Social Kitchen doesn’t treat you like Rebel Wilson at the club door. A fresh non-hipster vibe lures you in, and a healthy mix of people of all sizes and ethnicities puts you at ease, and bowls of delicious steaming comfort don’t let you leave.
You get the feeling that people are there to experience the space more than just to be seen. Meaning if you share any strange restaurant anxiety’s with me you can slip in and out without feeling like you’ve just walked and fallen in the latest Alexander Wang show. (Not that I think we’re super smchodels, just that all eyes on me make me feel like the last wilting croissant in the window)
Vegetarians skip ahead, the 72-hour beef short ribs which you gobble down with coriander pea puree and smoked potatoes, is sublime. For the more kind-hearted souls, their charred heirloom carrots paired with grilled peppered peaches, fire roasted Spanish onions & baked saffron ricotta, somehow manages to be delicate, balanced & substantial all at once.
For the most important course, which can’t be missed at this destination, the baked Crispin apple palmier, with Calvados Anglaise conjures up feelings of nostalgic yumminess. If like me you can’t process wheat or always win the battle against craving a pud, the almond pannacotta is the option for you. It’s served with a fresh minestrone of fruits and the star of the show is the wobbly lushness to end all lushness (eat the accompanying ‘Dentelle’ biscuit at your peril!)
They don’t offer any ‘doggy bags’, you can take it as a challenge to eat your money’s worth. My crafty nan decided to frantically ditch her tissues so that she could stuff her leftover pork belly into the twin saver bag. When we confronted her and pleaded with her to behave, she attacked and protested that it was ‘FOR THE BOYS’ (pugs with insatiable appetites, who I assure you never even got a whiff of that prized crispy belly). If possible the outing is made all the more fun by finding a partner who could be cajoled into believing there is a ‘leftovers’ scanner at the exit. Sounding an alarm to bathe you in shame, caught sticky-fingered with your titbits.
If the budget doesn’t allow for a leisurely lunchtime amble through their menu, tea, and dessert before book browsing is always a good afternoon.
On a serious note, their wine & spirit list is worth going for alone. You have yourself an SJP in the NYC moment at the bar, glass of bubbly in hand. Their offering of GnT’s made with award winning ‘Inverroche Gin’ from Stillbaai is not exactly a hard way to support ‘local’.
The Social Kitchen & Bar is contemporary, without being cold and their celebration of Joburg’s green canopy makes you forget where you are, that’s enough for me.
P.s. So fine you can’t leave with leftovers that you’ll forget in your fridge, we live in such a wasteful society, maybe learning to order just what we need isn’t the worst idea.
Phone: 011 268 6039
Hours: Monday to Saturday 12:00pm – 9:30pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
PHOTOS BY DILLON DU PLESSIS