As an avid reader, I love being around books, and when I found a restaurant next to my favourite book store, I knew that I had found a new home. Here’s why you should try Exclusive Books Social Kitchen & Bar. By Fundiswa Nkwanyana Pictures Hema Patel
From the entrance, I was captivated by the natural light that swept through the venue and the hanging light fixtures against an industrial ceiling. I was a bit annoyed that the hostess seemed a bit flustered when I enquired about my booking but was glad when she handed me over to a friendly waitress. I loved the design and style aesthetic which has a balanced fusion of art décor and Moroccan tiles. The patrons were a good mix of young and old professionals and creatives, all seemingly enjoying themselves.
The menu is filled with Mediterranean dishes that have South African flavours and is divided into chapters – keeping with the restaurant’s book theme. I found the menu overwhelming as there were loads of tapas, gourmet salads and creamy pasta and risotto dishes to choose from. I was glad when Beatrix Thornhill, the head chef, offered to curate a three-course serving for me, showcasing some of their best dishes. For starters, I had tapas and I enjoyed the charcoal grilled freshly baked bread with hummus and fried kataifi wrapped halloumi fingers.
I loved that it was served on a brown board that was sprinkled with edible flowers. Chef Beatrix took me on a culinary experience and introduced me to exciting mains which were roasted josper cauliflower bunless burger, herbed tempura fish and chips and risotto which had pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
All the meals were plated beautifully with fresh herbs. The portions were large, the food was delicious and I couldn’t stop eating – I had to unloosen my belt to accommodate my full stomach. I have a sweet tooth and the dessert exceeded my expectations.
The chef served two dessert dishes; a sweet tapas plate which had a variety of sweet treats and I enjoyed the rich chocolate nemesis with berry coulis. The second dessert was a coconut and blueberry pannacotta which was to die for. It looked like a painting and tasted like heaven. I enjoyed my meals while sipping on herbal and flavoured tea. I chose to not have an alcoholic beverage this time around, but I’ll definitely return for sundowners because the bar looked well-stocked.
It’s fairly priced considering that the portions are large, the décor is exquisite and ambience is impeccable. The service was efficient and friendly, and I enjoyed my meals while appreciating the views. This restaurant is the perfect place to catch up with a friend, have a business meeting or an intimate dinner with someone special because the table settings are not too close to each other, giving you some privacy. I see myself returning with a good book to try out their craft cocktails that are named after authors and books.