Coobs is a neighborhood favorite along the 4th Avenue restaurant district of Parkhurst in Johannesburg, South Africa. Any night of the week, just look and you’ll notice that there isn’t an empty seat in the house, at least not for long. Many of the customers who dine at Coobs make it a regular on their weekly agenda. This is a tribute to its chef and owner, James Diack. Customers have come to know the chef well, as he makes it a point to connect with all of his customers. As Chef James makes his way around the room, it is apparent that he takes great pride in preparing the menu items served at his restaurant. He loves to find out what his guests think of their meals and isn’t afraid to ask. This is one of the things that sets him apart from many other restaurateurs in and around the Parkhurst area.
James studied at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. After honing his skills as a chef and finding inspiration in his international travels, he decided to open his own restaurant in 2012. He sources his ingredients directly from his family farm, making sure that his customers always receive the freshest food possible. The farm also supplies Coobs with its famous acorn-fed wild boar, duck, and lamb. The menu items created for the restaurant are based on the seasonal offerings of the Diack’s family farm. Chef James believes in offering seasonal food items that are simple yet embody the quality of ingredients with which they are prepared. He also pairs his menu items with wines provided by boutique wine farms that are also passionate about the quality of wine they produce and serve.
The bistro is bright and open with natural earth-tone hues of green, brown, and beige with splashes of bright colors throughout. The vertical garden lends itself to the farm-to-table theme of Coobs. On the walls are bright and colorful art pieces that showcase a lush farm life. Coobs is a quaint, contemporary eatery that beckons locals and visitors from abroad to indulge their senses in culinary excellence. Although the restaurant is simple and unpretentious, it manages to offer a refined dining experience thanks to the ambience and the quality of delicious, savory menu items. Some of the menu favorites include the baby roast chicken, wild boar, lamb and porcini mushroom risotto, to name a few.
A visit to Coobs will not disappoint, as I recently had the pleasure to find out. Chef James came to our table to discuss the menu items in great detail, explaining how the meats are aged and how the seasonal ingredients are sourced and prepared. My meal was a hit–the free-range, organic roasted chicken served with sherry gravy, thyme-salted crispy potatoes, pan-fried honey-glazed organic vegetables and a tarragon crème served with a crisp German Riesling. My dining experience ended with a delightfully light and decadent trio of chocolate, which included, chocolate mud cake, chocolate mousse, and floral white chocolate, all blending together perfectly! After such a wonderful meal, along with the personalized attention from Chef James, a return visit to Coobs is inevitable.