I was recently invited to the launch of the Belle’s Patisserie ‘Skinny’ menu and was astounded at what this little patisserie had come up with in terms of Banting-friendly, wheat and sugar-free salads, quiches and even cheesecakes. Having come back from a rather indulgent holiday myself, I’m trying my best to be off to a sugar-free, healthy start. So I thought to put together a list of the best Banting-friendly spots in town for those Joburgers who want to kick back into shape the bunless way.
Throw the notion that Banting-need-be-boring out the window and think Ottolenghi-style salads spiced with sumac and full of avo, seeds, sprouts and serious crunch. Their crustless quiche and cauliflower wraps are delightful and the Banting bread they make is moist and moreish (not that weird, dense, eggy stuff you could use instead of a lead weight.) However, the showstopper here has to be the sugar and gluten-free, baked cheesecake made with low fat cream cheese and an almond base - you honestly cannot tell the difference. Their sugar-free baked treats are also a fantastic alternative for diabetics.
They were one of the first to embrace the new Banting generation and have a multitude of Banting-friendly offerings: try the Paleo chicken breast served with crisp green veggies, the grilled hake with avo, tomatoes, coriander salsa and fresh greens or the salmon with cauliflower mash. They also have Banting bread that you can swop in for any of the menu items that are served with bread, as well as Banting crackers to go with the tapas dips.
They’ve taken the Banting-scene by storm and are the first to offer a Banting-friendly coffee, namely the ‘Bulletproof Americano’ served with pure oils and fats instead of milk. They have wonderful cauliflower wrap and Banting bread alternatives for all their sandwich options and they even make their very own scrumptious mayo. Everything is locally and freshly sourced and is organic wherever possible. It’s a deli as well as casual dining spot so you can take your Banting home with you too.
Fresh Earth Café
They are an absolute stalwart amongst the healthy-food community with a fantastic deli attached to the restaurant serving up freshly-made Banting breads and every healthy alternative you could possibly imagine. Their restaurant menu is a plethora of all things vegetarian, all with Banting-friendly alternatives (if they’re not Banting-friendly already). There are Banting breads, buns, pizza bases and wraps. It’s pretty much Banting heaven!
Free Food is gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar, preservative and animal free food that still manages to be delectable and exciting! The brand started out selling ready-made vegan meals, but has now opened their very own diner and deli. Try one of their kale and sugar bean or scrambled tofu, carb-free wraps, or the roasted vegetable pizza on a gluten/wheat/grain-free pizza base.
JB’s Corner, Melrose Arch
They offer a ‘Beach Body Eating Menu’ with an array of Banting options including the chicken and mushroom ragu in Napoletana sauce with zucchini noodles, Rad Brad: chicken breast and burger patty served with sliced tomato and avo, and a chargrilled fillet with poached eggs, red onion, avo and relish. They also do a wide range of ‘burger bowls’ served with cauli-rice
Their ethos is a seriously good one: “Making food from scratch, using fresh, locally sourced, organic products and goods that are free from additives, preservatives or harmful chemicals.” All this and a nice array of Banting-friendly options to boot: for breakfast get the cauliflower rosti topped with avo, bacon and a poached egg and for lunch try the sundried tomato chicken breasts served with a chunky feta, cucumber, avocado salsa and salad greens.
Grove Green Café
They’re all about health and fitness, the natural way. They serve great, tasty salads and a list of signature dishes including a carb-free chicken burger and a classic Mexican Ceviche with tomato, cucumber, avo and coriander. They also have some ‘cheat snacks’ that are sugar and flour free.
Windmill on Main
They offer Banting-friendly pizzas and tramezzinis in abundance, in fact all the tramezzini shells are Banting-friendly - there’s no alternative. Try the Parma ham, spinach and feta tramezzini or the delicious veggie pizzas.
They were one of first restaurants to put ‘Banting’ on their menu over two years ago. (They even have a Banting get together once a month if you’re interested.) Any menu item marked B can be requested as a Banting meal and will be cooked with olive oil or butter (no vegetable oils) and bread is replaced with a carb-free, flax seed bread or roll. Go for great breakfasts, light bites and brilliant burgers, and lots and lots of cheese of course! They also have a Banting chocolate cake on the menu and sell Banting products in the shop including premixes, wraps, jams, rusks, crackers as wells as pre-prepared Banting meals.
The Country House at Hertford Hotel
A beautiful venue offering Banting guests a choice between cauli rice or cauli mash as a side with all main courses and whilst also offering various Banting-friendly dishes like the Halloumi and veggie stack, delicious trinchado and chicken and fish dishes that change according to what’s fresh and available. (Plus they don’t use flour in any of their sauces.)
They’re extremely versatile when it comes to their menu and happy to chop and change it to suit your dietary needs. Banting breakfasts are a win here with the creamed egg (scrambled made with cream and butter) and crispy streaky bacon and the poached eggs with creamy seasonal mushrooms at the forefront of all things delish, but also take note of the creamed egg with hot smoked Norwegian salmon and their bacon and spicy tomato express served with avo. Lunches offer an array of amazing salads. They will always ask if toast is required and all sauces can be adapted to remove any added sugar.
Craft beers are definitely not on the Banting-friendly list, neither for that matter are their unbelievable CraftFreakShakes, but they’ve made a concerted effort to make up for it with a number of delicious Banting-friendly menu options: the ‘less the bread’ chickpea and coriander burger served with micro greens and a blooming onion and the ‘less the bread’ beef burger with cauliflower rostis – ask for a salad option instead of the fries. They also offer cauliflower mash as an alternative starch for all their mains.
The Baron, Sandton
The Baron might be more of an after work drinking spot than a foodie hangout, but they’re dedicated to ensuring your suit looks sharp rather than snug with 4 Banting starter and 5 Banting main options. These include Banting Trinchado on sautéed veg, grilled calamari with olives, red peppers and cabanossi, Chicken Tikka Masala with cauli-rice and grilled harissa lamb chops with a tomato and cucumber salsa.
Whilst they don’t have a Banting-menu per se, they have an amazing policy of making the effort to tweak all items on the menu to suit their Banting diners (bar the pasta dishes of course). They are well-known for their fantastic steaks, fresh line fish and chicken dishes and have at least four meat and four fish dishes on offer at any one time, all of which can be adjusted to suit your needs. In a nutshell, they are always willing to go the extra mile. On the dessert front, their crème brûlée is made using coconut sugar and their panna cotta is made using naturally sweet bay leaves and rice milk with no added sugar. Fabulous!
You can choose the Banting bun and Banting base options for all of their pizzas and sandwiches. (Both are made from psyllium husks and flaxseed.) They also have a specials menu that changes every two weeks on which you’re bound to find some Banting-friendly treats.
(They also offer buns made from psyllium husks and flaxseed at their big brother, The Wolfpack)
All Col’Cacchio, Vovo Telo and Kauai stores also offer Banting options
There are now even monthly markets dedicated to Banting and Health Foods:
JHB Banting & Health Foods Market at ICJ
The Melrose Arch Banting Market
As well as online stores:
See our low-carb recipes here.
- Kate Liquorish