The Grillroom and Sushi Bar recently opened its doors in Brooklyn Pretoria. A brave move, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It sure seems to be the hottest new kid on the block though. We were seriously excited to get the opportunity to visit this trendy spot and see what the fuss is all about.
First things first. This restaurant is located in an office park block. Which for me, personally is a bonus. It means more than enough undercover and safe parking.
Upon arrival, we were swept away on a tour of the restaurant by the General Manager, Mark Williams. Mark’s vast experience, passion and drive quickly became clear as he showed us around like a proud parent. It is a beautiful space indeed. Architecturally you are greeted by high multi-story floors and ceilings with ample natural light.
The sheer size of this impressive venue sets the stage for a few distinct areas to make yourself at home. Whether you are meeting colleagues for after-work drinks, have a lazy and chilled family lunch, or a special occasion to celebrate, there will be the perfect spot for you.
We got a sneak peek at the planned cigar lounge and spent some time in the dedicated wine cellar. The decor is beautifully stylish and classic, without being intimidating or stuffy.
Once back at our table, we took some time to peruse the wine menu. Priorities. The wine menu is quite balanced, offering something for every wine sipper. I am a huge fan of the option to have most of the wines on offer, available by the glass.
This makes it more convenient to enjoy a suitable wine with the various courses and flavours on the menu.
Needless to say, we started off with a sushi platter. Prepared in-house and made from scratch, the range of sushi is quite impressive. Classic California rolls, maki, fashion sandwiches, sashimi, and a poke bowl option will leave any sushi lover fully satisfied.
I seriously had to pace myself because most of you know the sheer volume of sushi I can consume. But, we were warned that there’s are a lot more in store, and boy, that was an understatement.
Head Chef Jamie Sutherland offered us a few starters to try, to get a feel and taste of what The Grillroom and Sushi Bar’s menu is all about. This also gave us the opportunity to have a chat with him and to learn a bit more about this experienced and well-traveled chef. Chef Jamie’s 30-something year career started off in the United Kingdom and his culinary journey brought him to South Africa, working in a few prestigious Jozi restaurants, corporate catering, and as well as a few stints in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. This global exposure and cultural nuisances, together with the focus on quality and seasonal locally-sourced products come through loud and clear in the menu and the menu items.
The starter tasting included the quinoa salad (deliciously fresh with asparagus, avocado, and a light lemon dressing), as well as the smoked carpaccio roll (interestingly, the carpaccio are presented and served in a roll form).
We also tried the tastiest chicken kebabs (served on a bed of couscous and a spicy dressing) AND harissa and lime salt and pepper calamari. Yes, it is quite a spread! Each dish uniquely different and perfectly balanced.
Moving on to the main meals! I couldn’t resist the highly recommended duck confit leg, served with seasonal veggies (and the most divine dauphinoise potatoes I ever had) while my other half opted for the juicy rib-eye steak.
As an extra special treat, we also had a taste of the deliciously decadent lamb loin chops. Here is another example of quality produce do the talking. Absolutely superb!
As you can imagine, we were very much on a food high by now. A true feast of the senses. But, we still have desserts to come and I am not a quitter. As the grand finale we managed to get a sneak peek of the autumn/winter desserts that were launched later that week.
If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to leave room for these treats.
The coconut panna cotta (beautifully plated with a raspberry sponge, beetroot jelly, and homemade rose beetroot sorbet) and the decadent and rich millionaire shortbread (those chocolate orange bonbons and bitter orange ice cream) is just beyond divine. It was the classic and cozy classic bread and butter pudding (with cinnamon ice cream) that stole my heart. Perfect for the cooler months to come!
The Grillroom and Sushi Bar is definitely a highly recommended experience, adding to Pretoria’s often underrated culinary landscape.
Thank you Simone, Chef Jamie and Mark for your warm hospitality and generosity.