This smart corner bistro and bar sits at the heart of one of Joburg's most artistically rich areas. The contemporary space cleverly mixes the industrial with the natural, juxtaposing steel-framed windows, facebrick walls and polished concrete floors with warm brown leather upholstery, abundant palms, copper lamps, bright blue tiles and vertical gardens, making it difficult to imagine that in its previous incarnation, this warm and friendly neighbourhood hangout was just a tired old and dusty scooter shop.
Launched in the summer of 2016 by the same team behind Bryanston's Social on Main bar and the hugely popular Saigon Suzy next door, there's an emphasis on casual, contemporary cool with a broad-ranging food menu, elegant boutique wines and cocktails made with the best craft spirits.
The menu is neatly divided up into small plates and mains which include 'classics', salad bowls, burgers and the 'fish and chip shop', a simple delineation of items that are a broad mix of flavours and influences. The small plates options are a standout highlight of BRC's substantial menu - three to four plates for a couple make for a perfectly satisfying lunch. Choose from a mix of European, Asian and Latin American dishes including a rich and creamy baked camembert (highly recommended), thinly sliced seabass ceviche sprinkled with crispy chips of roasted coconut, chicken liver parfait with chutney and spicy lamb wontons with cucumber yoghurt.
'Classics' include steaks, Moroccan chicken skewers and a very rich braised venison pie served with roast vegetables - an option best suited to those with large appetites who favour a heavier meal with big and bold flavours. We were particularly impressed by the variety found on the 'fish and chip shop' menu which includes a classic beer-battered hake as well as tempura crab tacos, peri-peri prawns and seafood linguine. Most satisfying choices are the pan-fried seabass served on a bed of garam masala lentils and BRC's classic fishcakes which are let down only by the decision to pair them with creamed spinach.
As a bistro, BRC stands out from the crowd with its excellent cocktail selection. Favourites include the zesty Collection's Negroni made with gin, vermouth, campari and Capertif (a long forgotten South African fortified wine that has recently found new popularity) and the signature Bolton Road Spritz, BRC's take on the classic Aperol Spritz made with a touch of vanilla essence.
Perfect for the sundowner hour the bar has its own mix and match gin and tonic menu (the so-called 'Gin Locker') with a wide choice of local and international craft gins served with your choice of craft tonic and garnish - arrive early on warm evenings to find a prime spot on the streetside terrace or at one of the stools by the bar.