There’s a new restaurant on the block and it’s got locals, foodies and trend seekers…
James Diack is synonymous with fine food and wine, so when the Coobs chef and wine-lover announced that he was transforming his Parktown North eatery, The National, into a brand-new wine and cocktail bar concept called Douglas + Hale, I couldn’t wait to go and give it a try.
I snatched a booking for a Saturday afternoon lunch for two at Douglas + Hale a few weeks after it opened its doors in late September. The location of the eatery is spot on – tucked away on a quiet side street off 7th Avenue, it is just the place for al fresco dining – whether with that someone special for a romantic dinner or a group of friends for a social lunch.
Upon arriving, my lunch date and I grabbed a table outside on the beautiful deck that’s kitted out with dark wooden tables, funky light fixtures and pot plants galore. To kick-start our weekend lunch, we each ordered an Aperol Spritz, which we couldn’t fault. (PS: all the cocktails are served with glass straws as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws – I love that!) We didn’t order any wine, but it’s worth mentioning that this spot has a truly remarkable wine list, with bottles ranging from just R100 all the way up to thousands of Rands.
READ MORE ON DINING OUT HERE.
Deciding what to eat was a tough decision. While the menu doesn’t have The National’s famous wild boar mac ‘n cheese, it has loads of other options ranging from bitsy tapas-style options to main meals like burgers, spicy fried chicken and lamb sausage tagliatelle. In other words, it’s still comfort food central! I decided to opt for something different – a crispy tofu and glass noodle bowl with coconut broth – while my friend went with a chicken and spring onion sandwich with hand-cut fries off the lunch menu.
Our dishes both arrived swiftly and although mine looked tantalising and oh-so-colourful, it was a big disappointment. I was expecting something amazingly flavourful but found the dish to be very bland with little to no Asian flavour profiles. To add to that, the fried tofu was – I hate to say it – soggy instead of crispy, so I didn’t end up eating more than a piece or two. As for the sandwich, it was served on gorgeously fresh ciabatta bread and was seriously tasty however, the portion was almost embarrassingly small. For R75, you’d expect more than two tiny ciabatta slices sandwiched together. The food definitely left a lot to be desired.
READ MORE ON FOOD AND DRINK HERE.
While Douglas + Hale has an incredible setting – one that really makes you feel like you’re somewhere in Europe on a hot summer’s day – and serves up absurdly good cocktails, I found the food overrated so perhaps when I visit again (I’m bound to as it’s already emerged as a neighbourhood favourite in The Parks) I’ll skip the eats or stick to dishes that James Diack’s restaurants are known for.
READ MORE ON OUR TOP 5 HERE.
19 4th Avenue, Parktown North
010 900 3894
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!