Here’s where to go if you’d like an awesome meal, but you don’t want it to cost the earth.
At Steyn City’s Saxon-managed fine dining eatery, the emphasis is very much on going local: ingredients – especially cheese and meats – are sourced from producers in and around Johannesburg, and chef Werner Snoek is working towards bringing the focus even closer to home with plans for establishing a self-sustaining veggie garden. In the meantime, all cooking oil from his kitchen is recycled, as are glass bottles from water and wine and Nespresso pods. Fish is a no if it’s named on SASSI’s red or orange lists, and veggies do double duty with offcuts being used to make stocks. Menu must-haves? Paper thin slices of smoked beef served with creamy blue cheese custard to offset the tangy beetroot picked onion accompaniment.
If there’s anything better than a cup of coffee, it’s a cup of coffee that’s helping to uplift communities. Bean There was the first roaster of Certified Fair Trade coffee in South Africa, sourcing beans from co-ops in Ethiopia, Burundi (both of which have been designed to minimise water usage) and Tanzania. More good news: your takeaway coffee cup is biodegradable. Grab a gourmet croissant or brownie to munch with it.
Jackson’s pledges to dish up food that’s free from pesticides and other nasties, sourced from small, local farms. While you might expect food of this calibre to put a dent in your budget, it strives to provide these organic foods at the same price as non-organic produce. Jackson’s is also committed to reducing the amount of plastic used for packaging items sold in its grocery department, and recycling is a big deal, too. Give yourself a boost with the restaurant’s trademark “nutrient dense” specialties: breakfasts like matcha green in a bowl (coconut milk, banana, lemon, matcha powder, kale, hemp seeds and honey granola) or pan-fried hake served with Asian salad, mushrooms and avo.
Just as you’ll only find local artists on the walls at the Hyatt Regency Rosebank’s eatery, you’ll also only find locally produced food – apologies if you’re in the mood for Norwegian salmon. There’s a big focus on nose to tail dining: so, when chef Xavier Francis purchases lamb, for example, he’ll use every bit, from the fillet to the loin, belly and even carcass. Indulge in a buffet breakfast, or spoil yourself with a tasting menu.
Chef Gerard Vingerling has incorporated sustainable principles at every point of the cheffing process, from sourcing ingredients to cooking (why use five burners when one will do?) and even disposal of food and waste. All rubbish emanating from the kitchens is sorted and recycled, and oil is disposed of in a responsible manner. Your leftovers, meanwhile, are turned into compost. It’s almost as impressive as the restaurant’s view over Sandton.
This quartet of restaurants is owned by James Diack, as famous for his obsession with the provenance of ingredients as he is for his bold flavours. While most of James’ produce (including organic veg and hormone-free, grass-fed meat) is provided by his family farm, he conducts regular site visits to other suppliers to ensure they are just as pedantic in their commitment to the environment. James doesn’t just do nose-to-tail cooking; he’s also recently introduced root-to-leaf, so that the tops of the carrots used in your soup make an appearance of their own in, say, a pesto.
Which one are you visiting soon?