Say hallo to The Publican Bar & Grill!

The Publican Bar & Grill is situated in the Southdowns Shopping centre in Irene, Pretoria and close to the John Vorster offramp.  The Publican greets you with a contemporary mix of leather, stoned walls and an amazing fireplace that hypnotises you the moment you set foot through their doors.

I always say that it’s the small things that count when visiting any restaurant or eatery and here we can check all the boxes.  From the light pink Orchid at reception, the copper light fittings and even the bathrooms are tastefully done.  They surely didn’t skimp on anything when it comes to their decor.

The hostess immediately greets you with a smile and swiftly guide the way to your designated spot.  Flowing through the restaurant you end up on the stoep (veranda) and are immediately taken aback by the view and the gazillion lights.  (I’ve said it before, I’m a sucker for a good setting).

Tables are minimalist and well set and the darker tones on their furniture and black serviettes gives you a very ‘expensive’ or exclusive feel to what you are about to experience.  Their waiting staff works as a team and you are informed on their wines and given drink options.  I enjoyed a delightful deep red called Silver Myn from the Zorgvliet Wine Estate.

Immediately options on starters, mains and desserts were raised and I was impressed with the passion they show when explaining their menu options, from preparation to the moment it arrives on your plate.  It’s infectious.

For starters I just HAD to enjoy the Thick Cut Bacon with fresh parsley salad.  (By the way, the world is better because of Bacon). Delicious!  Mains feature a New York strip steak, Black Angus Beef and was beautifully prepared.  I would’ve like a bit more fries on the side though.  To close the evening off, I enjoyed a delectable Eaton Mess and was engulfed with a sticky viscid meringue, berry coolie and cream.  I was in heaven.

The Publican Bar & Grill gets it right and should be on your list if you are a meat-eater and enjoy lovely flame grilled meals.  They also have good vegetarian options available.  This eatery is a sure catalyst to an amazing evening filled with friends, great food and choice wine……… did I mention the view??  Go! Now!

The Belgian Triple, where Beer isn’t just Beer.

The Belgian Triple is a lovely, hip and vibrant place that grabs your attention from the moment you walk through their doors.  Beer is their thing and their European cuisine to match.  They have a variety of beer, close to 90 imported Beers to be exact.

We were treated to a promising evening and were enticed to 7 tasting courses each paired beautifully with a choice imported beer.  First was Bitterballen & Salt and Pepper Squid, much like Kroketten and the plating was very artistically done.  Followed by Radicchio Salad and a Goats Cheese Salad.  Fresh, tasty, crisp and decadent.  Their Salmon Fillet was perfectly prepared, moist, pink with mashed potatoes and spinach.  The Lucifer (I think it’s flame grilled hence the Lucifer) Beef Brisket was out of this world.  The perfect balance between beef and fat that gives you a good idea that the chef surely knows he’s trade and was mouth-wateringly prepared . Dessert offered Belgian Chocolate Mousse and Fraindise (a syrupy citrus waffle) to end off the evening.

Sometimes (to me) beer is beer.  What made this evening different, was the background given on the origin and evolution of the beer currently on their menu and how well it accompanied their food.  Well done to Geland & Nikolai for hosting us and to you reading this review, make The Belgian Triple a must on your culinary bucket list!  Top marks from me and see you again soon!

Fries, slap chips, bliss!

 

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Nowadays it has become one of the main criteria (to me in any case) when visiting a restaurant or eatery on what they serve as a side order.  I have a bit of an addiction.  French fries.  Jip, it’s those long elongated pieces of potatoes that are fried up in hot oil until they are crispy brown and served to compliment the main feature on your plate, whether it’s fish, steak, chicken and the list goes on.

But where did it all start?  Well, the Belgiums claim the first fries to be their spark of genius, and so the story meander on until it landed on the global plate of just….. well…. fries!  Who cares anyway? Naturally there are different variations to this salty bites of heaven and to each creator who makes them, adding something unique or peculiar.  I had the privilege to experience some of these varieties first hand from saucy fries in Melbourne, criss-cross fries in Hong Kong, shoe-string fries in Dubai, curly fries in Thailand and the so everyone of us can recall their own love story with fries.

My favourite? Slap chips here in South Africa, made and prepared by the Portuguese lady in her Take Away Cafe around the corner.  Doused with vinegar and lot’s of salt, makes slap chips (directly translated as limp fries or chips) a sure bet when the cravings kick in.  Keeping my eyes peeled when visiting restaurants, I am always amazed at their preparation and presentation of this lovely side dish.  Some prefer the oven baked way and some just go the traditional deep fried way.  Personally, I love them deep fried.  So, who in your community sells the best fries?  Here is my list of top 5 servings of fries here in the capital of South Africa Pretoria:

  1.  Marguerites Take Aways – They are based here in the city centre of Pretoria on the corner of Madiba & Bosman Street.
  2.   Brewers BBQ – Situated in Rietfontein Pretoria, they offer lovely spiced fries.  Check out their gourmet fries with bacon, blue cheese and so forth.
  3.   No judgement!!!! MacDonalds – Something as sure as sun rise, they have lovely shoe string fries that never disappoints.
  4.  Steers – Also a fast food chain, have never failed me when it comes to their beauties.
  5.  Toni’s Fish & Chips Co. – Sells fresh well prepared fries that are decadent.

Whether it’s the Cafe on the corner or Gourmet french fries that’s your thing, we all have that one place that serves comfort food or fries at it’s best.  Make sure to comment with your Slap Chips experience and share your hints of french-frie-grateness with the rest of the cyber foodie realm.