Named after his two late grandfathers, Douglas + Hale is Chef James Diack’s fourth venture and we love it! If funky, cool and creative cocktails are your thing – then you will love it as much as we do, too.
From the décor which carries a rather ritzy, burlesque feel, to an extensive wine selection which will leave every taste and palate satisfied this is an experience from start to finish.
Cocktails are created with passion and the names are delightful – The Black Pearl, a rum based cocktail, was a huge hit at our table. The Electric Coolaid also had us intrigued and cocktail guru and master drink creator Jesse Chinn (who bares an uncanny resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow), kept us well entertained as he explained his creation process and showed us step by step how a few of the cocktails are made, much to our delight!
The extensive wine selection also boasts the latest technology called Coravin, which sees a long thin needle being inserted in to the cork of the bottle, and using a pump, which is powered by gas, one glass of wine is extracted and the cork is not affected, allowing opened bottles to last for years – and thereby allowing the team at Douglas + Hale to serve unique and more top end wines at good prices, as the cost of wastage of having to throw away wine that has oxidised is all but eliminated.
James also spent some time sharing with us about the different types of wine glasses that they use for certain wines, we did not know that for example, the shape of the rim of the glass affects where the wine hits your tongue, and that affects which tastebuds are tasting the wine first – be it sweet, sour, acidic etc.
We tried the same wine from two different shaped glasses and were amazed at the incredible difference that just using a different glass created. Be prepared to be surprised at the odd shape glass that your wine may come served in – but rest assured there is a really good reason why!
On the food side James has created a snack menu to go with the cocktails and a more substantial menu to go with the wines, although mixing and matching is encouraged and whether you are after an after work drink, or a dinner out with your other half, you will not be disappointed.
For nibbles try standard bar basics like biltong from James’s organic farm called Brightside, or marinated olives and pork crackling. Sharing style dishes we loved included the grilled Halloumi with charred lemon and also the salt and pepper Squid with a fennel aioli that was superb, and the tuna carpaccio got two thumbs up too.
If you love Pork belly, then do make sure to spoil yourself – this was our fave dish that we tasted during our visit, and the meat is also free-range from the farm. Using only sustainable fish sees James moving more towards fresh water fish on his menu’s, which is the entire point of sustainability towards local farmers and farming practises, which is what James is really well known for.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you will not be disappointed with the dessert selection – try a classic Eton Mess with a twist or a deep fried Snickers bar with marshmallow ice cream to end of your meal.
We really enjoyed our time spent with the team at Douglas + Hale and cannot wait to return again – we are glad that we are spending our holidays in Johannesburg, more of an excuse to visit again!
A: 19 4th Avenue, Parktown North
T: 010 900 3894
Find out more online here…