(Photo of Chez Fong)
They’re the Brigadoons of the restaurant world: pop-ups that open for just a few days every week, or even once a month. They’re all the more exciting because their menus change regularly; sometimes, there’s no way of knowing what you’ll get. Make your bookings at these special spots, stat!
Osteria Vincenzo, Killarny
Osteria Vincenzo dishes up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and there’s always something different to look forward to. August’s selection was heavy on the Asian flavours, but watch out for special Mediterranean-inspired feasts, too.
Su Yen Thornhill has amassed quite a following, all eagerly waiting for their weekly invite into her home. This isn’t a restaurant so much as an experience: Su Yen prepares each of the 10 courses right in front of you, and you can’t be sure what she’ll be serving, as this depends entirely on her mood – it could be anything from crabmeat Béchamel potato croquettes to lamb crumble, served with a dollop of garlicky tzatziki.
The Yeoville Supper Club
Sometimes, it’s not just the chef’s skills that make a meal memorable; it’s their personalities, too. That’s certainly the case with Sanza Sandile, who invites guests to share a long table in Rockey Street every week. Sanza prepares his dishes on the day, using whatever’s available at the Yeoville Market, so it’s all fresh, fresh, fresh. There’s a lot of traditional African flavour, and vegetarians will find that they’re amply accommodated – dinners usually include the likes of Sanza’s famous falafel, Moroccan cabbage salad or Mozambican fried fish. Adding spice to each dish are the chef’s reminiscences and stories about life in one of Joburg’s grittier suburbs. For bookings contact Yeoville Supper Club on 083 447 4235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone for brunch? Mangermanje specialises in lazy, boozy mornings where your cocktail is just as important as your fry-up (did we mention the aforesaid cocktails are bottomless?). Food doesn’t get much more trendy than this: guests are invited to select three options from a menu that includes curried tofu tacos, shrimp and grits with corn salsa, and granola served with every healthy ingredient you can imagine, from chia seeds to coconut flakes. Brunch is held on Saturdays. Book here or for more info, contact Mangermanje at email@example.com.
It’s an enormous pity that this pop-up runs for only a month (12 September- 8 October), because it’s an outstanding opportunity to get a taste of what tomorrow’s kitchen stars are preparing. On the menu? Loads of robust Asian flavours, including orange-marinated duck breast served on a bed of bok choi and, for the vegetarians, miso aubergine – all prepared by the graduates of the Swiss Hotel School. For more info see their Facebook page.
The ideal venue when you feel like having a bit of a break from the city, this country spot invites you to lounge under the trees while indulging in all-day breakfasts (I like the sourdough crumpets with honey and ricotta) or Mediterranean favourites and farm-inspired dishes, made with locally sourced farm fresh ingredients. Open on weekends only.
Down to Earth Feasts
Every month, Down to Earth Feasts lures Joburgers away from their natural habitat (ie indoors) and into the sunshine. The venue is always different, but it’s usually on a farm, and the food is suitably rustic and typically organic. See more about upcoming feasts here.
The Pot Luck Club
Joburgers have one more month to head to the Marabi Club for an evening of exquisite jazz and even more exquisite food, courtesy of uber chef Luke Dale Roberts. The tapas-style menu has something for everyone, but don’t even think of leaving without sampling the famous fillet in a coffee sauce, or the churros with rooibos-infused dulce de leche.
Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Shack
If you want a proper American Southern food experience then Smokin’ Joe’s is as good as it gets. Happening every first Sunday of the month, they serve up BBQ beef and pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and ‘down south’ sides and desserts. It all takes place in what feels like someone’s backyard, making sure its a real casual and equally authentic experience.