With spring (supposedly) in the air, it seems a whole host of new restaurants and eateries have sprung up overnight in anticipation of the warmer weather, and the downhill slide to December. One just needs to browse the Zomato ‘newly opened’ collection to see how many places have opened up around the city in the past month.

This is, of course, great news for the foodies of Jo’burg; although I’ll admit I am feeling SO out of the loop as to what is new and happening on the restaurant scene. Thankfully, I do have two wonderfully-youthful TOPP students in my area at work and one of them mentioned to me something about a new restaurant in Parktown North (thanks, Stretch 🙂 ) giving me the perfect opportunity to try out somewhere different this past weekend.

Workshop 55 has been open for a couple of weeks; after our meal there on Saturday I can understand why the buzz around it has already begun. Firstly, the concept of the restaurant sets the tone as an unfussy, straight forward offering at R180 flat rate per person. That ‘entrance fee’ entitles you to three tapas from the menu, thereafter paying R40 per tapas dish. The R40 charge extends to the specialty dishes (duck pancake, seared salmon etc) as well which means the shenanigans around bill splitting could be a thing of the past!

Workshop 55 is an offshoot of the Cube Tasting Kitchen so given its association I was expecting good things. While Cube is (to me) about modern, tasting menus, Workshop 55 is relaxed and trendy with food reflective of that. The tapas dishes on the menu are easy-going – items like Beef Trinchado, Hake Goujons and Chicken pie are included on the restrained menu – and from what we tasted – exceptionally tasty. While the squid heads were somewhat disappointing (served cold is just not my thing), the specialty pork belly with sweet potato and onion rings was the dish of night for us. The food is simple, tasty and exactly what I was hoping for on Saturday evening.

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Food aside, Workshop 55 is about beautifully curated drinks selection: craft gins, boutique wines and an extensive whiskey list. Our waiter suggested the Botanist Isaly dry gin for us to start, mixed with Swan Tonic and citrus zest, I’m fairly certain this was the best G&T I have ever tried. I can imagine plenty of these beverages being consumed in the coming summer months.

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Well-designed, vibrant decor and efficient service could mean a potential winner on the Jozi dining scene. I reckon in a few weeks’ time this place will be fully booked – it is the perfect spot for an after-work drink and nibble with friends.

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Workshop 55 can be found at 55 7th Avenue, Parktown North. For further information and to make a reservation, click here.

Whatever your Heritage Day / Braai day plans are tomorrow, Spruce wishes you a glorious, sunny day off!


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