Walnut Grove in Sandton City was the location for the latest Zomato meetup for 30 “foodies” (you guys know I hate that word!). They have recently undergone a redesign both in decor and updating their menu. My impression of the old Walnut Grove was that it was a small restaurant in an odd location with old clunky furniture. I hadn’t ever eaten there before or really taken a peek around because of the dim lighting.
I generally try to avoid eating at any of the restaurants in Sandton city – all of the restaurants situated on the Square are horrendous/average/overpriced or all three. If I am going shopping in the evening I would either eat at one of the take away places or JB’s Corner. I am really glad that there is another decent place to eat at and I had just not discovered it yet.
Did you know that Walnut Grove is a family run business that has been around for 35 years? That is older than I am! The new setup and decor is simply gorgeous. Wooden tables, perspex chairs and fairy lights are my absolute favourite type of decor. The focal point of the restaurant is a gorgeous Walnut Tree chandelier with over 10 000 antique crystals and also one of the largest in Africa.
On arrival we were welcomed with mojitos. I loved that a non alcoholic drink was immediately offered and the menu also catered for vegetarians. Elle, one of the owners of the restaurant was a lovely welcoming hostess who was both genuine and passionate. The waiters were super friendly and whilst we were there for an event I got the impression that they are always that great.
The table was decorated beautifully with the use of books, faux grass centre pieces, fruit and wooden platters of food served on a hessian table cloth to give it a Mediterranean feel. I so wish that I was creative and talented enough to be able to think up beautiful design elements but at the moment I can only appreciate and be in awe. The level of detail that went into organizing the event was superb.
The menu stated that it was a micro tasting but there was nothing micro about those portion sizes. We all rolled out of there completely stuffed (not that I am complaining). Starters were a selection of cheeses, bread, crudites, dips, fruit, salad shells and micro wraps presented on wooden boards.
The Casablanca salad shells had mixed greens served with cous cous, haloumi, avocado, roast vegetables, sunflower seeds, almonds and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I didn’t like the salad shells I tried mainly because I don’t like salad and I couldn’t taste the dressing.
The micro wraps had either hummus, grilled haloumi, polenta crumbed feta, olives and avocado (R75) or quinoa with crumbed feta, roast butternut, mixed greens and beetroot relish (R79). I didn’t try the wraps but I love that they don’t just do a vegetarian wrap with one boring ingredient. I did however gorge myself on the most delicious bread (it was so damn good), tzatziki, hummus and cheese.
Mains were a tasting board of four dishes. The paneer saffron cashew curry was my least favourite – I personally don’t like those flavours or paneer curry. By nature of being Indian and fussy, the only curry I actually like is the one my mother makes. The rustic African nachos (R98) are served with delicious tortilla chips that doesn’t make you feel that you are eating junk food. The menu description is: towering homemade tortilla chips topped with melted cheese with avocado guacamole, spicy chakalaka and cream cheese. There is an option to add a grilled chicken breast for R29. The nachos we tried were more traditionally served with guacamole, jalepenos, cheese and a tomato salsa. I do think the price for the nachos is quite steep compared to other restaurants.
The aptly named red velvet burger consisted of beetroot infused artisan bread with a pure beef burger or herbed mushroom burger with cream cheese and a beetroot relish. This was so innovative and delicious – a bit on the messy side to eat as the cream cheese made everything slip and slide. I really liked the flavour combination of beetroot, mushroom and cream cheese, I haven’t seen these ingredients combined at any other restaurant before. The black pepper and lemon zest calamari for R109 is prepared using lemon zest breadcrumbs. This dish was the favourite for the people seated near me. The calamari was perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and not the slightest bit rubbery. It felt a tad too salty for me and I would have loved it with a complementary dip.
The entremet (French for between servings) of mascarpone spoons with coffee caviar is a must for any coffee lover. Walnut Grove is the first in SA to serve coffee caviar.
I always have high hopes for dessert because the wording sounds mouth watering but it often doesn’t taste or look delicious. This definitely wasn’t the case here. When the dessert platters were served I knew it was going to be amazing. Oreo, coconut and red velvet milkshakes – my favourite was the red velvet, it was so yummy. The macaron (not macaroons people!) selection was watermelon, cucumber and creme brulee. I haven’t had a good macaron in ages but I couldn’t fault these in terms of texture, flavour or presentation. The watermelon was my favourite, the cucumber was refreshing and the creme brulee delightfully sweet. Lastly the red velvet cupcake – it was really good with a deliciously sweet non cream cheese icing. If you order a hot drink here it will be served with a cute mini red velvet cupcake, it doesn’t get better than that folks.
Everyone was invited to help ice the rainbow cake. I declined because I have no culinary skills whatsoever and there might have been no cake left after I destroyed it – yes, I am that bad. We then got to take a slice of rainbow cake home. It was a damn good cake. Walnut Grove know how to make some pretty yummy desserts that’s for sure. I really enjoyed the evening which was filled with great food, amazing conversation and meeting awesome people.
If you are wondering what else is on the menu you can expect to find the widest variety of drinks, breakfast options, sandwiches, wraps, tramezzinis, pizzas, salads and burgers. The dishes I want to try are the creamy lemon zest, chicken and poppyseed pasta or the creamy soya, lime and chilli chicken burger. The crispy calamari, nachos and beetroot burger are also on my list of eat again dishes. Not forgetting that there would definitely involve dessert (probably cake) and macarons to go. Walnut Grove also cater for events at the restaurant.
The beautiful decor makes it a lovely restaurant to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Desserts are their speciality so do make a plan to stop by for a delicious gourmet milkshake, cupcake, macaron or cake. Who can say no to dessert when it’s this good!
*Disclaimer: I was hosted by Walnut Grove 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 as always are my own. Thank you to Walnut Grove and Zomato for hosting a delightful and memorable evening.
Ring: (011) 783 6111
Hop: Shop B38 Sandton City, Cnr 5th Street & Rivonia Road
Macarons & Rainbows,