Thami Kwazi
Lifestyle Print Editor
4 minute read
6 Jul 2018
3:29 pm

Take your taste buds on a world tour without leaving Joburg

Thami Kwazi

For more exotic tastes, go to Norwood and book a table at Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant.

Picture: iStock

Winter is bulking season, which basically means eat as much as possible. Get fat and justify it with the fact that you’re packing on the kilos because you need the extra padding to stay warm. Well, at least that’s how I’m justifying my current weight gain.

The chilly season has inspired me to do a food tour … if it didn’t exist before I just invented it. A food tour is travelling to different hotels and restaurants, trying out all the menus while additionally exploring the flavours of different nations.

I started my food travel by trying a coffee spot. I was surprised to learn that many people aren’t aware that Joburg has a Starbucks in the centre of Rosebank. Besides the extensive menu of coffees and teas, Starbucks also give you Wi-Fi and you can set up a mobile office for a few hours while you enjoy a cup of java.

Because this is about travel and trying out new things, I learned that many of the coffees at the franchise are Latin American blends and three different types of blends are used in one pot. They also offer African and Arabic blends. Drinking that coffee is a mental trip to another continent, because some coffee makers say the taste is defined by the culture of the area.

Walk over to Krispy Kreme, which is situated in the same shopping centre, to try some limited edition World Cup donuts. The glazed donuts are sprinkled with green coconut that resembles grass with an edible mini soccer ball in the centre. Krispy Kreme originates in New York and if you’ve never travelled to the Big Apple, it gives you a taste of real New York glazed donuts.

Lunch at the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton’s Vivace Bar and restaurant, where the menu has just been revamped. Open to both hotel guests and the public, the new menu comprises smoked venison carpaccio, line fish and root vegetable roulade.

An opportunity to sample eats from the world over. The hotel restaurant has kept the wines local, offering a Cape Boschendal wine with each each course. The Brut NV was popular with the ladies. Sort of a mini trip to the coast on your palette …

If you aren’t a fan of wine and prefer beer, the best place to take a tour is the InterContinental at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport. Airport Craft Brewers (ABC) is the only operational brewery to be found inside an airport in the southern hemisphere. It’s open to travellers and anyone visiting the airport. Order a rib eye steak or try the vegan salad.

But the best experience is the selection of the craft beers on offer. You can sample each beer by ordering the tasting tray that contains a 130ml of each. For those with a sweeter tooth, there are selections of cocktails, including a Moscow Mule, which seems appropriate with the Fifa World Cup currently trending. Why not try a taste of Russia without catching a flight?

For more exotic tastes, go to Norwood and book a table at Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant. Ethiopian food is a fusion of spices and meats. It’s always better to experience the food with a group of friends. The meal is served on a very large, round tray and you eat with your hands.

The eatery gives you an experience of what visiting Ethiopia would be like, from the beautiful waitresses to the TV screens playing music videos of Ethiopian artists, to the décor and the cultural hand washing before tucking into your meal.

For dessert, the place to get some of the best in Joburg is The Patisserie in Illovo. It looks like a deli in the heart of Paris. Give their pastries and confectionaries a try. My favourite is the macaroons. You’ll leave the store feeling like you have just had high tea in France.

You don’t have to leave Joburg to experience the flavours of the world. My quest isn’t over yet.

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