Restaurant News

THE NAKED KITCHEN AND COFFEE BAR IN SANDTON CITY IS A VEGAN’S DREAM

12 JUNE 2019

 

They have an assortment of vegan milkshakes to try from.

Naked Kitchen and Coffee Bar

With the soaring number of vegan cafes opening in the food hubs of Johannesburg, you barely have to venture far for your hourly fix of conscious consumption. You can have your pick of boutique, beautifully decorated cafes and gourmet coffee shops that pride themselves on craftsmanship and championing the superfood trend.

The Naked Kitchen and Coffee Bar is a trendy gourmet deli and coffee concept in Morningside, and the brainchild of Shaun Els and Victor Barbosa – the pair behind Naked Coffee, which started in Melrose Arch. This comfy, casual, cool and contemporary coffee office just opened up another branch in Sandton City Shopping Mall, and it makes vegan food that’s is so good, you can literally taste its integrity.

Try a selection of the Naked Cubanos which is a Latin American inspired toasted sandwich filled with a variety of meat, cheeses, pickles and mustard.

Millennials are the most frequent customers at this upmarket establishment as the Naked Kitchen appeals to several scruples this generation shares and refuses to compromise on, such as a menu with variety, convenience, the ability to experiment with different food without needing culinary experience, quality, freshness, an appropriate focu on coffee – and of course, food lovingly and respectfully prepared from carefully sourced ingredients.

It is undeniably one of those shopping mall restaurants quiet enough to actually get some work done and still trendy enough for people to be quietly impressed at how you spend your work days. The decor is clean, and reminiscent of a European style – fusing wood and copper table tops. One of the Naked Kitchen’s finest traits is that is is incredibly Instagrammable. It’s filled with natural light and a constant stream of fresh air. The moment you walk in, you’re immediately compelled by the social media Gods to post what you’re eating and drinking. It is photogenic, and in this day and age a photogenic restaurant is just as important as having a delicious menu.

Their menu is comprised of an ever-changing assortment of offerings in proper delicatessen style – with more gluten-free friendly options. You haven’t really been to Naked unless you’ve tried their signature brown butter banana bread with almond butter on the side. It’s not too moist, or too spongy – it has the perfect texture and the almond butter brings out the bananas natural flavors. If you have a gluten intolerance, a great substitute is the date, banana and walnut bread with almond butter.

Naked Coffee isn’t like the stereotypical mall-restaurants we’re used to.

Ingenuity is always key when working with a summertime meal like this one, and they’ve nailed it. Another one of the trending topics of Naked’s menu is the acai berry. Acai is a superberry which originates from the Amazon rainforest. Ths bright purple berry is eaten raw because of its richness in antioxidants, but more importantly, it is hailed as the number one superfood in the world as it is high in omegas and low in sugar.

Try the Naked Acai Bowl with acai, banana and mixed berries blended with almond milk, buckwheat, Naked’s signature muesli and seasonal fruit for an invigorating boost.

Restaurant News

VASCO’S RESTAURANT INTRODUCES NEW CURRIES TO IT’S ‘CURRY UP’ EVENINGS

12 JUNE 2019

 

Vasco’s Restaurant introduces new curries to its ‘curry cup’ evenings

Warming, wholesome and delicately spiced curry makes the perfect comfort food at any time of the year.

This past weekend we took our taste buds on a tour through a variety of new and exciting curry dishes from Vasco’s Restaurant at Hilton Durban. The new additions were introduced at their ‘curry cup’ evening and we have to admit, we enjoyed every moment.

Curry Cup is a new concept similar to the Flavours of the East evenings the restaurant hosted last year. So whether you want to do your Indian attire or go casual-the one thing that remains constant is the delicious, authentic Indian meals on offer.

We tucked into the curries, from prawn masala, chicken tikka masala angara, shubnam curry which is a vegetable curry and lamb masala served with rice or naan.

The curries are prepared by Tandaroo Chef, Anis Ahmed and change every week. At R280pp, there’s plenty of options.

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Prawn

The prawn masala, is very similar to Sri Lankan style curry, with a very thick sauce with tomato base and fill flavour of richness.

This is prepared with tomato, onion, peppers, garlic, green chilli, turmeric, garam masala, jeera, dhania and mint and this was definitely the high of the evening.

This is a simple, delicious dish that can be paired with rice or roti. It is packed with flavour and most ingredients used are those great spices we expect in Indian cuisine.

Chicken

Angara, means the red burning charcoal , this is where the name comes from. Meaning that the chicken should be cooked to the same colour as the flaming hot charcoal.

Chicken is marinated in a tandoori masala for three hours, after this it is cooked in the tandoori clay oven. This is then served in a sauce prepared with a mixture of Chef Anis secret spice, green pepper, onion tomato and yoghurt.

Lamb

Lamb is a great dish, as it’s got such a distinct flavour and definitely one best. Chef Anis used some finely diced vegetables to prepare the sauce to add a different depth in the sauce. Especially due to the fact that people do not eat as much vegetable as they should this is a great way to incorporate in to the daily meal plan.

Vegetable

Here the chef used mushrooms, chick peas and bell peppers.This is a light tomato based curry, with added spices of nutmeg, ginger, garlic, chilli powder, masala and a dollop of yoghurt before serving which adds to the freshness of the dish.

Restaurant News

THE POT LUCK CLUB HAS A POP-UP RESTAURANT IN JOZI.

12 JUNE 2019

 

Chinese style pork rib with dark beer and doenjang glaze.

The Pot Luck Club is an award-winning  favourite with food  lovers in Cape Town. 

Owner Luke  Dale-Roberts decided to spread  his culinary tentacles to Gauteng  with The Pop Luck Club, a pop-up  restaurant at The Marabi Club in  the vibrant Maboneng precinct.

Dale-Roberts took Pot Luck  Club head chef Frederico Dias on  this gastronomic journey. 

The Pot Luck Club Head Chef Freddie Dias & Luke Dale-Roberts.

Dias revealed how the small-plate  dining came to Jozi. “I  pitched the idea to Luke and he  had already heard about a venue  that could work. He met Dale de  Ruig, an old high school friend of  mine, who was opening a jazz bar  in Maboneng, The Marabi Club.”

“The response has been  positive. I always knew this  would do well in Joburg, being a  Joburger myself.”

When it came to settling on a  menu, he added: “It is basically  The Pot Luck Club menu but  smaller.”

Churros with tonka and melted chocolate, pop corn shake and miso and orange cheese cake with pretzel crumb.

They wanted the menu to complement the ambiance:  “There are two dishes we  designed for the Pop Up.”   The mouthwatering additions are fresh fish crudo with g ranadilla-tiger’s milk, sea bass  with tiger’s milk made from the  offcuts of the fish, onions, ginger,  chilli and finished with fresh  granadilla; and a classic Cuban  sandwich with ibérico ham, roast  potato, Raclette cheese sauce and  a strong apple mustard spread over the bread, topped with  pickled carrot, cucumber and  smoked jalapeño.”

The Pop Luck Club runs until the end of August.It is open 6pm to 10pm on Thursday to Saturday and from noon to 3.30pm on Sunday. To book, mail: thepotluckclub@marabijazz. com

 

Restaurant News

REVIEW: SPIGA IS BACK. BUT DOES IT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

06 JUNE 2019

 

Spiga D’oro has been a fixture in the Durban culinary scene for many years, so when they closed their doors in March 2018, there was an out pour of sadness from loyal patrons.

In the months that followed, pizza and pasta lovers kept their ears to the ground in the hopes of hearing information about the possibility of a new restaurant, but to no avail. 

Until, at the end of January when Spiga announced on their Instagram page that they would be re-opening. With this news, I took the first opportunity I could to visit – last Sunday after 1pm, just in time for lunch.

Upon arrival, we (myself and two friends) were greeted with a warm welcome, but told that there would be an hour long wait to be seated. Presently, Spiga only takes walk-in customers and no reservations. So, we added a name and cell phone number to the waiting list and passed time by walking the perimeter of Mitchell Park and stopping for ice-cream on Florida Road.

A little over an hour later, we were seated inside the swarming restaurant. After overhearing delighted customers showering waitrons with praise, I was eager to look at the menu. 

Taking in the new and unfamiliar venue, it’s certainly missing some of its old charm. Maybe it’s the freshly painted grey and white walls that are void of much decoration, but there isn’t yet that “lived in” appeal that gives you a sense that this is a place where memories are made. That being said, they’ve started up another graffiti wall, just like the one that featured in their Florida Road eatery, and it’s already amassed a liberal scattering of ‘welcome back’ messages, my favourite being: “There are many impastas, but only one Spiga”. This, combined with the familiar smell of authentic Italian food wafting through the air, brings a sense of homeliness and nostalgia that are both gradually building on the premises. 

As for the food, Durbanites will be happy to know that the menu is still the same – so everything you know and love is sure to be there. 

For starters, our table shared the Pommodoro Bruschetta (R35). Diced sweet and juicy, tomatoes atop three grilled, crusty slices of bread with garlic, basil, and a little olive oil. The favour and freshness was perfect for a sweltering summer’s day and we quickly polished off every morsel. 

I was most excited about trying the Penne Romano (R70) – a reliable and old favourite of mine. It arrived, like all the other dishes to come, piled neatly in the centre of a deep plate. The pasta was perfectly al dente, coated in a rich napoli and cream sauce with a hint of chilli and garlic, finished with a generous dusting of sharp parmesan cheese on top. It tasted just as I remembered – delicious. My only wish was for there to be more mushrooms in the sauce as they greatly add to the overall flavour, which was as a result, lacking something.

We ordered two gnocchi based main courses, the Gnocchi Gorgonzola (R85) and Gnocchi Alla Luca (R75). Both were tossed in velvety sauces that clung to the generous portions of pillowy Italian dumplings. The Alla Luca is a simple blend of napoli, cream and mozzarella. The rich tomato flavour cuts the fattiness of the cream so that it’s not at all overwhelming, however I felt it needed the addition of garlic and chilli to take it to the next level. With every bite, I enjoyed seeing the strands of melted cheese drip from my fork, a reminder of how decadent this dish is. As for the final entrée, the sauce was full-flavoured and strong with slightly more texture than the Alla Luca. Made from only mature gorgonzola and cream, you’ll savour every mouthful, but definitely want to share.   

Although we enjoyed our meals, we felt that more could be done to add to the atmosphere of the venue to create a fuller experience. Nevertheless, I feel that we can expect more great things in the future, when the management and staff firmly embed their roots in the new location.

Once the hustle and bustle that comes with the excitement of a newly reopened, and well loved restaurant dulls down, we look forward to coming back to try out more. 

Their new location is on 465 Innes Road (next door to Charlies) and operating hours are from 12pm to 10pm, closed on Mondays.