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!

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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!

 

 

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BEER SCHOOL WITH BEERHOUSE AND MAD GIANT

Meet Me At The Bar

Beerhouse, in partnership with local craft beer breweries, often host a series of free Beer School sessions where attendees are offered a free beer tasting and discussion session with the respective brewery for that week’s session. Beer School was hosted by Mad Giant three weeks ago (yes, I know it’s late) with their brewer, Eben.

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[PICTURE COURTESY OF Beerhouse Fourways Facebook page]

ABOUT MAD GIANT
The meaning of the name Mad Giant can be broken into two: ‘Mad’ refers to a person and ‘Giant’ refers to a dream; put it together and the name embodies the idea about people pursuing their dreams. The name is represented by a giant with one eye and this symbolises the founder’s take on a dream, i.e. It might be scary, unrealistic and awkward but you should always keep one eye on the prize no matter what. This speaks quite closely to the founder’s own life. He’s always dreamed of making beer so he finally started Mad Giant three years ago, eventually opening up his own brewery in the Johannesburg CBD last year.

 

ABOUT THE BEER
1. Guzzler – 4.8% ABV

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This is an easy drinking Pilsner. It’s very dark in colour, malty and not as bitter as the usual Pilsners. It’s dry hopped and even though this is more expensive, it does make the beer more enjoyable.

VERDICT: I really enjoyed this one actually. It’s probably that honey and subdued lemon undertones.

 

2. Electric Light – 4.5% ABV

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This is Mad Giant’s Weiss beer, which is also their top selling beer. It’s the lightest beer in terms of alcohol and bitterness. Mad Giant’s Weiss is unfiltered because they believe this not only gives the beer a more creamier texture but also livens it up. Their Weiss is also quite dry compared to others but this makes it more drinkable. It has very light clove and banana aromas, with hints of pineapple more prominent when tasting it.

VERDICT: I don’t really enjoy Weiss beers. I did, however, enjoy the banana aromas. Can you maybe use it to give a twist to a lager?

 

3. Killer Hop – 5.0% ABV

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This is their Pale Ale. It has hints of litchi, grapefruit and is quite sweet since they’ve toned down the bitterness to make it more drinkable for our climate. It also works well in Summer because it’s easily drinkable. Just like their Pilsner it’s also dry hopped.

VERDICT: I didn’t really enjoy. That’s just because I don’t like ales.

 

4. Urban Legend – 5.5% ABV

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Urban Legend is their American Pale Ale (IPA). IPAs are usually more bitter and more hoppy with a high ABV. Theirs is unfiltered so this assists in not ruining the flavour. They specifically use various ‘tricks’ in their brewing process so that it doesn’t taste too bitter and maintains strong hints of banana, florals, citrus and sweetness. Although the usual ABV is 5.5%, the batch we tasted was 6%.

VERDICT: Even though I usually don’t like ales of any kind and found it very fruity, I enjoyed it. Definitely those hints of banana again. Smells great!

 

5. True Grit – 5.0% ABV

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True Grit is Mad Giant’s Amber Ale. It’s an American Amber Ale but it’s not as hoppy. It’s a roasted malt, visible by its colour. It has hints of caramel, chocolate and coffee. The beer’s name is inspired by his dad, who truly embodies the meaning behind having true grit. His dad always dreamed of flying and having his own plane but never had the money to do so. He finally got some plans together and got started on building his own plane. This took 9 years. Once completed the pilot inspected the plane, they took it out for a ‘test drive’ and while they were up in the air the engine died – they had to make an emergency landing and dropped. The injuries left his dad hospitalised for two months. When he got out, he tried version two! The moral of story is follow your dreams and have the balls to try and try again.

VERDICT: Liked this one!

 

TOP TIPS FROM THE BREWER

  • IPAs usually don’t sell that well in South Africa. In America, however, it outsells Lagers because it tends to be more fruitier than the IPA’s made in South Africa.  We, unfortunately, can’t make ours as fruity as theirs because the hops needed for that are more expensive since you’re getting it from America.
  • How to taste beer: Swirl, don’t dive in. Lightly swing passed nose. 1 second sniff. Cover glass with one hand and swirl then do two second sniff. Then drink beer and exhale through nose (this is called ‘retro nasal’).
  • A Weiss is referred to as a breakfast beer by Germans.
  • Beer on tap always tastes better and is much more fresher than bottled beer. This is because kegs provide protection and tend to rotate faster than bottles. Beer in kegs also doesn’t get any direct sunlight so its temperature fluctuation is slower, especially with hoppy beers. Darker beers do, however, taste better in bottles.
  • All Mad Giant’s beers are dry hopped except for their Weiss. Some beers are more dry hopped than others.
  • When a beer is dark in colour this means it’s made from roasted malt. Darker beers sell well in winter and are also more fitting for winters too.
  • Don’t eat, smoke or wash your hands before tasting beer .
  • ‘Pilsner’ is said to originate from town called Pilsen.

 

Have you attended Beerhouse’s Beer School before? Did you attended this session? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know!