on Thursday Parktown North eatery and speakeasy The National revealed its new specially curated menu for the colder months.
The National, owned by chef and prolific restaurateur James Diack – who also owns Coobs, Il Contadino and La Stalla – is known for its up-market food that uses premium ingredients sourced from Diack’s Brightside family farm in Magaliesburg.
Chef Wayne Dletric, who is responsible for the menu, said they wanted to create comforting dishes that are also healthy.
“We’ve taken a stride into the warmer, more hearty dishes you’d expect to find in winter, but without going too heavy.
“We decided to focus on lighter dishes because we realised that it’s what a lot of people want – something that’s comfort food but won’t pack in the calories. We’ve reduced the number of deep-fried dishes quite a lot.”
In terms of flavours, Dletric went for smoke.
“Being the smokehouse that we are – we have a smoker – we’ve gone for that very Mid-Western, southwestern American brown sugar, paprika, cumin, coriander kind of vibe.”
In terms of starters, dishes include steam buns with crispy sriracha-fried chicken, Cajun-spiced calamari, pumpkin and corn fritters, as well as fennel soup.
While the Cajun-spiced calamari was nothing to write home about, the steam buns were soft, more-ish and satisfying. They’re served with pickled onions and a soya mayonnaise.
Mains included a beef pasty of slowly cooked smoked pulled beef, Asian vegetable stir fry, duck curry, and pork belly served with new potatoes.
Despite being their signature dish, the pork belly was underwhelming. I would definitely recommend the duck curry instead, which consists of delectable pulled pork, mixed vegetables in a Thai red curry sauce and rice cakes.
Of course, no winter meal is complete without an indulgent dessert.
Pudding options include malva pudding with a bourbon crème anglaise and a Mississippi mud pie made from dark chocolate, milk chocolate and mascarpone. The mud pie is to die for – a no-holds-barred chocolate-on-chocolate creation that will hit the spot.
The National is now three years old, and will be closing briefly sometime this month for a revamp, so make sure to book before you go.
Visit The National at Corner 7th Avenue and 4th Avenue in Parktown North. Call 011 327 3030 to make a booking.