Hottest places to eat and drink this festive season

Londiwe Dlomo Journalist
Restaurant and nightclub Konka.
Restaurant and nightclub Konka.
Image: Supplied.

Take a seat at the table in three of Jozi’s trendiest and most vibrant chill-out spots.

Dining at its finest: Level 7

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It’s so good, I go back for seconds. I have been at this elegant eating establishment before for its dinner service, and now I’m here for lunch. Ensconced on the top floor of the new Radisson OR Hotel in Kempton Park, Level 7 offers service and food that will have you convinced you’re on cloud nine.

The huge windows in the main dining area give you an unfettered view of the sky, and occasionally you can spot a plane. In addition, the Sky Bar has daybeds and a pool that are perfect for those social media posts.

This time around I opt to have some of the seafood on offer. For the starter, I have prawn spring rolls with a ginger, lime, and sweet-soya dipping sauce, while my lunch date has sushi. Both dishes are a 10 out of 10.

For the main, we go for the seafood platter for two, which consists of baby lobster, queen and tiger prawns, calamari, mussels, and line fish (langoustine optional). It is paired with a bottle of 2019 Oldenburg Chardonnay. The food is exquisite, meticulously prepared, balanced in terms of flavour, and impeccably presented.  For dessert, we have the pear malva pudding and the Lindt chocolate fondant, accompanied by a bottle of Naudé Natural Sweet Mourvèdre.

City-slicker chic: Tang 

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At Tang, nestled in Sandton’s Nelson Mandela Square, you are bound to bump into magazine editor or a luxury-brand executive discussing business with a media personality or two.

The dark, moody interior is calming and gives the illusion of intimacy, even though the tables are quite close to each other. The service is excellent, and my waitress, Beaula Vukomba, is friendly and knowledgeable about the menu.

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Tang offers contemporary Asian dishes inspired by Japanese izakayas (informal bars that serve drinks and snacks) and classic Cantonese cuisine. It is young, fresh, and experimental with an irresistible dash of luxury. 

A stand-out is the deboned chicken wings, which are tender, smoky, and sprinkled with sesame seed.

The sauce gives it a smouldering yet elegant heat. Wagyu and Angus beef cuts also make an appearance. The beef is a meat lover’s dream and I could happily have sat there until someone rolled me out the door.

The Asian flavours are a delight, so imagine my surprise when I discover that executive chef Vixa Kalenga has never been to Asia, and instead constructed the menu by studying Asian cuisine and consulting with owner Nicky van Der Walt. Kalenga must be some type of food savant — his creations are enjoyable and will have you clamouring for more.

For the vibes: Konka Soweto

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The appeal of most eating and drinking spots is rarely what’s in their parking lot, but at Konka Soweto, that’s the main attraction. Situated in Pimville, Soweto, the young eatery has had social media in its grip since the first photos of its drinks menu — and of the luxury SUVs and supercars parked out front — went viral. 

There is a certain vibe when you get there, a rumble of energy that intensifies as you are ushered from the gate to the entrance and past all that horsepower. I cannot contain a frisson of excitement as I squeeze in between two parked Porsches to make way for a lime-green McLaren that’s crawling towards me. In case you are wondering, only the fancy cars park in front of Konka — there is another parking area available for the less well-endowed.

Inside, the decor is simple and so are the food options. On offer are platters with pap, wors, chicken wings, beef, and grilled fish. The drama is all in the drinks, and at least two bottles of Ace of Spades champagne are ordered (there may even have been a third…).

Most people in the crowd are in their early thirties and upwards. There isn’t a single “skrr skrr” in sight.