After two years of harsh Covid restrictions causing upheaval in the food industry, the prospect of restaurants opening has never been more welcome. Across the country, there’s been an incredible wave of newcomers to the dining scene – just in time for a peak summer season. Diners are undoubtedly spoiled for choice, but of this spate of openings, here is our pick of the new restaurants that we’re most excited about.
1. Sonny and Irene
The Kove Collection is renowned for its impressive portfolio of slick eateries across the Atlantic Seaboard, and the most recent addition to the group is already living up to expectations. Sonny and Irene, situated in the newly built Station House apartment block, serves up an all-day, bistro-style menu in a sumptuously decorated space. In its short lifespan, Sonny and Irene has already established itself as a foodie destination, thanks in part to its Art Deco-inspired interiors, and its contemporary menu, featuring cafe classics – with a fresh take. Pastry enthusiasts are well looked after with the offering of freshly baked goods, made in-house daily, but this isn’t a place you want to rush in and out of. Whether you’re stopping by for a stack of buttermilk hotcakes for breakfast, a wholesome salad for lunch or a perfectly grilled steak for dinner, you’ll find yourself wanting to linger a little longer in one of the plush emerald booths.
Insider tip: for those looking for a bit of a jol, Sonny and Irene’s baby sister, The Nines, has just opened on the roof of the building – perfect for pre-dinner summer sundowners.
Though he might have recently closed the beloved Overture, Bertus Basson has wasted no time getting going on his latest venture. Chorus sees the stalwart chef making Waterkloof – put on the culinary map thanks to its predecessor, The Restaurant at Waterkloof – his new home. In true Basson style, Chorus features a simple menu that celebrates the best that homegrown producers have to offer and because of that, will change as ingredients are at their peak. It’s worth noting, however, that longtime fans of his cooking can rest easy knowing that Basson’s iconic souffle will make an appearance, while the rest of the menu will be led by seasonal ingredients. Choose from a considered four or six-course menu, peppered with nostalgic South African-inspired flavours, expertly paired with curated wines, from the Waterkloof estate as well as other local winemakers. And if you’re after something a little more lowkey, the restaurant also has a small lounge area where guests can enjoy a small bite and a glass of wine.
3. Roar Bistro
Situated in the heart of Sandton, within the buzzing Leonardo hotel, Roar is undeniably already the spot to see and be seen – and eat well while doing it. Created with the Joburg hustle in mind, the offering at Roar is modern and contemporary. With a dedicated terrace menu for those keen to watch the passing parade, as well as the main restaurant’s offering, and a grab-and-go deli section for those on the move, there’s something for everyone here. Choose from a selection of small plates to snack on, including hummus, pates and tempura, or opt for larger bistro-style dishes, such as duck confit, crispy pork belly and grilled whole Kingklip. Expect to find a sophisticated wine list of award-winning South African producers and a slick cocktail menu comprising old favourites and Roar’s creations. Whether you’re kicking off the workday, winding down at the end of it, or even gearing up for a night out, it’s safe to say summer in the city is looking a lot more exciting.