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By Lunga Simelane


Gourmet experience at Time Square

Lunga Simelane recounts her Gourmet adventure at Times Square, providing an in-depth look into her moments and encounters during her visit.

Providing out-of-this world gourmet tastes, this salivating experience at Time Square is definitely worth your penny.

A media night of gourmet meandering across Time Square Menlyn Maine in Pretoria east turned into a food fest for a group of journalists last week.

Experiencing Time Square, we got to explore about five unique restaurants, allocated between 20-30 minutes to each restaurant.

The event brought a “speed dating” feel to it but the only difference was – we were getting to know “food” and not individuals.

Burger with chips. Picture: Supplied
Burger with chips. Picture: Supplied

An American-inspired dining adventure

The invite noted “wear flat shoes!” reflecting a wild night was ahead of us.

The first stop was at the amped New York-style and American inspired restaurant and bar- Moonshine. We were welcomed with Mimosa drinks and delicious mini chicken grilled burgers and a crispy, straight out of the wood-burning oven margherita pizza. While we did not spend much time there as we had more restaurants to visit, it is definitely a place I will check out again the next time I am in Time square. 

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Italian Pizza. Picture: Supplied
Italian Pizza. Picture: Supplied

Savouring Italian delights with a view

Next stop was the Forti Bistro, an Italian fine dining restaurant.

Met with an outstanding view on the outdoor balcony, which showcased Pretoria east, Forti offers the finest Italian cuisine. The different meal courses included Charcuterie Platters which incorporated a carefully curated selection of locally sourced and internationally imported cured meats, cheeses, and accompaniments, elegantly presented for your culinary pleasure.

While that was not all, we were then served the Panzarotti Porcini which had been handcrafted generously filled with the robust flavours of porcini mushrooms, bathed in a luscious truffle-infused sauce.

Each course was paired with thoughtfully selected wine. But because it was mostly dry wine, I enjoyed a semi-blend Nederburg Rose.

We then got to taste the restaurant’s signature pasta – Lumaconi where large pasta shells were filled with a delectable blend of beef and mushrooms, lovingly baked in a creamy rose béchamel sauce, crowned with a luxurious combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

I loved every taste of that!

The Raj. Picture: Supplied
The Raj. Picture: Supplied

From Fillet Ritrovo to Bollywood vibes at The Raj

We paired the Lumaconi pasta with Fillet Ritrovo, a soft prime fillet adorned with a delightful herb and mustard crust, expertly oven-roasted to perfection. It was accompanied by sautéed mushrooms, roast potatoes, seasonal roasted vegetables, and a duo of exquisite barnaise and red wine sauces.

Third times a charm – The Raj was our next stop. This is an Indian restaurant and which upon entry; we were embraced by Bollywood and halal vibes. The décor and the servers’ outfits say it all.

From the moment we walked in, I grinned from ear to ear. Indian food is by far my favourite cuisine.

The Raj caters for a variety of palates and I simply indulged in their creamy butter chicken, lamb Vindaloo and naan bread. I washed this all down with a divine pink gin and tonic drink.

One important point to note about Indian food was how it simply feeds into the soul. The ability to include different flavours and have it taste divine was the best thing about Indian cuisine.

The pool deck. Picture: Supplied
The pool deck. Picture: Supplied

Exploring Times Square’s vibrant night scene

From The Raj, we headed to La Rosa grill and tequileria – a Mexican joint. Filled with a festive ambiance, they served traditional tacos and burritos. Witnessing floating like tequila shots and my plus one for the night looking funny in the sombrero de charro Mexican inspired hat was the highlight of my night.

We were told to come hungry so I certainly made sure of that. However it was a huge challenge having to pace oneself with the different meals. The one thing you want to make sure of is to try to eat everything you are being offered and not miss out.

The Traders no-under 18 beer hall hangout was the fourth stop. This is a nightclub and live band entertainment venue. Traders were most probably my favourite as it was inclusive of my favourite type of food. Ribs, chicken, wings and meaty pizza were part of the offers.

Traders and Moonshine general manager Jacques Fourie said this was one spot loved by many.

 “This is where the old Fiere’s spot at Times Square used to be. So part of the way that we look at [creating] spaces [is] that we innovate and try new things. We brought trainers on board. It’s a brand that’s synonymous with the Sun International. We had trainers back in Sun City in the early days.” he said.

“This is also the spot where we’re going to be showing all of the World Cup rugby games. As you can see, we have got plenty of screens up. We also have Karaoke. This place is always packed with people.”

Inside view of Maslow Hotel. Picture: Supplied
Inside view of Maslow Hotel. Picture: Supplied

Dining, views, and luxury at Maslow Hotel

It is evidently clear I ate everything which was being offered. So it is best to trust my judgment and head over to Time Square to experience such delightful meals.  

Our last spot was on the 15th floor of the Maslow Hotel at the Solis bar. Giving a view of the eastern Pretoria like no other, we enjoyed dessert and some cocktail night caps while overlooking the beautiful city.

We wrapped up the night at the luxurious five-star ‘Zenith Level’ room. Pretoria’s contemporary Maslow Time Square hotel is a novel concept in hospitality. It has unique three-star, four-star and five-star graded rooms, which gives one choices to suit their budgets.

Inside view of Maslow Hotel. Picture Supplied
Inside view of Maslow Hotel. Picture: Supplied

It comes standard with all 238 rooms, including the 10 suites. The difference in the grading lies in each room’s size, design and decorative finishes. The hotel operates on dynamic pricing, with a three-star entry level suite costing R2 200 (bed and breakfast). Four-star graded rooms offer more and would suit families wanting to stay longer to tour the city.

The hotel offers value added packages that include Date Night, Stay for 3 nights and pay for 2 and Senior Citizen packages, with the best rates available via the Sun International website booking engine.


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