Piccolo Mondo – Sandton

Piccolo Mondo - The Michelangelo Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Restaurant week is the most amazing concept in dining. One week of massive discounts at some of the best restaurants in Johannesburg, Cape Town , Winelands and Durban. It’s a rare and fantastic opportunity to bring fine dining to people who wouldn’t usually be able to afford it. This year my husband and I picked Piccolo Mondo in the Michaelangelo Hotel to try for our anniversary.

The hotel itself is an elegant and opulent affair and allows you the opportunity to get dressed to the nines. On arriving at the restaurant we were escorted to our table which had an amazing view over the tree-lined drive below which glows with fairy lights. I found the restaurant itself to lack ambience. Although we were there on a weekday night, it was extremely quiet.

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Our waiter was knowledgeable and efficient if not very friendly. Drinks were offered to us from an extensive wine and cocktail menu. A bottle of wine of any description is rather pricey with nothing below about R250 but they do have a good variety of wine by the glass. A glass of wine was roughly between R55 and R75 each but at least there was a taste for every palate. My husband had a cafe latte which was strong and tasty however at R38 was a bit steep.

The dinner was a set menu specially designed for restaurant week consisting of 3 courses at R300.00 per person. Piccolo Mondo added an amuse bouche and a palate cleanser which I felt was a lovely touch. The menu offered 3 choices for each course with all the options sounding delicious and complex. My hubby and I opted to try different meals so we could share and taste a wider variety.

Our amuse bouche was a fig and goats cheese Panna cotta. Although tasty I wouldn’t really call it a panna cotta as it was quite firm in consistency. We were also given a bread basket with a variety of freshly baked breads and served with 3 butters. My favourite was the mushroom butter. How they managed to infuse so much mushroom flavour into that butter is a beautiful mystery!

For starters I ordered the grilled halibut with a creamy coconut broth, grapefruit sabayon and asian slaw. The broth was lovely with the sweetness of the coconut beautifully complimented by ginger. The fish was delicious and tender without being sloppy and the little bits of cabbage in the asian slaw added some texture and crunch to the dish.

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My husband ordered the beef carpaccio which came with olive crumbs, celery jam, wild mushroom and parmesan. I have never before had an olive crumb and didn’t know what to anticipate. The olives were cut into small pieces and made crunchy. They had a delightful sharp, bitter flavour which stood out and added the sparkle to the dish. What I would have liked to see more of on this plate was acidity. I think a squeeze of lemon would have completed this dish.

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Our palate cleanser was a cranberry and orange sorbet which I found underwhelming. It tasted almost exactly like Orange-Maid water ice’s.

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My main course was the ostrich fillet with beetroot tart, celeriac and mace puree and a pink peppercorn jus. I really didn’t know what to expect with regards to the celeriac and mace puree as I have never tasted either ingredient. Mace comes from nutmeg and is described as having a flavour between cinnamon and pepper. The celeriac tasted like parsnip. All together a tasty twist on your traditional potato mash with nutmeg. The ostrich fillet was, however, extremely rare even though I had asked for it medium. It was like eating a raw, warmed piece of meat. This let the dish down somewhat. The star of this dish and the whole meal however was the beetroot tart. A fuchsia filling on a crispy base topped with tiny balls of baby beetroot. It was pretty as a picture and looked like it could be a dessert. The beetroot was naturally sweet and unadorned by too many other flavours. It was simply amazing!

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My husband ordered the sage butter poached chicken with macadamia nut barley and sage butter sauce. My major gripe with this dish was not in flavour, which was pretty good, but in texture. The macadamia nut barley was cooked and served as a play on a risotto however because of the small pieces of chopped macadamia, it gave the impression that the barley was undercooked which wasn’t very nice.

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For dessert I ordered the peach mousse with peach salad and honey ice-cream. The honey ice-cream had fantastic flavour and was  rich and creamy. The raw peach salad provided the necessary acidity to break the sweetness of the dessert and the peach mousse was flawlessly smooth with a strong peach nuance.

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My husband ordered the chocolate slice with peanuts, chocolate crumbs and frozen yoghurt. To me this dessert was just a dressed up chocolate brownie with nothing truly spectacular about it.  The menu also offered the restaurants signature creme brulee which came out in a silver dish overflowing with smoke from dry ice. It looked like a real show stopper and I do wish we had tried it!

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Although the Restaurant week menu was not necessarily what you would find on the standard menu I truly enjoyed it and feel if this is the standard of their food, I have high hopes for their menu. I had a look at the menu and found many interesting dishes that I would love to try however be warned that the price at this restaurant can be prohibitive with starters between R100-150, mains closer to R200 and R80 for a dessert! This will not be a cheap night out!

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overall rating 4/5

The Michaelangelo Hotel

135 West Street

Nelson Mandela Square

Sandton

011 2827069

011 2827463
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Humble Harrys – Fourways

Humble Harry's - The Buzz Shopping Centre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Humble Harrys occupies a spot in the buzz shopping centre that I’ve always considered doomed. Seeing the passage of one failure after another I wasn’t expecting much from the latest occupants, however Humble Harrys has been a lovely surprise.  The interior of this restaurant has been completely refurbished and now boasts a fresh, uncluttered vibe in mint green and grey. The waiters were all extremely helpful and willing to pitch in to assist should our specific waiter be busy. And there is a friendly family atmosphere to this spot with many off the patrons greeting the manager and waiters like friends.
But the true star of this restaurant is the food. I’ve previously had their pork and emmental sandwich which came with curly fries and delicious, flavoursome and crispy pork crackling. What a treat.

This time I shared the Greek meze platter.  The platter consisted of fried and battered aubergine and zucchini, Taramosalata, tsatsiki , sour dough toast, fried baby squid, haloumi and tomato and olives. There was nothing on this plate that wasn’t delicious and if I had to fault anything it would be one piece of aubergine that was slightly bitter.

The zucchini was a favourite as the batter was well spiced and flavoursome. As was the squid which were crisp yet not chewy and tasted fantastic with a dash of lemon juice.

All together I’m loving this restaurant and I’m sure that they will be able to turn the tide of the ‘doomed’ venue at the Buzz. I’ll definitely be back to try a few more of their dishes!

Overall 3.5/5

011 658 0178
Shop 12, The Buzz Shopping centre, Witkoppen road, Fourways

The Green Peppercorn- Morningside

The Green Peppercorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Definitely a restaurant to go for a bit of a splurge. My husband and I came here on a Saturday evening to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Located in the Morningside Shopping Centre, this restaurant sits jowl by cheek among some great eateries including Pomodoro and Signature.

The decor is classy and understated with comfortable seating. I found , however, that the lighting was extremely poor. At one point I whipped out my phone torch to better see my food. If I’m going to eat such beautiful food, I would really like to see it first!

The menu’s are presented in the form of a tablet and allow you to see some of the dishes available. The waiters also carry around a small smart phone, which I presume is used to enter orders into. I felt though that the phone was a distraction and focused the waiters more on the devices than their patrons. I just feel it doesn’t look professional and would really prefer the good old fashioned pen and paper. That being said, he was extremely attentive and knowledgeable about the array of dishes.

There is no wine list per se, but the menu does state that a collection of exclusive wines sourced from South African wineries is available. I ordered a glass of white wine and was pleasantly surprised by the price (R30) considering the type of restaurant I was in.

My husband and I decided we would order the tasting plates. Basically if you order the starter and main tasting plates, a dessert tasting plate is given complimentary. This seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get a good feel for all the restaurant had to offer. Although I love eating, I feel we would have been better served sharing one starter, main and dessert plate with my husband ordering an extra full sized main. The quantity of food was astonishing and I left feeling slightly ill. Something to consider if you don’t have a massive appetite.

Below is a breakdown of what was on each tasting plate and the various opinions I hold on each. Note that should you prefer not to do a tasting, all the below come in full sized portions too!

Starter tasting plate

  • Mushroom spring rolls with brinjal chutney- crunchy spring rolls made from phyllo pastry accentuated by the sweet and sour tanginess of the brinjal chutney. A lovely and complex dish
  • Duck lasagne- this dish consisted of flash fried duck between layers of phyllo with asian plum sauce. The flavours were honestly outstanding however the dish was let down by the duck basically being tiny, dry little shreds of meat. It gave the impression of eating flavoured saw dust and I felt it was a waste considering the beauty of the natural ingredient.
  • Crispy fried chilli squid with cardamon mayo and tomato atchar- I have never tasted a dish that has so much of a cardamon flavour  and it was truly delicious. Although not really crispy the squid was tender and flavoursome.
  • Lamb samoosa with mint mayo- the lamb was cooked to perfecting, soft and pink. I would have liked a bit more mayo to cut the dryness of the meat and pastry.

    Main tasting plate

    • Sea bass with a pepper essence foam and a dill potato cake- one of the blandest dishes of the night. The fish was not very well seasoned and the pepper essence foam was non-existent. Not an interesting dish at all.
    • Pork belly with sweet potato puree and mango mojo- I dont know what mango mojo is but boy did I enjoy it! This element lifted the dish to a whole new level. The sweet potato puree was silky smooth and sweet. The pork crackling was a huge let down as it had no flavour at all. All it needed was a bit of salt to brink out the natural flavours and this dish would be spectacular
    • Chicken fig gorgonzola- a stuffed chicken breast cover in blue cheese, a fig foam and candied nuts. The sharp blue cheese with the candied nuts worked perfectly together to give me a dish I kept wanting more of. If there’s one main I would order again this would be it!
    • Fillet bernaise- this dish is the only one not currently on the mains menu in a full sized portion. I found the meat to be overcooked as I prefer it medium rare and I now know I’m not a fan of bernaise sauce as it’s too eggy and rich for me. The potato rosti was a delight. Soft inside and crunchy on the outside. very yum!


      dessert tasting plate 

      • Choc-chip bread and butter pudding- let me just start by saying this is the last dessert I would ever pick when confronted with the amazing sounding offerings on the menu. But do yourself a favour… ORDER IT! And don’t share! The pudding itself was soft and moist without being over-poweringly sweet. It came served with a banana ice-cream which tasted just like eating the real thing! Crunchy caramelised sugar work not only made it look beautiful but added a great textural element to a fabulous dessert. By far the best thing I ate all night!
      • Pina-colada cheese cake- I found this to be less of a cheese cake and more of a panna cotta in terms of consistency. Also I didn’t find it to have any massively enticing flavours.
      • lindt bon bons- essentially a lindt ball wrapped in phyllo and deep fried. Very little inventiveness needed here. The menu doesn’t give a description only stating its a must order and honestly if I had wasted my dessert order on this I  would be a very unhappy customer. Lindt is naturally a chocolate with a high fat content so I find that fried it was all a bit too oily for me.
      • Pineapple crumble- not for me at all. The crumble was not crumbly at all but rather big chunks of hard dough atop overly sweet pineapple.

        Overall this was an enjoyable evening. Some of our dishes were a bit hit and miss but there’s definitely enough here to make me want to come back for another meal, if only to have the bread and butter pudding again!

        The whole evening set us back a hefty R920.00 which is no small amount by anyone’s standards, however for what we got and the lovely evening we had, I found it very worthwhile!

        overall rating 4/5

        010 500 3778

        Morningside Shopping Centre

        Rivonia road

        Morningside

        Rocomama’s – Stoneridge

        Rocomamas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

        It seems that within the space of a few months this franchise has sprung up with billboards everywhere and word of mouth spreading like wildfire. I’ve always felt that Johannesburg has a serious lack of good burger joints, so I grabbed the opportunity to eat at my local Rocomama’s.

        The rocomama’s in Stoneridge is a fairly small but vibrant restaurant. The decor looks really funky and cool however this does not translate into a comfortable meal. The tables are lined with hard, backless wooden benches. I always find this counter-productive in a restaurant because I really don’t want to stay and draw out my meal as I’m so uncomfortable.

        The restaurant was also extremely noisy. We had to shout to make ourselves heard despite being at a small table.
        Our waiter was friendly and funny, always up to crack a joke, and our orders were brought promptly and correctly.
        The drinks menu consists mostly of soft drinks, milkshakes and beers with a good selection  of craft beers available. Your wine choices are simply red or white!
        Each person is handed a slip of paper on which they can place their order. Food options consist of burgers, ribs and wings. You can either choose a standard burger or you can add toppings of your choice. You can also choose to downsize your nurger or double up. Prices on the burgers are very reasonable with a good variety of extras available. Shoe string fries are sold separately and the portions are rather large. I ordered a small and that was more than enough for me. The burgers were honestly underwhelming. I ordered the bacon, cheese and guacamole burger.  I felt they lacked on flavour and after all the hype, I’ve eaten better burgers else where. The smoked mayo however is very yum.

        The fries are amazing however. Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside covered in seasoning salt.

        Desserts are what they call space cakes. Basically a little cake cut open with some sort of cream or sauce ‘flowing’ out the middle.  They look more impressive on the menu than they did on my plate but the flavour was there!


        I had the Mississippi mud pie which came with cream and maltezers.  A deep chocolate base topped with a chocolate mousse was wonderfully broken by the cream. Another person at our table had the cheese cake and said it was very tasty however the condensed milk sauce didn’t really add much to it.

        Overall a pleasant meal however due to the uncomfortable seating and loud noise I won’t be rushing back for another dinner!
        Overall rating 3.5/5

        010 007 3016
        Stoneridge shopping centre,

        1 Stoneridge Drive

        Edenvale

        Voodoo Lily Cafe – Melrose

        Voodoo Lily Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

        Voodoo lily cafe and deli is a gorgeous little spot on a corner of Melrose, busy with pedestrian traffic. It has a lovely European vibe. After reading zomato reviews I was very excited to try out this restaurant which has so many intriguing little features including an extensive banting menu and treats for your pets.

        Note however that the menu has changed since it has been posted on zomato with increased prices.

        Service was not always on the ball with a fairly long wait for our food. But this can be forgiven because of the fantastic vibe. Great music playing, the sun shining and all the bustle of a weekday in the suburbs. What more could you ask for!

        I had the  sharkys poached eggs . A meal of poached eggs on avocado and bacon with feta and a side serving of hollandaise. I asked for the eggs to be scrambled and was happily obliged. I found the meal to be very filling and couldn’t finish it all! The bacon was extremely crispy adding a great texture to the food and the feta was soft, creamy and salty. Just divine!

        My mom also ordered a banting breakfast. Jono’s breakfast consists of 2 poached eggs with mushrooms and guacamole. She added the super crispy bacon to her meal. The only imperfection on this plate was slightly overcooked eggs.

        We couldn’t leave without trying the banting cupcakes which the chef was still busy making. By 11am we had our hands on two of these tasty morsels. They were absolutely amazing and give you the impression of a decadent chocolate cupcake while in fact being a guilt free treat. They are made with beetroot which gives them a unusual taste but not unpleasant and the icing is an amazing cream cheese. No after taste of artificial sweetener here!

        Voodoo lily has recently started selling the new Pierre Jourdan ice lollies which come in two varieties, brut and tranquille.  I can just imagine a summers afternoon spent people-watching while cooling down with one of these.

        This cafe is so multifaceted it makes you want to come back for more. A quiet weekday lunch, a busy Sunday breakfast with the dogs in tow or all you can eat sushi on a balmy evening. Voodoo lily caters for them all.
        I will definitely be back to check out their lunch offerings and for another cupcake or two!

        Overall rating 4.5/5

        011 442 6965

        +27 82 829 4437

        64 St Andrews Street, cnr Wrenrose Ave

        Birdhaven

        Sandton

        2196

        Wrenose Centre, 64 St Andrew St, Birdhaven, Wrenrose Centre, 64 St Andrew St, Birdhaven, Johannesburg..

        Mythos- Bedford Square

         

        Mythos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

        There is nothing that’s more enjoyable than a meze style lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  The new Bedford Centre Square is the ‘it’ place to be if you live on the Eastrand and was predictably packed when we arrived at midday. The square is a lovely place to go if you’re unsure what you want because it has an array of great restaurants to choose from.

        We actually tried to go to the restaurant next door but we stood at the entrance for about 5 minutes without being noticed so we decided to move on.As soon as we got to Mythos we were greeted and ushered to our table by one of the managers. No long waits and being ignored here! Our waiter was equally attentive through out the meal and food and drinks were delivered without any undue delay.

        The decor is exactly what you would expect from a Greek restaurant. Loads of white and azure with comfortable leather arm chairs. I felt like I could sit and relax all afternoon!

        A well stocked wine list was presented to us with a good variety of reasonably priced wines.

        We decided to start with a dip platter which comes with 3 dips of your choice and pita bread. A word to the wise, if you plan to have meze, first look at the platters to share as they are well priced and include the dips and pita. We decided not to go with the platter because after ordering the dips separately we didn’t have enough room for all that food.

        The Taramosalata (fish roe dip) was absolutely fantastic with a great lemony tang. The skordalia (potato dip), which is usually a firm favourite of mine, was a bit bland and needed seasoning and the Hummus was extremely tasty.

        For mains we had 4 meze dishes to share. As my hubby is a big eater I suspect he could have done with a bit more but I was just right.

        The fillet Souvlakia was extremely tender however a little bland. Cooked with a bit more salt and herbs it would have been great.

        I’ve had chicken livers at other Greek restaurants and been far more impressed. These could have done with a smidgen of sauce to prevent them from being dry.

        We also ordered fried haloumi which came out piping hot and still soft, as well as Spanakopita. The Spanakopita was a disappointment for me. These phyllo pastry triangles stuffed with feta and spinach should NEVER be fried in my opinion. They were oily and the beautiful texture of the phyllo was lost.

        Overall a very enjoyable lunch and I’ll definitely have to return to sample their selection of desserts. In addition to the traditional baklava I saw a Greek frozen Yoghurt and a Greek take on doughnuts. What could be more delicious!

        Overall rating 4/5

        Bedford Square
        Bradford Rd, Johannesburg

        011 615-2271

        Piatto-Stoneridge

        Piatto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

        Friday night saw us at Piatto in Stoneridge. We chose Piatto because of their varied menu. It is purported to cater to all tastes, whether you feel like a pasta or a steak, so seemed like a good option for our small group of family.
        The decor is stylish and modern but this restaurant is huge! There were quite a few patrons but it still looked half empty. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to be bumping into the table next door, but when you’re the only people in a section of a restaurant it tends to lack ambiance.

        Service here was very average. Although there were more than enough waitrons, they always seemed to be looking in the  opposite direction when you needed them.

        We ordered starters of chicken livers and haloumi. The livers were absolutely the best part of the meal. The sauce was delicious with a lemony tang and just the right amount of chilli. My husband and I literally mopped up every drop of the sauce!

        The portion of fried haloumi was generous and came with great sweet chilli sauce but was unfortunately quite chewy.

        For mains I ordered the chicken supreme which consists of a grilled breast with an artichoke, sundried tomato, caper and mushroom sauce and served with a pesto mash. Unfortunately the chicken and sauce came served on top of an enormous pile of lumpy mash which had no flavour of pesto. I would have far preferred if the mash was on the side. Now I had to wade through a giant portion of mash because all my delicious sauce was mixed in with it.

        My husbands sirloin peppadew looked amazing on the menu. A sirloin steak stuffed with mozzarella, feta and peppadew with a side of chips. The chips tasted like the  frozen supermarket variety and there was hardly any stuffing in the fillet. We realised that the reason the stuffing was so bland is that the feta used in there food is completely flavourless!
        Others at our table ordered pizzas ( generally hot and cheesy) and the spinach and ricotta nest pasta which was crying out for more napoletana sauce.

        At over R200 a head, considering we shared two starters and each had a main, I found Piatto to be overpriced and not particularly worthwhile.

        Overall rating 3.5/5

        Shop No.462, Stoneridge Centre, Johannesburg, 1609
        011 452 6547