There has been a growing trend amongst restaurants lately, where tapas-style meals are all the rage. This can work very well with kitchens that have a seamless, dare-I-say, conveyor belt efficiency. Can equally fall flat if you have to wait for too long between those bite-sized plates. Workshop 55 does this very well, as does Urbanologi. The Grazing Room, not as much.
Loved that warehouse feel of Urbanologi’s decor. Urban Garde Cuisine is how it bills itself. It is in the heart of the City, on Fox Street and shares the premises with Mad Giant Brewery. Not so much shares, but a part of. You can, along with your wine, have a beer tasting session before deciding on your gorgeously presented, delightful mini-meals. The food is excellent. There are a myriad of flavours with every plate, and the kitchen does not hold back in making this a sensory experience.
We ploughed through the entire menu, almost. The beauty about this new trend is that you can actually eat your way through a restaurant’s entire menu, which is not a problem with me. Their menu is divided into different sections: Fried, Kushiyaki (meaning skewered or grilled), Steamed, Cured, Frozen and Raw. Deep fried potatoes with a seaweed emulsion; crispy dropped black pepper pork belly with tamarind dressing, butternut purée, cucumber and smoked peanuts. Appearance was rather unappealing with the pork belly, but it was tasty. My favourite dish was the coal-fired beef filet with braised mushroom from the Kushiyaki menu. This was done rare and was amazing, as was the yakitori chicken served with the Urbanologi chimichurri. The steamed brioche with truffle crème and pea salt was a different taste experience. If truffle flavour is your thing, then this is it. From the cured menu we went for cured and smoked duck breast. Dessert was the banana-barley malt ice cream, beer gâteau, dark beer caramel and Mad Giant’s True Grit beer fromage blanc and oat crisp. I expected a sundae-sized serving, but it is just a mere morsel which definitely forces you to savour the flavours.
I would go to Urbanologi again and again. The restaurant is very relaxed, with friendly and very knowledgeable staff. I had made reservations and it was full on the Saturday we went. Highly recommend this for those cool and casual lunches. Going again with friends for the dinner experience, but given the quality of the food, hoping for a similar taste experience.
Reservations a must, it is very popular at the moment.
Urbanologi & Mad Giant Brewery, 1 Fox Street, Ferreirasdorp, Johannesburg.