I try my absolute best not to eat at big chain restaurants very often. Sure, the idea of finding the same standard of food no matter which branch you go to is great when all you want is a quick fry-up or a cup of coffee but I almost always find that there is a serious lack of passion in those big chain spots. I’m the kind of gal that loves to see the chef peeking his out from the kitchen and who loves nothing more than to hear the story behind the food on my plate. I’m also the kind of girl who likes to know that a spot is owner-run and that said owner is crazy passionate about his or her space. Which is why I fell head over heels in love with the passionately owner-run Craft restaurant. This Parkhurst restaurant has become a firm favourite with Joburg foodies and by George it’s easy to see why!
Perhaps the coolest thing about Craft is that everything has been hand picked by the owners Wesley and Joe, two blokes who have a serious passion for artisan food and drinks. After successfully running a few other food establishments the two men decided they wanted to go into business together and created a space that celebrated the true craft of food of drinks. A place where foodies, like themselves could come and enjoy only the best hand crafted stuff. There’s no mass produced stuff here – fresh, locally sourced ingredients and hand crafted drinks take the place of mass produced factory products and the passion of each food artisan involved in getting that dish or drink to your table can be savoured in each mouthful.
I love this spot but there are a few things you need to know before visiting this awesome foodie hangout. Firstly, be ready for an assault on the senses. The menu is huge and can be quite overwhelming when you first visit and the smells wafting from the kitchen and plates arriving at other people’s tables do not make your decision any easier. Luckily the owners and waiters are always on hand to talk you through the menu and offer some advice. We had a quick chat with Wesley and after that it was super easy to make a decision on our starters, mains and dessert. The menu offers a wide range of choices for dinners and you can choose to tuck into everything from a gourmet salad, or wood fired pizza to a decadent grill or a delicious artisan cheese board to share.
Just like the food menu, the drinks menu is a ginormous. It’s an incredible THREE pages long and offers everything from craft beers and ciders, boutique wines and craft spirits to hand-made milkshakes, smoothies and artisan coffee. The third thing you need to know is that artisan food and drinks do not come cheap – the food does seem expensive but trust me it is beyond worth it! The portion sizes are really generous and I would have no problem heading back to Craft for a meal and paying what is actually quite reasonable prices for such excellent food. My only tip would be to pace yourself when it comes to drinks. If you know you’re a thirsty Thelma then rather opt for a bottle of beautiful boutique wine to share with friends than 3 or 4 cocktails – ignore this advice and chances are you will cry when the bill comes.
We were at Craft for quite a while the night I went to review so brace yourself for the list of things we tried. For dinner I had the Mussel Pot (mussels prepared in a creamy white wine sauce, served with skin-on wedges and an artisan roll to dunk – R125), my dinner buddies had the Craft Burger (200g beef hand-pressed patty on a bed of greens, aioli and tomato compote with a choice of hand-cut skin-on wedges or a side salad – R85) and the Less-the-Bread Beef Burger (two grilled cauliflower rostis filled with 200g beef patty, avocado, blooming onion petals, spicey pineapple coulis and red onion served with sweet potato fries – R95). My mussel pot was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t get enough of the white wine sauce in the dish (I liked it so much I was trying to eat it with a spoon when my bread was done). I also sampled some of the Less-The-Bread Burger and was wowed by the grilled cauliflower rostis – this burger is a must-try, even if you haven’t given up bread!
We also sampled some delicious drinks on the night. For dessert we tried one of their famous spiked milkshakes, namely the Ferrero Roche and Hazelnut milkshake (75) and to wet our palates we tried some incredible craft tequilas (the best tequila you will ever have!), a mysterious and oh-so-delicious chocolate shot (which Wesley refused to give us the recipe for, sigh) and a few craft beers and ciders. I really loved that Craft offers truly unique and artisan craft drinks and the chances of you seeing ‘larger’ or more well-known craft producers like &Union or CBC on the menu are slim.
All-in-all Craft is the perfect place to go if you want to sip and sample something new. It’s the type of place where your palate is given the chance to explore all sorts of new tastes and flavours – it’s a taste adventure and I can’t wait to visit again very very soon.
For more information on Craft say Hi to Craft on Facebook.