Workshop 55 in Parktown North is a cosmopolitan and chic destination serving up exceptionally tasty small plate options paired with a superb range of gins.
At the helm is chef Alex Webber (see our interview with him below), a twenty-something-year-old who honed his kitchen skills at the famous Prue Leith Academy. His dishes offer supremely tasty bites and are based on the freshest seasonal ingredients, which means it's worth repeated visits to enjoy the refreshing menu changes.
Flavours take inspiration from a range of cuisines, and there is plenty of exciting and innovative fare. Vegetarians will also be delighted by the options available.
Desserts are also arranged in tapas-sized offerings, our version of perfection as you get to try a number of them. The drinks list has some outstanding fresh fruit and herb gin infusions to try – a signature of the restaurant and its adjoining Miami-glam bar Lounge 55. Plan to spend time at both the restaurant and the bar. The atmosphere differs and there's usually a lively scene at both. With polished and friendly service this is a place you'll find yourself returning.
When it comes to narrowing down a gin choice our pick is the Islay Botanist gin infused with grapefruit. And if gin's not your tipple, the wine menu has a remarkable selection of boutique labels.
Q&A 5 minutes with Head Chef Alex Webber Name: Alex Webber Age: 27 Trained as a chef at: Prue Leith Chef Academy From: Johannesburg
Your favourite ingredient?
I would not say I have a favourite ingredient per se, but rather I have a love for using the most fresh and seasonal ingredients possible. Everything tastes better when freshly pulled from the earth only hours before eating it. Then again... I do love truffle.
Your signature dish, the “don’t leave without trying plate”:
This is very hard to pin down, mainly as we have our menu changing fairly often. At the moment I would say you have to try our pork belly, parsnip and celeriac puree, rhubarb, five-spice. Then again our vegetarian dishes are really good too, my favourite being a crumbed artichoke mousse.
Your favourite kitchen tool?
As clichéd as this is may be my favourite kitchen tool has to be my Santuko knife. Well maintained and sharp!
You will have to look hard to find a city with such diversity as Joburg. This brings some challenges but it also is so great and rewarding to work and live in the city of gold.
Share one summer food trend with us:
At the moment asparagus is in season and it looks like it had a bumper crop this year. It's very nice served with a poached egg and a well-made hollandaise. Pair it with a good chenin blanc.
The dish you are most likely to make when you get home from work:
After a long day in the kitchen I will likely make myself a good full house omelette. On the weekends I go to town a little usually trying out a new flavour profile or technique.
The one ingredient you will never cook with?
I hate using anything that comes pre-made in a box or in powder form.
The best drink pairing for any meal:
Gin and tonic!