The Social Kitchen and Bar, Exclusive Books



The new Social Kitchen and Bar, @ Exclusive Books in Hyde Park

I’ve been raving about the new Exclusive Books in Hyde Park for a while now, but only yesterday did I eat in their new restaurant, The Social Kitchen and Bar.

I was put off initially. The queue was long and we were told there would be a wait of 45 minutes. We decided to sit at the bar and have a cocktail but a waitress came immediately and said ‘Come, I have three empty tables.’ And she gave us one of the best tables by the window with the most stunning view of Johannesburg.

So, their queuing system is not quite perfect but I guess it is early days. Our waiter was super friendly and explained to us that the aim of the restaurant, apart from divine food, is about ‘social’. They do not want to see phones or computers but they do encourage conversation.

Not the best start for me. First, the queue mishmash, and then really, I don’t need anyone telling me I cannot use my phone or computer. Especially as neither a phone or computer was in sight.

But then – the waiter relaxed, we relaxed, and we went through the menu. It’s a fabulous menu. They encourage you to order a few small things and share, which is exactly what we did. Grilled goat’s cheese with pear and raspberry foam, bagel crisps with an eggplant dip to die for, and a spinach and feta spanakopita.

Each dish was beyond divine. Beautifully presented and seriously delicious. The prices are high but the standard of food (they have a very good chef who was previously working in a 3 star Michelin restaurant) is high and the service was excellent. As is the ambience.

We ended off with a lemon curd dessert, espresso and Christmas shopping. Exclusive Books has always been a wonderful bookshop and now, with this extraordinary restaurant, it is really one of the best in Johannesburg.

I loved it. I’ll definitely be back, especially to sit at the bar (which we never got to do) and have one of their cocktails.

It’s definitely the place to see and be seen. We happened to see Merle from Premier Classe Suites enjoying a meal there and she did give us a knowing glance.

‘It’s fabulous, isn’t it,’ she said.

It really is.