Finding a restaurant that comfortably caters to meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike is rare. What’s even more unlikely is to find a restaurant of this nature situated in the heart of the East Rand. We recently discovered a gem of this sort at Uncle Tim’s Centre in Benoni.
The Secret Garden offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The perfect alternative to an overbooked inner city restaurant, The Secret Garden provides serene dining under the shade of lush trees. We recommend sitting outdoors in warmer months. Greeted by the restaurant’s resident cat, their garden seating is spacious and inviting. However, the interior has just as much character, with vintage wooden dining tables and quirky chandeliers. Either way, you are sure to receive good service from their friendly staff.
Arno Steenkamp, the owner and chef of the restaurant is vegan himself, so there is utmost care taken to prepare all dishes. His food ethos preaches that ingredients are not limited to food items, but include joy, kindness and inspiration. Taking his time to prepare healthy, thoughtful meals, Arno delivers his passion on a plate. The restaurant offers a set menu, as well as weekly specials. Often experiments in flavour and cuisine, these specials give diners a unique look into Chef Arno’s diverse skill set in the kitchen. Think vegan Butternut Soup, Spiral Veggie Tart, Mushroom Wellington and Blueberry Mousse, yum!
Meat munchers, you have not been excluded from the Secret Garden’s culinary excellence. Their set menu features a number of meat options, including a full English breakfast, a German pork feast, gourmet burgers and smoked trout fishcakes. Those of you who eat dairy may also enjoy a Secret Garden signature milkshake (or two!) Slurp down a traditional vanilla, strawberry or lime shake while waiting for your meal. Alternatively, give their peanut butter or Oreo milkshake a try. Smooth and sweet, this is the perfect way to enjoy your time at this unlikely foodie hotspot.
Have It Your Way
Many of the dishes on the Secret Garden’s menu are available in vegetarian and vegan options. For instance, you can order vegan filled pancakes with creamy spinach and avocado, or the meat version, which comes with savoury mince and a beer and mustard cheese sauce.
When we visited, we ordered the Ploughman’s Platter – two generous wedges of cheddar cheese, served with pickles, grapes, pretzels, dipping chutney, tomatoes and homebaked beer bread. You can keep it meat-free, or add a serving of Hickory Ham or sliced biltong. We opted for the ham, which paired wonderfully with the strong cheese and sweet grapes. However, the star of this plate was the bread. With subtle under notes of beer, this dense loaf was so good that we ordered a second to finish off the scraps of the plate. The Secret Garden will definitely be hearing from us again in the near future!
Allowing friends and family to gather at a place where almost anything is possible when it comes to food, The Secret Garden is paving the way for inclusive dining in the East Rand. The drive to this quaint restaurant is well worth it, so make the trip as soon as you can.
For More Information
Follow The Secret Garden on Facebook for more information.
Details: 40 High Road, Benoni, Gauteng | 083 299 2160 | email@example.com