Zomato foodie meetup at Craft*

I was both excited and surprised when I received an invite to Zomato’s foodie meetup hosted by Craft. I have read about the previous ones with much envy so I felt quite honoured to attend. Before I get into the yumminess of Craft I have to mention that if you don’t have the Zomato app on your phone, you seriously need to download it now! If you love food and eating out (who doesn’t?!), Zomato is an app that will help choosing a restaurant to eat at or finding menus, reviews, photos and directions just that much easier. It is an app that I use everyday and is only second to my social networking apps in terms of usage.

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Craft restaurant is situated on the trendy 4th Avenue in Parkhurst. It has replaced the oh so ghastly Mugg and Bean whom I have a hate-hate relationship with. When I first heard of Craft I immediately thought, just great, yet another another restaurant hopping onto the craft beer wagon. What the word selfie was to 2013 is what craft beer has been to the food world in South Africa. We have seen numerous gastropub/artisan restaurants pop up and serve the beloved craft beer as well as existing restaurants. And boy, oh boy have the public been loving it. The selling of beer sometimes does not go with the idea of the restaurant but that of course is second tier when making money is the most important consideration. I was really glad that Craft offers that much more than a typical restaurant that simply serves craft beer. They have a great atmosphere and vibe that is suited for most and not a limiting pub scene. The picture below which is inspired by @Nafisa1’s collage on twitter does a great job of summing up the magical experience I enjoyed at Craft.

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On arrival we sipped (yes sipped!), not shooted Don Julio tequila with sangrita. My boyfriend was super impressed to learn I was served tequila the way it is meant to be served. Craft really spoilt us on the night with a tequila and craft beer tasting.

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The restaurant is tiny with an eclectic mix of dark furniture that adds to the cosiness and vibe. I really loved the set up of stools in the bar area which has an open view of the road and allows people to sit outside as well. The décor in the kitchen is unique with the words Craft visible on black tile, pops of green from the grass and a copper pizza oven which adds character. Attention to detail is something the owners have taken into account and can be seen on the salt and pepper shakers as well as the serviettes which have the words Craft printed on.

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The craft beer is stocked from Smack Republic which I like because it is different to the same old ones you see everywhere else. Apart from the usual alcohol and craft beers, Craft also has a wide range of non alcoholic drinks to choose from including smoothies, juices, gourmet milkshakes and well as cordials which are served in a pitcher. I opted for a strawberry smoothie which was average as it tasted like a thicker version of drinking yoghurt. An ice cream based smoothie with fresh fruit would be better on the taste buds. I think the mix of yoghurt to other ingredients was possibly too high. The presentation in a little wooden tray was great and I was impressed that I wasn’t served a smoothie that was dripping and leaking over the sides. That is something I hate and happens at every other restaurant.

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You will notice that the menu does not have any starters. If you are a big group then you can opt for either a focaccia/pizza bianci or a meat/cheese/veg board to share. However if you are two people then you won’t find anything suitable. Dishes that I look forward to trying on future visits are the organic chicken gourmet pie, baked spinach and ricotta filled pasta shells and the fillet of salmon. It would be nice if there was a chicken or lamb burger on the menu. I am not a fan of brie but the fig, brie, and olive tapenade pizza bianci drizzled with honey for R79 was simply delicious! The unique flavour combinations were a real winner.

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I also loved the rosa tomato, fresh basil and mascarpone pizza bianci for R89. This had fresh ingredients with the creamiest mascarpone I have ever tasted. Some sections of the pizza was a tad dry which could probably be combatted with a brush of olive oil or spreading the mascarpone over the slice like butter!

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We had a combination of the cured meat board and cheese board that is on the menu. This contained a variety of cheeses, pita bread, pesto, olive tapenade, strawberries, grapes, gherkins, sundried tomatoes, peppadews, Parma ham, pastrami and jam. There was also honey to go with the cheese in a cute jar. I really enjoyed the different assortment of cheeses. The pita bread however was very thick and strangely yellow which is not consistent to that served in Greek restaurants. The olive tapenade had no taste. But oh, the pesto, how I loved the pesto!. It was roughly chopped fresh pesto that still managed a creaminess to it and was just so darn delicious. I will have definitely be having dreams about eating that pesto again! I think the prices of the boards are decently priced at between R109 -R129. They are perfect for nibbling on if you are meeting a few people for drinks.

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For the main course I ordered the seafood pizza topped with mussels, shrimps, calamari and 3 queen prawns for R99. This was sadly the only thing I really didn’t like about Craft. I prefer a thin and crispy pizza base and this was thick, doughy and burnt underneath. The queen prawns needed flavouring like a Cajun spice or garlic aioli or lemon butter as they were bland. I found it unusual that the mussels weren’t in their shell on the pizza and drizzled with lemon butter, the calamari was purple and rubbery and overall the seafood tasted quite bitter. Seafood itself is bland and as such the pizza really needed another ingredient to lift the flavours of the pizza. It was overall a bad pizza which I probably should not have ordered as this isn’t a pizza place!

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I had a bite of the fillet of salmon served on a bed of wilted greens and quinoa topped with a mint Greek yoghurt for R139 which both looked and tasted delicious.

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I would really have loved to try the paella made with organic chicken, chorizo, mussels, prawns and mixed peppers for R130 but I don’t eat chorizo. The attention to detail and presentation of dishes was another plus.

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Popcorn panacotta infused with popcorn and served with a salted caramel crisp for R45 was deliciously creamy. I couldn’t taste the popcorn infusion in the panacotta and I wasn’t entirely sure if the popcorn on the side should be eaten with it but I didn’t attempt to break it as we were all sharing desserts.

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I don’t care much for cheesecake but this creamy caramel cheesecake was a winner for others.

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My personal favourite was the chocolate truffle, a flourless Belgian chocolate cake served with a soft cream and berry compote. This was so extremely delicious. It was light and fluffy and gooey and chocolatey and just so yummy. Everything a dessert should be. The cream served with it was a perfect complement, I did not mind that it was not ice cream instead. I loved that there was a berry compote to break up the sweetness of the dessert. This was bladdy amazing for R45 and hands down the best dessert I have ever eaten.

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We ended of the evening with a highlight of gourmet milkshakes. Not only did they look amazingly good but the taste was even better! The Ferrero milkshake was the best I have had and was the perfect combination of chocolatey and sweet plus topped with a Ferrero! The Oreo milkshake was not sweet enough for me and the biscuit pieces sank to the bottom. Though this was still yum an addition of more ice cream would make it perfecto. I didn’t like the lemon meringue milkshake simply because I don’t like the taste of lemon meringue which is sour. The candyfloss milkshake was deliciously sweet and a popular flavour. I surprisingly loved the ginger even though I don’t like ginger. This is truly a place that does amazingly delicious milkshakes that are actually gourmet. I can’t wait to go back and have another one!

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Craft is going to be having very interesting events happening soon. Think along the lines of food and wine tasting where the winemaker will be flown in to talk to everyone! I could see how passionate the owner is about his restaurant and that is something I really love about owner run restaurants vs franchises. Whilst we had the best of service I can’t comment on how the service is normally as this was a hosted event. I loved everything about Craft except for my pizza. I will definitely be going back, that choc dessert and milkshake is a worth a trip on their own.

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Thank you to Craft, Zomato, Smack Republic and Origin Coffee for a truly magical evening.

*Disclaimer: I was hosted by Craft for the evening and did not pay for any food or drink consumed. I was not asked or paid to write a review. All pictures are my own. When I visit Craft again I will update the post.

Ring: (087) 550 3520
Hop: 33, 4th Avenue, Parkhurst

Craft & Crafty,
CG

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