I’d looooong ago given up the dream that Pot Luck Club would come to Jozi. Like, long ago. You know that serenity prayer about accepting the things you can’t change? Ya that was my mantra on this topic…
So when I was minding my own business, scrolling online a few weeks ago and found that they were coming (albeit with a pop up restaurant) a small freak out ensued followed by some double checking to be sure this wasn’t some sort of fake news!
I immediately got in touch to book and couldn’t believe that opening night (6th July) was already solidly booked within hours. So I took the next soonest available gaps: a dinner reservation on the next night with some girlfriends and a lunch reservation the next Sunday with the husbaend. I had to make sure and go check in person that this was for real and they weren’t messing with my feelings. PS the husbaend was a tad upset that I wasn’t going with him first, lols!
I left that first dinner reservation feeling so unsure about how I felt about it all. I mean, I had a great night catching up with my ladies and it was nice to actually have proper conversation to draw out the meal (since we don’t drink A and I usually just wolf everything down and it’s all over too quickly!) but as I climbed into bed that night and A wanted to know what I thought of the food, I said I’d reserve comment until we went back for our reservation and give it a proper think.
So here’s the crux of it. It’s a completely different experience to their Cape Town Restaurant. Completely.
I arrived there filled with my Cape Town expectations and they’re trying to something completey different with the live jazz. And the littlest of things threw me off, like not getting a little notepad to write down your menu options but having to write them on the menu itself. What is wrong with me you ask? I don’t know. *shrugs*
- the food – the most important thing! With the exception of one dish, I would say that the food is as good as Cape Town for sure! I won’t judge you if you stop reading this review here because what else actually matters?!
- while the firm favourites remain, there’s also a few new things to look forward to on the menu if you’ve been a few times: the cuban sandwich, duck spring rolls and braised short rib
- one of my friends was vegetarian and I meant to tell them when I made the booking but forgot and I really appreciated the ease with which they were able to adapt some of the dishes for her (and not just by leaving the meat off)
- like I said different setup and it’s got this secret underground feel (well the restaurant is in the hotel’s basement, so…). There’s a cordoned off smokers room and also a lounge area with a fireplace that we retired for dessert and coffee on the lunch visit.
- the acoustics needs some work – we were seated a table right in front of the stage/band on the first visit and its too loud to be able to chat freely. To be fair they did come and check with us and we said it was cool but in retrospect it wasn’t. On the second trip incidentally we were shown to that exact table and I asked if we could move further away and that worked really well.
- s’mores! They didn’t put their s’mores on the Jhb menu and I cannot deal. At. All.
I was a little disappointed that their dinner and lunch menu is exactly the same (they also don’t have the additional R200 option for unlimited bubbles if you liked that from their Cape Town Sunday brunch offering). At a glance the pricing is the same to slightly premium to Cape Town overall.
The waiters are not quite as sharp and on top of the menu as I’m used to from Pot Luck Club but that said the service was still really good & when they weren’t able to answer a question off the bat they were always happy to go & find the answers we needed from the kitchen or manager on duty – they just need some time I reckon. On my communication with them they mentioned there’s a R150 pp live entertainment fee after 9pm. We were definitely there after 9 the time we went for dinner but weren’t charged this but I’m mentioning it fyi.
A last thing on logistics – they’re in Hallmark House (Siemert Street) which is the (newish) part of Maboneng but not the main part of Maboneng as we know it. I’d actually been to the building before because there’s a coffee shop (Loof I think) that we came to check out a few weeks before but the restaurant is in the hotel’s basement and at the back of the hotel (i.e. the entrance facing another street, Sivewright Ave) so I strongly recommend you use their concierge service (its R30 – they’ll add it to your bill) if you are driving in or Uber if that’s your thing. I didn’t know this on the first trip and parked inside Hallmark House on the Siemert Street entrance and lets just say we had quite an adventure getting to Pot Luck Club (& I was in heels nogal!).
I’m hoping that the pop up turns into a permanent feature (like with Luke Dale at The Saxon) – we’ll see!
All info (bookings, hours, address etc) is now up on their site.