Braamfontein’s The Orbit Jazz Club and Bistro is a Joburg institution, having built a reputation as a home for local jazz music lovers and Joburg visitors in search of South African sounds.
With a new chef at the helm (July 2017), Malawian-born Roderick Phiri, The Orbit’s menu is no longer a side order to a diet of jazz, but another reason to visit. Phiri is intent on matching the food with the incredible standard of established and emerging jazz talent you’ll encounter at the club. The emphasis is on using South African ingredients and produce and marrying a variety of flavours to produce a menu of fresh and satisfying tastes bringing in European influences from Phiri’s experience of working as a chef in London.
Phiri’s combinations are fresh and innovative, and the dishes are generously portioned and beautifully (Instagram-worthily) plated. You’ll start your meal with Phiri’s freshly baked breads and flavoured butters.
From there there's plenty of options to keep both meat lovers and vegetarians happy. For starters we recommend the mozzarella and artichoke salad, a combination of warm artichokes and green beans topped with a layer of seared smoked mozzarella and dotted with a sun-dried tomato dressing, and the beetroot-cured salmon served with sweet pickled vegetables.
Beetroot is a South African staple, one of the “Big 5” of township vegetables (that’s according to Yeoville chef Sanza Sandile) and it also makes an appearance on the menu as a delicious beetroot-done-three-ways salad accompanied by creamy Feta.
There is a choice of platters, and a grill menu of steaks and ox liver. The mains also include a vegan butternut curry and a vegetarian burger, slow roasted pork belly and wild venison ragu served with handmade pasta. Top of our list is the whole roasted fish, an immense plate of grilled fish served with a wide range of sides and big enough to feed two people with extremely large appetites.
We strongly suggest you pace yourself so as not to miss out on traditional Malva pudding for dessert (a sweet and spongy caramelized treat that originated with the Cape Malay community) served with a spiced custard. Pair your meal with an excellent selection of South African wines.
You can catch a music performance nightly (except for Mondays) and the programme also includes the popular once monthly Science and Cocktails evening, salsa dancing with live music from the En Fuego ensemble and a regular stand-up comedy showcase presented by Kagiso Lediga, undoubtedly one of South Africa’s funniest people. Of course jazz is the soundtrack that accompanies every event.