The Griffin is based on the British-born gastropub
The Gastropub has arrived in Jozi and it’s taking the town by storm. Dominique Brown popped down to her new ‘local’ and sampled the extensive menu that includes more than just delicious food.
When deciding on what to drink at The Griffin, you may find yourself umming and ahhing – if you’re even slightly indecisive then you’re going to need some time. The selection of craft beers runs on seemingly endlessly – there are over 30, with the usual favourites making an appearance – think Darling, Jack Black and Mitchells, as well as some not so usual offerings such as the Wells Banana Bread Beer. Many of the beers are offered on tap as well. But don’t stop here, how about a craft whisky? Of course, there’s a small, but refined, wine list too.
The Griffin is based on the British-born gastropub, which is a hybrid of sorts. It’s not quite a bar and not quite a restaurant, offering a casual-meets-refined-atmosphere that welcomes beer drinkers and wine snobs, foodies and non-fussy eaters alike. It’s a place where you can meet friends for a craft pint or enjoy a great meal. “Before I moved back to SA, I was cheffing in Gastropubs in London and always thought we needed to bring the concept over here. The food is populist not pretentious – it’s seasonal, fresh and made with a lot of love,” says owner and chef, Thom Hughes. Along with his business partner, Martin Jakoby, they have created a vibey spot that’s as much about the booze as it is about the food –my kind of place!
While enjoying your pint there are plenty of options to fill your tum. The menu is inspired by the team’s time overseas – Thom sites influences such as modern British food and his time teaching in Italy. He is also classically French trained. This varied repertoire is evident in the assortment of dishes from tapas-style platters to English bar snacks and classics such as moules marinières with frittes and garlic & parsley mayonnaise. Nibbles for the barfly who hasn’t the space or time for a real meal are found in the form of spice-roasted mixed nuts, decadent sautéd Spanish chorizo with potato or perhaps a bowl of kettle fried crisps.
Platters offering inspired snacks such as duck & Hoisin spring rolls, tandoori chicken, chili-salt squid, salmon & avocado stack and pork & prawn dumplings make a change from the usual skewered cocktail sausages and battered chicken strips. When it comes to sarmies, the bread options change from day to day and if I were you, I’d try the mouthwatering rare roasted beef fillet with rocket, gorgonzola cheese & horseradish.
Starters vary from chicken liver parfait to duck & shitake mushroom spring rolls but I’d really recommend the chili-salt squid with ginger, sweet chili & lime aioli and pickled cucumber. The acidic cucumber cuts perfectly through the crispy fried calamari. Onto mains – have a real pub meal with the beer battered fresh hake & hand-cut chips, jalapeno tartar sauce & a pickled onion – the jalapeno in the tartar is a great twist on the usual! The Griffin gourmet burger with bacon & Emmenthal, pickles, hand-cut chips & salad is a real win, but for those leaning toward a healthier palate, try the Scottish salmon fishcake with tarragon & dill on baby spinach with lemon butter, which is truly delicious.
The Griffin is young, loud and uber cool. It’s the new place to be seen – catch the sunset over Illovo from the upstairs balcony or book a table inside the slick and modern space. OK, the acoustics leave a little to be desired, but they’re working on it! Until then, just shout a little louder when you order your next round – it is a pub after all!