Restaurant review: Out of the ordinary – Glory

25 Apr 2024
Glory: an ever-evolving, pop-up-but-now-permanent, one-of-a-kind dining experience. Hallelujah! It all began in 2016 as a pop-up in a backyard on Melville’s 7th Street, before relocating to a house in Westdene where Glory offered weekly dinners and their never-to-be-imitated Glory chicken box take-out.

At one point Glory re-emerged at the boutique guesthouse, Riva Townhouse in Bryanston, before enjoying other incarnations in unusual spaces in the suburbs, and now, finally, to the delight of every giddy gourmand in the city, Glory has planted roots in Parktown North, on 4th Avenue.

Over the past eight years, Glory has grown a cult following that appreciates Glory for what it is: a little left field, filled with robust flavours, always delectable, and a guaranteed good night out. At Glory’s helm are cook Nick Scott and stylist/designer Caroline Olavarrieta. Lifelong friends and now business partners, Olavarrieta has put her magical touch to curating their new space whilst Scott designs the menus.
Sea bream ceviche tacos at Glory. Photo: @juliensimery

The menu often changes but is always fashioned around Southeast Asian ingredients and flavours. Scott sources all of his produce from local farmers and is passionate about sustainability and seasonality. Dinner is a six-course affair, a relaxed tasting menu of sorts. Whilst it’s in no way fine dining, the attention to detail, consideration, and skill apparent in every dish is cause for pause. You’ll delight in Scott and his team’s ability to saturate every plate with the most sensational flavour combinations.

Fresh, vibrant, tangy, and spicy, each mouthful dances on the tongue, with each dish completely different to the next. Scott specialises in pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan cuisine, which is a refreshing change from Joburg's current meat-centric dining scene.
Step inside Glory: a beautiful, quirky, and inviting space. Photo: Supplied

On the evening of our visit, we began with a sea bream ceviche marinated in a fresh garam masala paste, fish sauce, and lime juice, served in taco shells, and paired with green papaya fritti with a citrus savoury dressing. Green papaya fritti? Yes, exactly. Before you’ve even tasted the dish, you’re taken aback by the description and astounded by Scott’s imagination. And very soon, you find yourself licking your fingers and scraping every last morsel off the edge of your plate.
To follow, a miso-cured tomato and white balsamic vinegar ‘salad’, served inside steamed dumplings with a foam vinaigrette; a dish that rouses child-like wonder with every bite, just gorgeous. And so it goes on and on, a fermented radish bao with a fresh turmeric and lime leaf paste – the mind boggles – it’s so unexpected and so delicious! A main of steamed mussels with salted coconut rice, tam taeng kwaa cucumber salad, miso roasted cabbage – all sensational. And to finish, a miso tart tatin with honey and black bean ice-cream. 

Scott’s trained up a dream team of cooks to work alongside him, which means he can work the floor for each service, talking to customers, taking you through the menu and his inspiration for each dish. Scott's an enthusiast and a raconteur, and a visit to Glory feels like being entertained in someone's home. It’s personal, and that’s why people return, time and again.
Miso tart tatin with honey and black bean ice-cream. Photo Supplied.

Their venue in Parktown North is their first permanent location (at least for the time being), yet it still feels veiled and ephemeral, a little like Sin + Tax did before their expansion. Olavarrieta has taken what was a small pizzeria and turned it into fairy light, candle and plant-dappled, mid-century haven. It’s intimate and quirky, with seating for only 30 people, so an evening there immediately feels special. 

Scott is passionate about collaborations and the evolution of the brand. He continually invites chefs into his kitchen to change things up, works in other restaurants to expand his knowledge, and sends members of his team to gain experience elsewhere. This is what makes Glory so exciting: they have an edge, they're not fixated on pleasing everyone, and they're interested in offering intimate and dynamic culinary experiences.

You can get the Glory team to host a supper club at your home, order from their delectable takeaway menu, relish their bánh mì sandwiches every weekend next door at Yardbird, and before we know it there will be something new on the cards. So next time someone says, "There's nothing to do in Joburg", take them to Glory. You won't regret it.


Connect via social media
google sign in button
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Put our app in your pocket
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here. AGREE