Wombles Steakhouse Restaurant, situated in Parktown North, has been a long-time feature on the Johannesburg dining skyline. For this reason it may already be well known to you; nonetheless, given its reputation and continued success we felt compelled to find out for ourselves exactly why owners Duncan and Yvette Barker have earned the awards and accolades they have.

Since 1984, Wombles Steakhouse Restaurant provided customers in Zimbabwe with man-size portions of Zimbabwean beef and other culinary delights. Now operating in Johannesburg, with the help of some of their original staff members from Harare, the restaurant makes the very best of its venue, a ’classic’ large Parktonian house with segmented areas both within and outside on a large patio, kept cosily warm on colder wintry evenings but which must be delightful in summer, when it is opened up to its green garden. Fully seated, Wombles, seats over 100 diners and as is typical was fully booked the night we dined there.

First impressions last. From the gentleman manning the front gate to the manager, and any other member of their tea frankly, we experienced a mixture of down-to-earth human warmth that Africa can be such a wonderful example of, coupled with a delivery of service and knowledge of product that is excellent.

Wombles Steakhouse Restaurant, situated in Parktown North, has been a long-time feature on the Johannesburg dining skyline. For this reason it may already be well known to you;

Further, there’s no doubt that one is at a ‘high end’ restaurant here yet it achieves this in a relaxed style which delivers this equally to its broad range of patrons whether corporate executives or entrepreneurs sporting All Stars, we venture! Candle light delivers warm and adequate lighting and though the restaurant is full and atmospheric, the volume level of all the diners is never intrusive.

So, what about their food?

To start with we selected a ‘special’, Asparagus covered with a beautifully balanced and flavoursome lemon butter sauce, tinged with delicately chopped peppers. Cooked to perfection, it was crisp and tender all at once; the portion was generous and a great start to the meal. Our other starter, picked from the standard menu, is described as a Prawn and Mushroom Cocktail, which consists of six button mushrooms topped with prawns, garlic butter and finished off under the grill. It’s served with slices of bread, as would accompany a serving of garlic snails. In fact, this is an interesting variation of this theme and a delicious one, too. It’s a rewarding combination and much pleasure was gained from dipping into the garlic butter sauce!

Our main course choices, though including fish, did pander to the fact that we were in a steakhouse and also included a fillet steak served with a speciality sauce from the Wombles kitchen. The fish was sole, dry grilled with a lemon butter sauce delivered on the side; crisp on the surface, tender within and perfectly supplemented by its sauce, this was all we could hope for. The fillet steak was served, somewhat unusually, on the bone. In the cooking, the bone provides a little more flavour to a cut with a reputation for a touch of blandness and it certainly does. The sauce comprises porcini mushrooms and marrow in a thick red wine reduction and is delicious. Perhaps because this is cooked on the bone, the medium rare order was a little blue on the inside and whilst this didn’t detract from our enjoyment of this dish, those who do not favour lightly cooked cuts may want to ask for this to be a touch more well-done.

Main courses automatically come with a mixture of veg. There is a good choice of starch, too, including sweet potato and pap.

All things considered it’s clear that Wombles richly deserves its glowing reputation and our testament is that we will eagerly return here to relax and try some of the other dishes on offer. We happily recommend them and know that booking is essential – what more can one say.