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Monday, 27 October 2014

Zomato at Walnut Grove

"Six years ago, we started a little experiment now called Zomato. This month, over 30 million people will use this little experiment to ensure that their next meal is not a disappointment. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that all this happened in just six years."

As you all know (or should know by now) I am a huge Zomato fan and my love for this brand just keeps on growing! This month they did a little rebranding and introduced their new logo "the heart".

"This logo transcends languages and cultures. It captures the story of millions of meals and experiences being shared with a vast global community of people. The story of “people and food”. 

To honour their love of "people and food", Zomato hosts foodie meetups where they invite chosen Zomato users to a dinner where we can all share our love for food with each other. I was so excited to be included at these dinners and every one I go to just seems better that the last!

Last week we had the foodie meet up at Walnut Grove in Sandton City. This was the biggest meet up to date and what an amazing night it was!

Walnut Grove team
"The history of the Walnut Grove is as old as Sandton City itself. Based in the heart of South Africa's most famous shopping centre, the Walnut Grove has stood the test of time since 1975. Yianni, the founder, grew up in rural Greece in a small village outside Kalamata where they cultivated olives and olive oil. He brought this passion for rustic yet authentic produce to South Africa in 1969. Through hard work and dedication Walnut Grove has been honoured with the legacy of the longest running restaurant in Sandton City.

In July 2012 Yianni and Maro handed the reigns of the business to their children, Fotis and Elle. Together with their partner's Alessandra and Marco, dedicated staff and passion for the business they have combined the old family values and traditions of their parents with fresh, innovative and exciting ideas. They have transformed the Walnut Grove into a new and exciting boutique experience, bringing seasonal produce and quality ingredients to diners under one of Africa's largest chandeliers; a towering walnut tree flowing with over 10,000 reclaimed and antique crystals. The atmosphere is unique and interactive. Enjoy a cappuccino and breakfast in the vibrant pantry area, play a game of chess or Scrabble in the library or sip a cocktail in the bar area. This is a 360° dining experience grounded in family tradition and heritage."

Walnut Grove is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in Joburg and I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars on my review on Zomato. When reviewing a restaurant I always take into consideration the following-

  • Food Quality
  • Food Creativity
  • Food Presentation
  • Restaurant Decor
  • Service
  • Prices
  • Atmosphere
Walnut Grove scores highly in all of those boxes and I'm so tempted to give them a 5 out of 5 rating as I really can't fault them. However, I personally don't enjoy restaurants in busy shopping malls, it puts me off a little, so for me that's the only subjective downfall. 

Upon arrival at the Zomato meet-up, we were all blown away by the incredible presentation that Walnut Grove had put together for us. A long table set with organic fruits and vegetables and vintage apparatuses was a great representation of the love, effort and creativity that the Walnut Grove team puts towards all their events. 

A selection of cheese, breads, dips and fruit was presented to us as starters. Everything was fresh and exceptionally tasty! 

Next we had a micro tasting board of various delicious treats. This included a red velvet burger which is a highly trendy dish at the moment and it was served with a beetroot relish which was great! A calamari basket, a curry and a pot of rustic nachos were also on the board. The nachos were by far my favourite and argueably the best nachos I've ever had! 

The Walnut Grove 'Cooler Lemonade' (Blended with fresh mint and ice) is one of my favourite cold drinks....ever! Woolworths also make one and to be honest I can't remember who does it better but they are the only two restuarants that do them (well).

Zara icing the rainbow cake
Before dessert was served we were all given the opportunity to try and ice the rainbow cake. This was a fun and interactive way to really experience every aspect of Walnut Grove. My shaky hands didn't fare well at this activity but it was fun and we were all given a big slice of the cake to take home. 

Lastly we were served a dessert board which consisted of a trio of gourmet milkshake shots, a summer macaroon selection and a red velvet cupcake. I've always felt that macaroons were a little over rated, they're just colourful balls of tastelessness - Walnut Grove proved me wrong! With flavours like watermelon bursting through, these little treats were amazing and showed me that when macaroons are done well, they really do deserve all the hype!

Thank-you Walnut Grove for a truly fantastic evening. I really enjoyed exploring your menu and getting to know the personal story behind this iconic Sandton restuarant.

And of course to the Zomato team, whom I simply adore - Thank-you!

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