the local reservoir has run out.

But those are challenges we have to work around,” he said. “It sort of makes you creative… we just cook the bread in the fire.

Often guests walk in and they want to switch on the bathroom light and I’m like, ‘Sorry, we have no power’.”