It was a case of third time lucky when we visited The Eatery in Claremont. The previous two occasions didn’t pan out due to some of the other bru’s having to pull out, one reason being that a bru decided he would rather go ski in Austria. Like, seriously, a skiing holiday over a burger and beer night?!
Having the same owners as Eat Out The Box (in Constantia Main Road), we knew that, if nothing else, we were in for a helluva meal! This restaurant is conveniently situated in Belvedere Square, the centre on the corner of Belvedere and Keurboom Roads. Having gone there a number of times with the wife and kids, I know it to be a great place to take the family for a meal. They have a very well equipped jungle gym which is easily visible from their outside seating area. This time, however, I was looking forward to experiencing it with beer goggles on (the restaurant, that is – not the jungle gym). The first thing I have to say is that their name doesn’t lie! They promise wood fired and that was indeed the wonderful aroma which we were instantly greeted with on arrival. We sat at the covered outside area and the other bru’s instantly commented how the restaurant was bigger than they thought it would be. This area was fairly full which helped to create a nice buzzing atmosphere. We immediately gave our waiter, Keenan, his first task of the night – our beer order. Their craft beer offering isn’t the largest, however it is well varied and all very enjoyable. I started with a Lionheart Lager, another bru opted for the spiced MadKing Pilsner whilst the other two went with a Devils Peak First Light Golden Ale.
With the first beers having gone down like homesick moles, we ordered our second round. We changed things up this time with my choice being a Naked Mexican Lager. It was at this point that Keenan made us aware that their Happy Hour had begun with all craft beer pints dropping from R48 to R35. Whilst I highly doubt that we would’ve waited 10 minutes before ordering our first beers so as to pay the Happy Hour price (such was our insatiable thirst), we felt it was careless of Keenan not to have let us know about it when taking the first order.
Right – let’s eat! The starter options were extremely varied with something for every craving. Our chilli popper fetish meant that we ordered a portion of their “Piggy Poppers” (jalapeno pepper stuffed with feta, served either crumbed or wrapped in bacon and served with a cranberry sauce) which come four in a portion. I am not sure how the choice of how the pepper is served works – whether one chooses or whether the chef chooses? I assume the latter as we didn’t notice the choice until it had arrived. Thankfully for us it arrived wrapped in bacon. It was deeeeelicous! The heat was totally manageable – until that final bite! It was as though all the heat from the pepper had filtered down to the bottom, making for a fiery entry into my mouth which sent my tongue into a spasm. What better way to save my tongue from capitulation than by hastily consuming another Lionheart Lager. Added to this, we also ordered a “Ma Se Bobotie’” which is pretty much a bobotie spring roll. This comes in a portion of two but was large enough for us to halve them and still have enough for each to enjoy. The pastry was perfectly crisp and the bobotie filling was as if straight out of a Cape Malay kitchen. Once done with the starters it was onto our mains. Being famous for pizzas at their sister establishment, it was an extremely tempting choice to order this at The Eatery, particularly when that smell had infested our nasal cavities on arriving. Obviously, though, this was never an option as we were there for the burgers!
The choices were fantastic and right up our alley. The great combinations of toppings made it literally a toss-up as to who chose what (normally there is always one bru who has to have the less popular option for reviewing purposes). We ended up going for the Cape Towner (Emmenthaler, bacon, avo, bbq basting), the Ranchero (bacon, double cheddar cheese – served with one slice on top and one on the bottom, spicy tomato relish), the Nkandla (feta, avo, cranberry sauce, rocket), and the Fetapeno (crispy jalapenos, feta). See what I mean about great combinations?! I went halvies with another bru so we could try both the Ranchero and the Fetapeno. I was intrigued as to how the crispy jalapenos would be served as a whole jalapeno in a burger would be very difficult to bite into without tearing out half of the toppings. Thankfully they were far easier than that to eat as they were made into little ball-sized bites. The burgers all came with generous portions of toppings and were all eaten to rave reviews from all of us. The chips were perfectly cooked and served just the way I like them – chunky and crispy. Battered onion rings are also included and were exactly how they should be. The patties themselves, whilst extremely tasty, could have been more moist. All in all the burgers all received thumbs up from the bru’s.
A nice option offered by The Eatery is the choice of whether to have beef, ostrich, chicken, or mushroom as the patty – a very clever way of catering to all types of diners. Another good option offered, either for people with a large appetite or for two people not wanting to have an entire meal (or, indeed, for kids to share) is to “double up”. For an additional charge of between R60-R70 (depending on the burger) you can have an additional patty served along with its own toppings. We managed to order one more beer each before Happy Hour had ended, after which we called for the bill. By the time we had left there was one table left in the restaurant. The initial buzz of diners didn’t last the entire time we were there as it seemed that most of the people were aiming for either an early supper or just to eat and run. That said, it’s definitely a great place to take the family, day or night, and really offers something for everyone. One of the better meals we have had, for sure!
Beginnings – Very good variety of choices, and delicious. Nothing to fault at all. 5
Burgers – Very clever choices offered when ordering. Toppings and accompaniments were spot on. The patty itself was the only let-down, being slightly on the dry side 4
Beers – Not the hugest range by any means, but the beers offered are well selected and delicious. Rather expensive at R48 per pint – but there is always Happy Hour. 2.5
Bringers – Keenan was very pleasant and efficient, however he loses points for not having mentioned the Happy Hour when we placed our initial beer order. 3.5
Background – Nice buzz and wonderful wood fired aroma in the restaurant. The buzz didn’t last very long as diners weren’t there till late. Great atmosphere for kids, particularly in the daytime. 3