Eating out is always an experience to be enjoyed, especially when eating good food in a beautiful place. This last week myself and @prettymuchbes, had a wonderful time at Workshop 55. The restaurant is run by head chef, Alex Webber who trained as a chef at fine dining restaurant Cube. Although his expertise were honed at Cube, Workshop 55 has its own specific niche and flavour.
Tapas. Who doesn’t love to share food and enjoy a laugh over a speciality Gin and Tonic, infused with your choice of savory herbs or sweet fruits. Workshop 55 is a tapas bar with a flair for tasting dishes, intended to be shared. Alex described his restaurant and food as being “user friendly”, in the sense that the food is not over embellished and can be likened to moms home cooked recipes with a refined twist. Webber draws inspiration from experimenting with new ingredients and old staples such as Portuguese Bacalhau (which takes 3 days to make), to create an exciting rendition of a classic dish. The ingredients are found in local health shops and speciality stores and don’t venture into the realms of molecular gastronomy. This keeps with Webber’s ethos of classic food cooked with flair.
Our favourite dishes included the smoked duck breast served with butternut purée, apple & sage and spiced candied pecan nut. Roasted Pork belly covered in Hoi sin & honey glaze with smoky potato and pickled onion rings. And for the vegetarians the Pasteis de Queijo which is a light custard tart of creamy Gruyere cheese with sweetened red onion & balsamic compote (and it is amazing). The service was impeccable and attentive with all the staff greeting us with a smile, this adds to the laid back yet refined environment.
Something that stood out, particularly for, @prettymuchbes, were the mustard chicken livers. He has a “chicken livers test” which all the best restaurants must pass. Previous winners were the likes of The Whippet and Parea, but according to him, nothing comes close to the chicken livers at Workshop 55, definitely something they should be proud of!
The name derives from a typical carpenters or mechanic workshop and is reflected in the name and decor. You are seated in a rustic chic setting with brick walls surrounded by mechanical gears and copper piping. The open kitchen and bar allows one to watch Webber, the “carpenter” of the kitchen as he experiments and builds your dish.
Last but not least are the desserts. We tried the tarte tatin which is stone fruit (plums), thyme,
caramel, flaky pastry with crème fraîch ice cream and the chocolate pot de creme which is chocolate custard with rosemary, almond and an orange crumb. Both of these were light and absolutely delicious!
Address: 55 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Joburg (don’t forget to book as they only serve dinners)