If Sides Restaurant was near our home, we would be regular diners. Set in a cozy hotel in a desirable residential area of Johannesburg , Sides was the kind of restaurant we return to regularly. It offered attentive and accommodating staff, delicious home style food, an attractive setting with a large fireplace in one corner of the room and a view to the hotel’s garden, a huge selection of fine South African wines and a comfortable dining room.
Who knew the friendly helpful man with the apron who came to our table to describe the specials was the executive chef? After his lighting fast appearance and a brief description of menu suggestions, we made our choices. What a delight! Well served, hot upon arrival, simple yet satisfying, it was the dinner we all craved after days of travel. We wished for more quiet in the loud dining room of the sold out restaurant. Though our dining experiences at Sides were more oriented toward everyday meals than sophisticated gourmet dishes, our meals there were most appealing.
About The Chef
A native of Yorkshire , England chef Monoghan trained in Scarborough . After eight years, he traveled to Melbourne , Australia , where he worked for two years. There he learned the culture and importance of fresh local produce. Prior to his arrival in South Africa , he worked as commis chef at the Rock Garden Beach Complex in Malaysia , as a head chef at Catering in Melbourne , Australia , and was the chef and manager of the well rated Café Helena at Harrogate , England . In South Africa he was head chef and manager of Ron’s Catering Services and a lecturer with Hotel Development Education, HDE, before joining the team at Ten Bompas.
Executive Chef Frederick Monaghan
Handicapped Access Yes
Location At Ten Bompas hotel in the heart of Johannesburg
Owned Peter Aucamp and Christoff van Staden
Restaurant Manager And Wine Steward Marcel Whatley
Size Seats 50 in 80 square meters (approximately 800 square feet) of space
Sous Chef Ian Poyser
Type Of Restaurant “Comfort Food”
Style Of DÉCor Contemporary with African touches including “ fertility bellies” hanging on the walls and a stone-carved wall and fireplace
Wine And Spirits A wine cellar adjacent to the dining room housed almost 5,000 bottles of mostly South African wines. There were some excellent selections including wines from Chile, Australia, Canada and the U.S. The wine cellar was architecturally designed and climate controlled to house the biggest inland collection of Cape Winemakers Guild Wines in the country.
: Appetizers: Pan fried calamari were crisp, hot and zesty; peanut battered prawns with sweet pea dip were tasty and the large plate of glazed goat cheese and walnut salad made everyone at the table feel a little healthier. Our pan friend tuna steaks were cooked to perfection: Lightly grilled on the outside, flavorful and buttery on the inside. For dessert we ordered fruit sorbet, which helped of us transition between the tuna and the coffee. One adventurous soul ordered the caramelized brie with Muscat figs and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We appreciated the chef’s flexibility. He welcomed us to request a side dish change in any of our orders. A couple of us did and were pleased with the results. Fresh in-house baked breads and pastries were a glad accompaniment to the meal. It was a noticeable touch, especially at a small restaurant.
We also had occasion to enjoy breakfast at Sides. It was delightful, including a filling and tasty yogurt smoothie with honey, specialty tea options and fresh fruit juice. The continental breakfast option included toasted coconut bread (we all loved it), muffins, and fruit skewers. We savored the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs. The chocolate waffles, with fruit compote and vanilla yogurt, were fluffy and not too sweet.
Other Parking for Sides was in a gated courtyard. Though it was a tight fit we always found a space for our 4×4.
Ease Of Reserving
: Weekend tables filled up early. At least a day in advance was advisable.
Latest Visit-Date Of Review May 2004
ReviewersArticle by Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
Service Servers were attentive and helpful. As in other places in Southern Africa, although we were all speaking in English, there was a small language barrier. At Sides it resulted in a minor misunderstanding or two. Once we realized what caused it (our American accent and fast talking), we spoke more slowly and enunciated better. Whenever possible we asked the servers to repeat the order which reduced the likelihood of misunderstandings. Our meals arrived hot and we were looked after smartly.
Would You Dine There Again? Yes