I’ve always been a fan of the Hard Rock Café. Most of the times when I get the opportunity to travel, the iconic Hard Rock will be one of the first destinations I seek out. My very first experience though was a ‘local’ one. There was a Hard Rock Café in Bloemfontein, my student town. Yes, it was several years ago, but as a rock chick, I found it very entertaining indeed. I must also admit, for me the charm of the Hard Rock Café has always been more about the vibe, the nostalgic feel, the rock paraphernalia, the VH1 music videos showing on big screens.
So, I was quite curious to find out more about the newly revamped menu on offer.
Off we went to Menlyn Mall for an early lunch to explore a bit more. Yes, we were hosted, I want to mention that as well.
Walking into the Hard Rock Café (should I rather refer to it as HRC in future for the sake of brevity?), you walk through the HRC Shop. For those of you who haven’t seen it before, it is stocked with HRC merchandise, keychains, T-shirts, and there’s always branded items unique to the specific branch. Like this one, with HRC Pretoria branded goodies. Especially when traveling, it is always cool to get a memoir to take home and to prove that you were there!
We chose a booth near the entrance, was made to feel welcome by Albert and the team, and took a look around.
Okay, granted I haven’t been to HRC in a while (so it can be that the other branches have similar paraphernalia), but what I loved about the HRC Pretoria is that they feature quite a few bands that remind me of my youth – and my massive crush on (pre-Gwen Stefani) Gavin Rossdale. Oh just look at me, using pop culture references and all.
Okay, that was enough to whet my appetite! But first, drinks!
HRC has got quite a few delicious-sounding signature cocktails, but we were there to try menu items with the “NEW!” icon next to it. After some deliberation, we settled on the Sparkling Blue Hawaiian (Coconut Rum, Vodka, Blue Curacao shaken with fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, finished with prosecco) for me, and an Espresso Martini (Vodka, Kahlua, fresh-brewed espresso shaken until frothy and chilled) for Jan.
Coffee vs Tropical. Ebony and Marine! Both drinks were well-prepared, were boozy enough, and were the perfect intro to a lazy Sunday lunch.
Next, we tackled the ‘starters and shareables’ menu. Looking at the menu, it looks as if this section underwent an entire revamp. The vast majority of eats listed were ‘new’. Including Classic Nachos, Spinach Dip, Three-Cheese & Roma Tomato Flatbread and three different sliders. We decided to try “One Night In Bangkok Spicy Shrimp” and “Whiskey Bacon Jam Sliders”.
The Spicy Shrimp was served on a bed of deliciously crisp and tangy (not drowning in mayo) coleslaw. The shrimp was actually not spicy, which is a good thing because nowadays my spicy-food-tolerance-level isn’t what it used to be. A lovely starter! The sliders were equally yum – with the homemade Jack Daniels’ Whisky Jam adding an almost smoky taste to the mini-burgers.
So it was around here that we realized that we were maybe a tad too ambitious. Although we shared the starters, Hubby was actually very close to tapping out! But fear not friends, I soldiered on!
The HRC showstopper is definitely the 24-karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger (yes, Gold Leaf!), but sanity prevailed, seeing that we did have very hearty starters. I may be back for that rock star burger at a later stage! I kept it relatively light. I opted for a salad. But, knowing HRC by now, it was not just any ol’ boring house salad.
Wait, let me rather quote from the menu.
“Steak Salad, 227g grilled Fajita steak on a bed of fresh mixed greens tossed in a blue cheese vinaigrette, with pickled red onions, red peppers and tomatoes, finished with crispy shoestring onions and blue cheese crumbles”.
How could I resist! Steak, blue cheese – what’s not to love? Albert even checked how I wanted the steak prepared (medium rare of course), and when this salad was placed in front of me, I just knew I made the right choice!
The steak was perfectly prepared, super juicy and tender. The little bits of blue cheese with the pickled red onion was just divine and yes, I finished it all, every last bite!
Albert insisted that we can’t leave with a sweet treat to round off the meal. Again, quite a few delicious-sounding options available on the menu! How about a boozy milkshake? It was tough one! In the end, I decided to go with my idea of perfect decadence – New York Cheesecake.
A deliciously baked cheesecake with drizzle of strawberry, chocolate and caramel served with a big blop of whipped cream. Delectable!
Thanks for HRC Menlyn Pretoria for hosting us, our expectations were exceeded! We will be back for sure 🙂