Choco-holic? Check out Chocolat et Café!

Personally I’m not one with a sweet tooth, but appreciate a good sweet or treat here and there.  Here in the capital of South Africa, you have plenty of options to satisfy the sugar craving if and when it hits, you just need to know where to look.  O yes, make sure that they have the good stuff.

The world of Chocolate in Pretoria is not a well known one in my opinion and the question lingers; “Where do Chocoholics go to get their fix?”.  The past weekend, I stumbled upon a little place hidden away like a pirate’s treasure and I was fortunate enough to find it.  Chocolat et Café is literally the sweet spot, located in the new trendy, up and coming Hazelwood Food Village in Pretoria.  Nestled between Culture Club Bar de Tapas and Alfies you go deeper where you are greeted by a refreshing space with Turqoise umbrellas, tables and chairs.  Quaint and pettite.  Obviously, the nosey person I am, a needed to take an up close look inside and was amazed by the amount of decadence this small space held.

Chunky Chocolate Brownies, Caramel Cheese Cake, Carrot Cake, Macaroons, Chocolate Toffees, Truffles that looks exquisite and of course slabs of chocolate in every variety, colour and fragrance (yes, I smelled them) you can get.  This is truly a HAVE TO, to any self proclaimed chocoholic.  Did I mention the coffee in a sugar cone?  Strange, but I have to go back to try it.  A second question popped: “Why don’t we know of all of these little treasures?”.  I arrived at a simple answer… routine dining.  Exploring a bit, hunting the treasure and when someone talks about something special they experienced, listen.  Luckily word of mouth did it’s thing and I walked away happy, over-chocced (is there such a word?) and telling my posé all about this little treasure called Chocolat et Café in Waterkloof, Pretoria. Go! Now!

 

 

 

The Boss & the (cookie) Monster @ Brooklyn Brothers

 

Arriving at the Glenfair centre in Lynwood Road Pretoria, you can see that this is a pitstop to almost everyone.  Families that go to the neighbouring restaurants, people quickly pop in to the shop to get the last minute shopping before heading home and then me.  I’m here to review and enjoy one of Lynwood’s most popular food spots.  Brooklyn Brothers Glenfair.  Fortunately fellow foodies shared the evening with me and as I’m tucking the menu closer to see what we’re in for, my eyes stopped.  There it is, the words glistened on the gloss paper and I know that tonight is going to be epic.  I”m referring to the legendary burger called The Boss.

Brooklyn Brothers are renowned for their comfort food offerings and that’s the reason why people frequent this great place so much and so my evening started.  Their range of craft beers were introduced and once again, the beer gods were smiling at us.  From the CBC’s notorious Amber Weiss to the equally great Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale and off course a few different beers in between.  The first course was a delightful platter filled with Honey glazed chicken wings, Jalapeño poppers, sticky Bourbon BBQ ribs, chicken strips with a Tikka sauce and topped off with onion rings with a beautiful ranch dressing.  That was only round 1!  Round 2 and I finally got to meet The Boss of all burgers.  Neatly planked (or shall I say plated?) a bulky medium prepared premium beef patty with crispy bacon & blue cheese sauce and on the side, golden brown deep fried onion rings.  Man I was happy.

They have a “beat-the-heat” challenge for the brave (or shall I say foolish?) and you can have your name engraved on their wall of heroes, that’s if you can stomach the inferno it promises to deliver.  I however, declined the offer.  By the time dessert arrived I questioned my capacity but couldn’t resist their WTF Killer shakes (yes, that’s the name they go by).  I enjoyed their Parkslope chocolate shake and soon realized this was a monster of a different sort, I called it the cookie monster.  Bravo!  Brooklyn Brothers is a sure, good food, good company, good vibes social spot and anyone can leave happy, satisfied and looking forward to the next visit.

Points scored on my list:  Portion size is good, taste and preparation was good, menu variety is tops and service is excellent.  Points deducted:  The lighting on the deck was a bit strong and draws bugs and the onion rings was a bit oily to my taste.  Overall impression: Great! Will most certainly visit again. Well done Brooklyn Brothers.  To the rest of you: Go! Now!

Maison de Leo

Looking for a spot to have breakfast or lunch, I try to opt for a spot that is non-franchise, not too commercialized and that is different.  Living in Pretoria, the food scene have erupted with a few great individualistic eateries that offer world class cuisine and prices that fits any pocket.

One thing that is still a challenge in my mind, is the Moot.  The Moot area in Pretoria is an older and more established area that is the cradle to mostly older folk and families that have lived there for generations and I believe generations to come.  When it comes to entertainment and the restaurant scene, it has seen a flicker here and there.  Nice, dedicated restaurants that offer great food, but truly speaking they are few and far in between (I think that’s how the saying goes).

The flicker is starting to get brighter when there are a few more places added to the short list of small, yet very valuable restaurants in the Moot.  Reality is that all the entertainment, restaurants and viby cocktail lounges are all situated more towards the east of Pretoria.

I did however find a small little treasure the other day.  Non-commercialized, non-franchised and ever cuteness and the food is lovely.  Maison de Leo is situated in Rietondale just off Soutpansberg Road.  Being a fairly new establishment, the setting offers you a whimsical taste of food that is home made, delicious and with fresh ingredients.  Maison de Leo’s menu is limited, but sure packs a punch as they focus on a few dishes and do them well.  I enjoyed their Traditional Bobotie and lovely summer salad.  Their Chorizo & Pesto Gnocchi is equally to die for.

My challenge to you?  Go seek those little places, LIKE MAISON DE LEO and give them a chance.  Some places will disappoint, but then there will be some little gems that give you an experience above and beyond any chain-store or restaurant will and can offer.  It will mean a bit of risk, but let’s be willing to explore and taste our way on this treasure hunt of culinary journeys.