Joburg

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Dreaming of a Narina Trogon in Braamfontein

The perfect setting for a quiet lunch where the bustling streets are muted can be found in the heart of Braamfontein. Narina Trogon, a sophisticated and stylish restaurant has a subtle presence in the part of the city that is constantly buzzing with student activity. Our lunch was drizzled with a silent magic that exists within this uniquely designed restaurant.

Meticulously curated, it reflects the ideas of its owner. American-born Carlyn Zehner, an art curator by trade, who moved to Johannesburg in 2006.After decades of living in New York City and London, she brought into fruition her dream of owning a restaurant. She has put much care into every detail from glassware, furniture, lighting fixtures right down to the salt cellars and teapots.

81 De Korte Street is the home of Narina Trogon, a perfect location for passers-by keen to grab a quick coffee or light lunch however, not ideal for guests planning to graze all day as parking along the street is limited. We eventually found parking – which tested my parallel parking skills to the maximum!

The restaurant’s striking green mosaic facade and wide-street side windows welcomed us into a blendof urban renewal with a strong design ethos. We made our way into the main dining room which seats up to 80 people. The venue also consists of a small courtyard and two smaller dining areas, which, with retractable glass screens can be converted into private or conference spaces. Continue reading

10 things to do this Heritage Weekend

Whether you’re staying at home this Heritage Day long weekend or you’re heading out to explore South Africa, we’ve got some ideas of places you can visit and events you can enjoy to celebrate!

In KZN…

1. White Mountain Festival

Acoustic music in the mountains… what more could you ask for? Brought to you by the same experienced crew that produce Splashy Fen every year, White Mountain is its’ smaller, mellow cousin. Discover new local artists or support your favourites, all while indulging in the magical mountain vista. Take the family for an unforgettable experience.

2. Witness Hilton Arts Festival

Broadly considered to be KZN’s premier arts and culture festival the annual Witness Hilton Arts Festivaland produces a sterling programme of drama, comedy, music, cabaret, arts and crafts, children’s theatre, Mindscapes discussions, workshops, films and exhibitions appealing to all who visit the festival each year. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the festival.

3. Fun in the Sun

For the fourth year running over 3000 KZN electronic music lovers will once again gather on the banks of the Hazelmere Dam for a massive outdoor festival involving two days of house, dance and electronic music, Swimming, Tanning, Partying and fun times.

Gauteng

4. The Cradle Festival

Head to where it all began to celebrate in the ultimate Heritage Day place. Expect musical performances from the likes of Louise Carver, and Idol’s winner, Elvis Blue as well as the Cradle Festival Wine Weekend, which includes cheese and wine tastings, as well as loads of fun activities and competitions for the whole family to enjoy. The daily kids programme offers parents peace-of-mind and a day-off to spoil themselves and relax while being able to enjoy the live entertainment, cheeses and wines. A Craft Expo allows exhibitors from the Cradle and surrounding areas to showcase their business and service offerings. Continue reading

“Soccer City from the Sky”

Not many people can say they’ve had the pleasure of seeing Soccer City from this vantage point, but Gareth Pon can! He took this stunning overhead view from a helicopter above the World Cup stadium, capturing the surrounding cityscape in magnificent technicolour at the same time! See more Instagrams under “Photos” here:  http://safindit.co.za/soccer-city-complex

Be mesmerized by the Mosaiek

For the working folk, Saturday is the best day of the week. One gets to sleep in. See friends; do some shopping; have a long, slow coffee. Feel good about life, the universe and, if not everything, at least most things. An event that certainly left us feeling good was the Metro FM African Masquerade hosted at the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

Three of the country’s most soulful artists, Kabomo, Unathi and Zonke graced the stage of the state of the art venue in celebration of Metro FM’s 26th birthday. Themed “African Masquerade”, people from every corner of the country poured into the sophisticated Teatro wearing masks and fashionably dressed.

Adjacent to the Teatro is a smaller sized venue, Viaticus, which was prepared as the VIP lounge for guests to mingle and enjoy an African cuisine before the start to the musical extravaganza. It was already half full when we arrived with couples occupying most of the couches. The bar was lined up with inviting drinks – of course we helped ourselves to one or two.

Sounds of Unathi and Kabomo’s music flowed through speakers as the lounge gradually filled up and conversations got us in the mood. At 7pm, an upbeat house song invited people into the main theatre were magic would soon ignite. Guests gathered in the spacious foyer, some stood at the front desk to collect their complimentary tickets. Continue reading

Saving Rietvlei for a Summer’s Day

Johannesburg is a city with limited entertainment resources. This densely populated hub leaves one to choose between malls and public parks for any form of amusement – especially for children. While a coastal destination would make an ideal alternative, a drive to the Rietvlei Zoo Farm easily ignites the excitement in anticipation of warmer Summer days.

September 1 marked the beginning of Spring and our enthusiasm as mothers led us to pack our babies and picnic baskets into our cars and spend the day in the outdoors- to Rietvlei Farm, the perfect place for family picnics, provides vast space for chairs, tables, gazebos and picnic blankets.

Situated in the south of Johannesburg on Swartkoppies Road, the farm offers boundless recreation. It receives an influx of visitors during the hottest months of Summer when the grass is beautifully green, the flowers have blossomed and the trees are renewed. The first day of Spring came with great disappointment as the farm was not ready yet to host visitors. The wind was harsh sending dry and flaky grass into our neatly packed baskets. Trees were still dull and the rest of the farm looked arid and barren. It seemed we were too eager for the warmth of Spring.

Nonetheless we salvaged what we could and made the most of the day. The tail end chills of Winter prompted us to steal an unoccupied lapa that became the best solution to keeping the children warm. Continue reading

Joburg’s mad for Moemas’ Muffins

They say husbands and wives should never go into business together, but if that were true Moemas Patisserie & Food Shop would never exist!

Danielle Postma believes her husband Mike is the backbone of their popular Johannesburg eatery, having put in place all the systems & procedures necessary for its success.
“We work together,” she says, “but I am more of the creative side, dealing with outside catering and new products, whereas he deals with staff issues and the day to day running of the business.”

Mike & Danielle met in London where she was studying (and dreaming of owning a pastry shop of her own.) Then Mike followed her across the ocean, where their plans started to come together.

“I convinced myself I would sit on a chair in the corner and watch the happy customers. The reality is that I’m always too busy! I always knew I’d return, and when we did, we started seeing a life coach who helped us break it all down into manageable steps so that it became a reality.”
They now have two children, Charlie (3) and Jess (1), who keep them busy when they are not being more busy at Moemas.
“When you have a young family you never seem to spend enough time with them – balance is a daily struggle, but when you’re trying to create a strong successful business maybe even more so,” Danielle admits, but she’s proud of how her marriage and family life are holding fast amidst the mayhem.

Moemas has earned a reputation – not just in plush Parktown, but all the way across the city – for exceptionally high standards and the ability to surprise and delight their patrons time and again with their daily selection of cakes, pastries, sweet and savoury tarts, steaming pies and delicious fresh salads.

“Our window display of pastries is a popular drawcard. The fact that customers can’t make up their minds, compelling them to return works well. At the moment our cupcakes are super popular, our customers know they can rely on the fresh deliciousness! I think it’s our ability to evolve and continue creating beautiful food that our customers enjoy.” Moemas also won the 2012 Joburg’s Choice Award for Best Muffin with an unprecedented score of 5 and a half. Continue reading

Play with your food at Cube

The brainchild of renowned Joburg chef Dario Dario de Angeli, Cube Tasting Kitchen opened just over two years ago and has since had foodies swooning all over the city. More of a food experience than a regular restaurant – a place where you can tantalise all your senses with food that’s unique, playful and creative, but most of all tasty!

One of the things diners often remark on, is the warm hospitality extended by Dario and his team of mad scientists, engaging personally with their guests throughout the culinary crusade.

We chatted to the man behind the menu about his own journey into food & bringing innovation to the Joburg food scene.

Safindit: Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Cube and how it came about?
Dario: The idea came about after I travelled to a few restaurants abroad and noted that this was the trend – 5, 8, 12 courses… some even 20! I liked the idea from a cooking perspective. No more boring line cooking the same thing over and over every night!

S: What kind of food does the Cube team strive to create?
D: Nothing specific. We dabble in elements of Molecular Gastronomy. Our base is classic and we blend flavours in a bit of a fusion style. I suppose we just aim at good tasting food.

S: What makes the Cube dining experience unique?
D: Other than it’s the only restaurant of its kind in JHB… nothing! Maybe it feels a bit like you are sitting in a kitchen with your own personal chefs cooking and presenting the food? I really can’t say, but I am glad people like it….whatever it is.

S: Of Cube’s achievements, what are you most proud of?
D: The fact that we are still in business 2 years after opening. My customers mean the most to me so repeat business, a full restaurant, people taking the time to write to me to say how much they enjoyed the night? These to me are real achievements.

S: What have been some of your most popular dishes to date?
D: Tom Yum jelly with crab. Chicken with sweetcorn and gem squash creme brulee. Venison, blue cheese, beetroot and fig. Foie gras and chocolate…..there are quite a few I am proud to say.

S: What kind of food do you most enjoy preparing?
D: Duck. I really like cooking duck. I like working with different techniques too, to make foams or powders. If it’s interesting to work with I enjoy it.

S: Would you ever consider opening branches outside of Johannesburg or moving to another city?
D: I am considering moving in a few years but not to continue this. Cube will have a life span. I’m a realist. I know it won’t last forever and it appeals to such a small market, opening elsewhere just wouldn’t be viable. Continue reading

Top 5 Cityscape Wedding Venues in Joburg

If you live in a big city like Joburg, sometimes it’s just better to embrace your environment than try and pretend you’re living elsewhere. That’s what today’s Top 5 is all about – making the most of Joburg’s awesome cityscape & incorporating it into your biggest of days. Some of these venues are so cool, they put the average beach wedding to shame!

1. 12 Decades Hotel

Perched atop the heart of the trendy Maboneng Precinct, you could not find a wedding venue with more street cred than this! Not only are the rooms super funky and modern, the rooftop function area has an incredible view of the city. Here you can have your rustic rooftop wedding, or create an event that’s classic and classy.

2. The Forum – Turbine Hall

Also based in the Newtown area, this historic building once served as a power station but has been refurbished into an industrial but modern and chic venue. Getting married here is probably the closest you could get to a NYC dream day – with the magnificent Jozi skyline outside to make you feel at home.

4. Radisson Blu – Sandton

There’s nothing dowdy about this stylish luxury hotel. A true cityscape venue, this one allows you to marvel at the skyline while you feast at the reception as well as having your glorious rooftop ceremony! The largest function room spans 320 square metres and is divisible into three separate rooms.

4. The Westcliff

The Westcliff is a traditional but truly an iconic Joburg venue, with a cityscape view to match. High on the hill, you will feel like a fairytale princess when you wed your prince at one of the most sought-after wedding venues in the city. With a choice of 4 elegant reception areas, including the famous Le Belle Terasse, you can be sure the food will also meet your expectations!

5. The Venue – Melrose Arch

Not so much ‘cityscape’ as a venue which embodies the modern & glamorous Jozi vibe, this space has played host to some of the city’s most exclusive shindigs. With 4 venue options inside the building, you can choose whether you want to be cocooned in one of the more intimate zones or parade like royalty in one of the larger banqueting halls. You’ll certainly feel like a celebrity when you pull up at this entrance.

Become a Gourmet Guru with Richard

Gourmet Gurus’ Richard Rust has appeared in food expos, on TV, radio and print, delivering fun and educational food demonstrations. He now also runs a restaurant at The Farmstall in Kyalami where his demonstrations, cooking classes and chefs tables to delight and tantalise his guests and students.

Richard trained in the UK as a pastry chef at the world renowned Russacks Hotel before studying food culminating in a HND at Manchester University. After holding several prestigious Head Chef positions in the UK he then moved to Gauteng and worked as the regional TASTE Chef Manager for Woolworths where he wrote for various publications, appeared on TV and Radio and cooked with many local and International celebrity chefs including Ainsley Harriot, Alan Coxon, Sharon Glass, The Giggling Gourmet.

Richard’s food philosophy is all about fresh, natural ingredients and classical cookery, avoiding over complication to create stylish, clean, natural and elegant plates of food with a modern twist.

Safindit: What made you decide to start Gourmet Gurus?
Richard: I felt there was a niche in the johannesburg market for ‘honest’ food using 100% natural unprocessed ingredients that moved away from the franchise offerings.

S: Do you feel that professional training is a requirement to succeed in the chef industry?
R: Most definitely, but I feel the level of training in SA differs in a negative way from overseas. I believe there is a perception in SA that the food industry is not a profession but a stop gap or for unskilled workers.

S: What makes Gourmet Gurus unique?
R: We use only the best ingredients that are free range, organic and natural, which is so important in today’s world as more people are becoming conscious of what they eat, especially those with allergies. Our customers know we can tell them all the ingredients and have traceability back to source with our products. Our restaurant is made from recycled materials and our waste is recycled as well. Continue reading