Social Kitchen & Bar at Exclusive Books Hyde Park is a revelation – where else in Jozi can you peruse fiction while on your way to the dinner table? Bookshelves extend to a masterpiece restaurant where the glass back wall opens up sweeping views over Hyde Park. Spanish tiles abound and through the open kitchen waft tantalising aromas. The menu offers tapas-style plates before moving onto impressive mains from a Josper oven. We started with tasty poached squid, chorizo and lemon arancini; after which we tucked into grilled cêpe mushroom and thyme-butter risotto with truffle cream – silky and utterly delicious! Chermoula-marinated sea bass with saffron-poached new potatoes followed, before a hearty hanger-steak doused in caramelised shallots and meaty jus. The dessert list offers a melody of fruity flavours and, while the wine list is extensive, there are punchy cocktails, the names of which carry through the wonder of books into the dining experience. Hyde Park Corner, Jan Smuts Avenue; 011-268-6039.
By Taryn Das Neves