REVIEW: A LESSON IN URBANOLOGI

Let's Eat!, Reviews

I was fortunate enough to be invited to try out Urbanologi‘s new winter menu this past Saturday and my was it amazing!

urbanology logo

THE RESTAURANT

Urbanologi is an Asian Fusion restaurant situated at the 1 Fox Precinct in Ferreirasdorp, Johannesburg and is based inside the Mad Giant Brewery. Together, they work alongside each other to come up with flavours that make for the perfect food and beer (or wine) pairing combinations for patrons to enjoy.

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THE FOOD & DRINKS

We tasted six dishes either pairing it with the recommendation on the menu or with a drink recommended to us by our waiter.

1. Tempura Shimejii Mushroom with tamarind dressing and butternut purée paired with Mad Giant Electric Light Weiss

The butternut puree and tamarind dressing was very yummy. I was particularly fond of the tamarind dressing with it’s sweet/sour undertones. It definitely adds a little something extra to the dish.

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Tempura Shimejii Mushroom with tamarind dressing and butternut purée paired with Mad Giant Electric Light Weiss

 

2. Marjoram Cured Lamb Rib Kushiyaki served with fresh oak wood teriyaki and roast apple paired with Mad Giant Electric Light Weiss

The meat was tender and soft- always a good thing!

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Marjoram Cured Lamb Rib Kushiyaki served with fresh oak wood teriyaki and roast apple paired with Mad Giant Electric Light Weiss

 

3. Gamefish Tataki with orange, nori, sesame emulsion and pork crackling paired with gin and tonic

This entire dish just works. The citrus undertones are amazing. We paired it with Gin and Tonic, which is not a recommendation on the menu but the lime from the gin blended right in. Definitely a pairing to try!

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Gamefish Tataki with orange, nori, sesame emulsion and pork crackling paired with gin and tonic 

 

4. Heirloom Baby Carrots with star anise and orange blossom labneh and kumquat marmalade paired with Boschendal Chardonnay

This one is said to be quite popular so I just had to try it. What stands out for me with this dish is the liquorice and citrus undertones throughout. It literally tasted like the orange coloured liquorice sweet – yum yum yum!

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Heirloom Baby Carrots with star anise and orange blossom labneh and kumquat marmalade paired with Boschendal Chardonnay

 

5. Coal Fired Broccoli with smoked Gorgonzola cream and broccoli gremolata paired with Boschendal Chardonnay

This one was the best! You wouldn’t expect much from it but dynamite definitely comes in small packages. Words actually cannot describe how amazing the broccoli and gorgonzola cream tastes. For me, the entire dish is just so warm and hearty and, if mash was on the menu, it would be so amazing if it were topped on some mash alongside a yummy piece of steak. Hope this one stays on the menu FOREVER!

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Coal Fired Broccoli with smoked Gorgonzola cream and broccoli gremolata paired with Boschendal Chardonnay

 

6. Ginger Malva with like leaf ice-cream and popcorn soil paired with Hanepoot

I’m not really one for desserts but this one was good. The lime and ginger works so well together and when paired with the Hanepoot, another recommendation from our waiter, it just takes this dessert to another level.

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Ginger Malva with like leaf ice-cream and popcorn soil paired with Hanepoot

 

THE BREWERY

I was taken through the brewery as well. Definitely something to try just to give you some insight into the process the beer goes through before it gets to us – and, even better, it’s really not that expensive!

 

SERVICE

Last time I went there (or tried to) the service was very disappointing. We stood at the door and no one even paid attention to us and that was just a let down for me so we left and sat in the Mad Giant Beer Garden instead. This time around, the service was awesome. Our waiter was so sweet and friendly and always made sure the table was cleared and ready for the next dish. I can’t really say if this is how the service usually is or whether it was just because of who I was with, hehehe.

 

PRICES

It’s not that pricey but you definitely have to have some cash if you want to taste a wide variety of items on the menu. Even if you do find the pricing to be quite high, it’s definitely worth it.

 

RATING

10/10! Very hard to get this from me. The last time I had food this good was at La Colombe. Thumbs up to the chef and brewers for amazing food, amazing beer and overall amazing pairings. Can’t wait to try the rest of the menu. A special shout out to Eben! The time there was amazing.

 

Have you been to Urbanologi? How did you find the menu and the service? Did you love it or absolutely hate it? Let me know!

 

 

REVIEW: BUTCHER BLOCK STEAKHOUSE – NOM NOM NOM

Let's Eat!, Reviews

Since I’m always on the hunt for a good steak, I decided to pop into Butcher Block Steakhouse at Mall of the South…

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[PICTURE COURTESY OF safranchisebrands.co.za]

THE RESTAURANT
Butcher Block was founded in 2003 by Manuel Savic and has branches across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

THE SETUP
I went to the branch at the Mall of the South. I personally just don’t like the setup of the restaurants at this mall so I don’t quite like the setup of the Butcher Block restaurant either. When I went it was just after lunch so it wasn’t that full but seems like it could get quite crammed on a busy day.

SERVICE
The host there is great. Friendly and attentive. But the only time I saw my waiter was when she took order, brought my food, took my plate once I was done and when I had to call her to get the bill. She didn’t check up on me once. The host did, however, which I appreciated.

FOOD & DRINKS
I ordered their lunch special which is a 200g rump steak with chips and a glass of Wolftrap wine for R59. I ordered a side of mushroom sauce for my steak as well – I absolutely love mushroom sauce. When my food arrived my chips were cold. It definitely would’ve been nicer if it arrived hot. The meat was good – soft, tender, good quality and done to perfection. The mushroom sauce was great – thick and creamy. The 200g rump steak with a side is usually R115. I’m not sure if I enjoyed my meal enough to pay the usual price for this though.

For the wine lovers out there, their wine list is quite extensive so that’s a thumbs up!

With regards to their overall menu, their Butchers Choice steak toppings and their selection of burgers sound absolutely amazing.

They also have a wide selection of sauces and starters – the starter I really want to try is the black mushrooms topped with cream spinach, garlic sauce oven baked with mature cheddar, mozzarella and feta cheese. Chicken livers are in the mix once again so I really gotta try these things, hehe! They also have a wide selection of combos and includes something for every kind of appetite which is rare. I’m not into desserts but they do sound yummy.

Their land & sea, poultry and salad options didn’t really catch my eye.

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200g Rump steak with chips & mushroom sauce and a glass of Wolftrap wine

RATING
6.5/10. They haven’t quite grabbed me yet with this one meal so I think I need to test the rest of the menu before I up this score. The service also wasn’t the best. I would try them out again, perhaps not to Mall of the South.

REVIEW: Aarya – What a disappointment

Let's Eat!, Reviews

I’ve been looking forward to trying out Aarya at Montecasino for a very long time and we finally did last night!

aarya

[PICTURE COURTESY OF Tsogo Sun]

THE RESTAURANT
Aarya, located at Montecasino, Fourways is run by South Africa’s first MasterChef SA winner, Deena Naidoo. It’s open daily from 06h30 – 22h30.

THE FOOD & DRINKS
When you think about Masterchef something very specific comes to mind, i.e. food that is awesomely tasty and a menu that is mouth-watering just hearing or reading about it.

Sadly, that was not the feeling I got reading through the menu. I felt the menu was rather limited and bland and I actually took a really long time to decide what I actually wanted to eat. We finally ordered the grilled salmon on vegetable and mash stack with roasted cherry tomatoes, rocket, pesto and balsamic drizzle and char-grilled bbq basted pork ribs with a side of fries.

When my salmon arrived, something didn’t seem right. It was supposed to be salmon on vegetable and mash stack – the salmon was only placed on green beans and I received no mash. The mash was then brought separately after we asked about it and we were then told that even though the menu says it’s a stack, the mash actually comes separately. I think the mash actually serves no purpose being served on the side. The mash was not nice at all. It tasted very buttery. The green beans had no seasoning, at least no seasoning that I could taste and although the rocket, tomatoes, pesto and balsamic drizzle was probably supposed to give some give some flavour to the fish, I don’t think it really adds anything to the dish.

From the taste I had of the ribs, I didn’t really enjoy it. The meat on the ribs from John Dory’s tastes better. The basting was tasty though.

They have a very limited beer selection (SA beers, Peroni and Windhoek). They did, however, have a wide selection of wines and cocktails.

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Char-grilled BBQ basted pork ribs with a side of fries

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Grilled salmon on vegetable and mash stack with roasted cherry tomatoes, rocket, pesto and balsamic drizzle

PRICING
Prices range from R55 – R220. If I enjoyed the food I’d say it’s worth the price.

THE SERVICE & AMBIENCE
The service was terrible.

The restaurant wasn’t busy at all but our waiter, although he checked up on us, he was never around when we actually needed him. Our table had no serviettes. A table or two away from us was dirty for the duration of our meal (they left before we had even received our food) and another table had not even been set again once cleared. We also weren’t given a steak knife for the ribs and our cutlery on our table was not matched up accordingly.

The ambience isn’t really anything to rave about but then again it was a quiet night. The music was ok – not what I expected them to play though.

RATING
1/10. Probably won’t go back.

Have you been to Aarya? What did you think?

REVIEW: #WINENOT

Reviews
Picture courtesy of Wine Not Pop Up Bar

Picture courtesy of Wine Not Pop Up Bar

I’ve been hearing about this Wine Not thing for quite some time but I’d either heard about it after it’s passed or heard about it when we had already made other plans.

Last week I FINALLY saw it in my Facebook Events stream so we thought, why not? Let’s go!

THE EVENT

Wine Not is a pop up bar currently hosted at Levelthree Premium Venue in Kramerville, Sandton on the last Friday of each month. Here, you can order your selection of wines, beers, spirits, coolers and select foods as well as party up a storm in this pop up bar/up-market lounge/club. For those who like live music, there’s a live band too! Business casual is the preferred dress code.

 

PRICE

Tickets are available at the door only.

Tickets are R100p.p before 19:00 (with a complimentary glass of wine upon arrival) and R150p.p thereafter. There are two available ticket options: “normal” tickets (general access) and premium access tickets (“VIP” access).

The price for these two tickets are exactly the same but premium access ticket holders have their own section inside. Trust me… these premium tickets are the tickets you want to get! They guarantee you some place to sit if you can’t make it there when the doors open at 16:00.

Premium tickets also need to be “pre-booked” by emailing info@wine-not.co.za.

 

VENUE

This pop up bar is currently hosted at Levelthree Premium Venue in Kramerville, Sandton. The venue is a decent piece of real estate but, personally, I’m not too amped up about the area it’s situated in. On arrival, there is parking lot and street parking available.

The venue has an inside section, which can unfortunately get a bit crammed and a balcony, which has a stunning view of the Sandton skyline. There is seating both inside and on the balcony.

You probably don’t want to be on the balcony in winter. We, unfortunately, had to brave the cold outside because it was way too packed inside. Although there were 1 or 2 gas heaters outside, a suggestion would be to get those fire heaters used by Social On Main.

Bars are available both inside and outside. Food is only available inside.

Although a decently sized venue, I think it has reached it’s capacity with the amount of people who attend and the amount of people it is able to cater to. At 19:30 they sent out a message on their Facebook page saying:

The venue is currently at capacity and we will let more guests in as soon as we are able to. Depending on where you are in the queue it is about 30 minutes to 1 hour wait.

 

FOOD & DRINKS

Although this is a wine event, if wine’s not your thing there are beers, spirits and coolers available. Beverage prices are not too far off from the usual restaurant prices. The complimentary glass of wine on arrival definitely gets a thumbs up.

There’s a select food menu available made up of a cheese platter and a selection of sliders. I really don’t think the size of the portion is worth it’s price. Prices ranged between R80 – R120.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

From what we could hear from the band, they were quite cool. I love South African live music so much so that as long as there is a band there, I’m happy!

 

EXPERIENCE

I think if we were able to be there when its doors opened we would have probably been able to get decent seating inside but it was way too packed when we got there. We just kinda hovered around and eventually found our way to the balcony.

View? Amazing. Weather? Not so amazing. We were FREEZING and had to stand for some time before a table eventually opened up.

As the night progressed the balcony became a bit crammed too, unfortunately.

 

RATING

Small, overly priced food portions. Crammed venue. Cold weather (but obviously the event organisers cant control this). Great live music. 6/10

 

Perhaps not an event to scratch off the list just yet. That balcony and a beautiful summer’s evening may be just what the experience needs to get the rating to a 7/10.

 

Leanne

xxx

REVIEW: Little Italy

Reviews

This past weekend, we were in the mood for a pizza but really didn’t want to go to the usual pizzerias because, let’s face it, we know their menus off by heart and they have become a little unexciting.

So, we thought let’s try something new! And how much more newer can it get than NOT heading out to a mall, to the usual, but rather heading to a restaurant set up in a suburban area in the South of Johannesburg. We ended up at Little Italy. Little Italy has literally been set up in a home that has been transformed into a restaurant!

Dodgy, I know. Even I was skeptical. But, boy, did it surprise me!

 

THE RESTAURANT

Little Italy is a family-owned Portuguese/Italian restaurant in Glenanda in the South of Johannesburg serving authentic Italian dishes, and other favourites, with its menu ranging across pizza, pasta, meat, seafood and even sushi.

It’s situated in a quiet area with parking available on the sidewalks outside the restaurant (security is available). The restaurant setup is cosy – with an outside (smoking) seating area with a white screen and projector perfect for game nights as well as inside seating. We weren’t there when it was busy so I can’t really comment on how busy it can really get. But the atmosphere was relaxing.

 

THE FOOD

If you’re looking for different, homely and hearty then this menu is just for you! There’s a little bit of something for everyone and even though we had our doubts about whether the pizza we ordered would actually taste great, it exceeded our expectations. So I would definitely consider going back to try something else. Some garlic and parmesan would, however, have been a great pairing with our pizza. But we were just given chillies and hot sauce. We were a little disappointed by this.

We also caught a glimpse of their desserts and they looked yummy!

[PICTURE COURTESY OF LEANNE PLATO]

Quattro Formaggi pizza [PICTURE COURTESY OF LEANNE PLATO]

PRICING

The pricing is really not too bad. It’s actually on-par with well-known franchises.

 

THE SERVICE

Unfortunately, the service was to some extent disappointing. We weren’t really greeted with a friendly smile when we got there and when we were ready to order our waiter wasn’t around. Despite not being busy, the food also took quite some time. Perhaps, I can let it slide since it was not a fast-food restaurant but if you are starving, as we were, it’s probably best not to go here.

They do kinda make up for it with palette cleansers when you leave: shooters (hopefully this is an ALWAYS)! We had the most amazing milk tart flavoured shooter. 3 days later I am actually still craving it. So, thumbs up there.

 

RATING

Great food. Great atmostphere. Bad service (unfortunately, lost me there). 7/10

 

Leanne

xxx