Walnut Grove lets you step out of the bustle of Sandton City and take refuge amongst the beautifully decorated alcoves. We were invited to sample a few highlights from the new menu and what a dining experience it was. The food is chic, fun and unpretentious. I can just imagine a lazy lunch with a friend and a glass of wine.
An institution in Johannesburg, Walnut Grove has been around for 35 years. Three years ago it was given a major revamp and management was taken over by the next generation in the family business. It feels lighter and brighter but succeeds in retaining its classic feel.
We were greeted with delicious Mojitos and a large table with incredible décor. Spread before us was a combination of fresh produce and vintage books and typewriters – a striking representation of what Walnut Grove is about. Set out on the table and practically forming part of the décor, was a selection of cheeses, breads, crudites, dips and fruit. Set out on wooden boards was Casablanca Salad Shells and a variety of Micro-Wraps. I enjoyed the selection of fresh bread and tucked into the cheese and cruidites. I tried the hummus, halloumi, polenta, feta, olive and avo wrap. It’s a decent lunch option for sure with a strong Mediterranean spirit. The salad shell of mixed greens with cous-cous, halloumi, avocado, roast vegetables, sunflower seeds, almonds and pomegranate vinaigrette was a fresh combination and hinted at a lovely full size salad.
As the mains arrived, we ordered a glass of red wine. The wine by the glass selection is limited but the full menu has a lovely variety. A selection of main courses was presented on a wooden board. The Paneer Cashew Saffron Curry was served with rice. It had a pleasant bite and strong cashew essence. The Rustic African Nachos were served with cheese, guacamole, salsa and chilli. The greatest visually striking item was the Red Velvet Burger. I love how a dessert trend has been incorporated into a classic dish! The artisan bread is infused with beetroot and served with a beef burger, cream cheese and beetroot relish. The flavor combination was spot on and I will definitely return (with friends) for the burger. The last taster was the Black Pepper and Lemon Zest Calamari Basket. The calamari was cooked fine and the crumb was light.
Next we were presented with spoons of Mascarpone and Coffee Caviar. It was an interesting experience! It balanced perfectly with my wine.
We were invited to help with the icing of the famous rainbow cake. It was entertaining and there were quite a few laughs. I’m not sure that we’re ready to take on the 10 cakes a day challenge though!
The finale of the evening was the dessert board. A trio of gourmet milkshake shots, summer macaroons and a red velvet cupcake. Between the coconut, the strawberry and the Oreo milkshakes I must admit to the chocolate being my favorite but the others were good too. The red velvet cupcake is airy and soft – as a cupcake should be. They serve miniature versions with tea and coffee too. The watermelon macaron tasted like a summer’s day, the apple and cucumber macaron was a delicate refreshment and the crème brule macaron was the highlight
The service was incredible with the team going out of their way to look after of us. You can tell that the friendly faces and caring attitude wasn’t a show for the night and that the team care about what they do. The food, the décor and the service exude a passion that cannot be replicated.
Walnut Grove is highly recommended for a leisurely meal – they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – either with friends or if you want a private break from the world. They also cater for private functions.
Walnut Grove is open every day for lunch and dinner. +27 (011) 783 6111
For more reviews, see the Walnut Grove listing on Zomato
*I was invited by Zomato and treated to a complimentary meal. The review of the restaurant is my honest opinion and is not influenced by the invitation.