As far as mall food courts go, Eastgate’s is a cut above the rest. Offering everything from family-friendly Afro-Porto fusion, to Thai-inspired noodle bowls and all your favourite takeaways. However, Plaka Eastgate stands out among the restaurants here as something truly unique. Opening out onto the piazza, Plaka’s authentic ocean blue and white decor welcomes you in. With an upstairs balcony and an air of upmarket dining, this restaurant is a must-visit. Check it out if you have a love of Greek food and great service.
The name ‘Plaka’ pays homage to the old historical neighbourhood of Athens. The heartbeat of Greece’s modern capital, Athens is a well-recognised foodie destination. It is this food-centred tradition combined with modern cuisine accents which Plaka has brought to their Joburg customers for 26 years.
“Plaka has always prided itself on producing the finest, unpretentious Greek dishes to delight our patrons. Our meticulous attention to creating an authentic Greek experience, together with the highest quality of service, and value for money, is [a] testament to the fact that we have been operating since 1993,” says Mun Manal, Head of Operations at Plaka.
This October, Plaka Eastgate introduced a fantastic new special to their menu. The Meze Platter for Two offers an array of the most popular meze dishes made famous by Plaka over the years. Featuring perfect pita bread, roast feta dip, grilled calamari, crispy falafel balls, mozzarella coated fried zucchini, hand-cut chips, grilled halloumi, tomato and onion salad, succulent chicken souvlaki and flavour-punching shish kebab. The best part - you get all of these amazing meze dishes to share for only *R249! Trust us when we say that this assortment of savoury sharing plates exceeds its value for money.
Our meal was served in intervals, beginning with freshly baked pita bread, feta dip, fried zucchini and salad. Next came the super crispy falafel balls served with spicy hummus, grilled calamari and hand-cut chips. And finally, juicy chicken souvlaki and hearty shish kebab served with grilled tomatoes, onions and a garnish of coriander. Eating our meal in this manner only added to the authenticity of the Plaka experience, inspired by the Mediterranean tradition meze (which means “small dishes of heaven”). This meal hearkened back to old Greek rituals centred around family and sharing. Allowing for ample conversation and conscious eating, we think that meze dining is the way to go.
We must compliment Plaka on their execution of these meze dishes. Not only were they generous in portion and flavour, but each dish sang with its own unique notes of salty, umami and bitter from dashings of oregano and dried parsley. There is definitely enough variety here to appeal to you and a partner, plus a good portion of the dishes are vegetarian-friendly, so almost anybody can enjoy the feast. Visit Plaka Eastgate as soon as you can for this authentic, exciting and tantalizing experience!
As our visit took place on a scorching hot day, Plaka treated us to watermelon slices dusted in cinnamon as a palate cleanser before dessert. However, as we were completely satisfied from our meze feast, we chose to save those sticky, sweet Greek puddings for another day. We will definitely be back soon as Eastgate plans to renovate their open air piazza and food court in the run up to the holiday season. Plaka Eastgate is sure to be the place to be when this new open-air dining experience is revealed. Make yourself a booking for two - it’s ideal for date night, birthdays, a family get together or just a great meal out with that special someone.
Visit Plaka Eastgate's website for more information. Or, you can follow their social media pages for updates on specials:
Facebook - facebook.com/plakasa
Twitter - twitter.com/plakasa
Instagram - instagram.com/plakasa
Details: Shop 15, Rooftop Piazza, Eastgate Shopping Mall, 43 Bradford Rd, Bedfordview, Johannesburg | 011 615 5751 | [email protected]
Akhalwaya's Spice Emporium have been trading imported spices in South Africa for four decades. Their flagship store in Fordsburg stocks a wide range of Asian and Indian spices, lentils, rice, herbs and desiccated coconut. The Akhalwaya's brand is synonymous with quality spice products and tasty Halal take-aways. Visit one of their stores located around the city to pick up all you need to whip up a spicy dhall, breyani or dessert.
Details: 25 Central Road, Fordsburg , Johannesburg | +27 11 838 3490 | [email protected]
Mallies Spice Works is an unassuming spice heaven located in Newtown. You might think that you've come to the wrong place, as Mallies exterior looks nothing like a spice emporium. But once you step inside, you will discover a wonderland of brightly coloured aromatics. Traders and restaurateurs come from all over the country to visit Mallies factory shop. As their spices are mostly organic, this is a vegan hot spot for all things spicy. If that isn't enough to convince you to pay them a visit, they also stock Panda liquorice - an all natural, soft liquorice suitable for vegan, Kosher and Halal diets.
Details: 111 Carr St, Newtown, Johannesburg | 011 838 6796
B Nagiah's is predominantly a lamb and mutton butcher, specialising in high-quality meat cuts delivered straight from Karoo farms. However, what would a tender lamb shank be without herbs and spices? B Nagiah's stock an assortment of chili powders, earthy spices and aromats to bring life to your lamb dishes. With stores in Midrand and Randburg, B Nagiah's is easily accessible and super convenient.
Details: Click here for more information
Spices for Eden is located along Edenvale's bustling main avenue. Local residents know that this is place to go for spices, soya products, pulses and dried fruit. Plus, the store is right next door to an Indian restaurant and take-away. So, if you are feeling just a little too lazy to cook up a curry storm with your newly purchased spices, pop into the restaurant for a Durban-style bunny chow, roti roll or samoosa.
Details: Shop 69e Sunrise Centre, 71 Van Riebeeck Avenue, Edenvale, Johannesburg | 083 303 6625
The Spice Emporium is a family-run business based in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. They also have a spice counter which is operated from within the Vorna Valley Super Spar in Midrand. Here you can stock up on an array of dried spices and seeds, as well as nut flours, fine vermicelli and other sweet treats.
Details: Superspar, Cnr Albertyn Street and Harry Galaun Drive, Vorna Valley, Midrand, Johannesburg | +27 11 805 3543
Cyrildene's Derrick Avenue is home to a number of Chinese and Thai supermarkets. One of the most popular among visitors is the Friends Thai Supermarket. Not only can you pick up an assortment of Thai food products, but they also stock Thai chili paste and various spices. Add a can of coconut milk and some Asian vegetables to your shopping basket and you will be whipping up glorious Thai-inspired curries in no time.
011 622 103321B Hettie St, Cyrildene, Johannesburg | 011 622 1033
Food Lovers Market is all about fresh produce and helping the customer make healthier choices. A select few stores now also have a dedicated spice section. From cinnamon, to garam masala and ground ginger, the Food Lovers spice route is exotic and inspiring. Stock up on all your essentials, plus a few special treats here. Just be careful not to mess tumeric powder on your nice new white t-shirt!
Details: Click here for more information
Happy Spice Shopping!
Berries are full of antioxidants and fibre, so what better to throw in the blender than a handful of berries? This one’s super tasty, you’re going to love it (and so will your body!).
1 ½ cups berry mix
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup purified water
⅛ cup rolled oats
Cacao is an antioxidant-rich superfood that will have your body singing for more. Filled with magnesium and vitamin C, cacao’s benefits are endless and include heart health, feel-good chemicals (hello, chocolate-induced happiness) and mental health. Plus, it tastes great!
1 cup milk of your choice (almond, coconut, hemp, raw milk)
1 frozen banana
½ cup fresh or frozen berries
1 tablespoon cacao powder
½ tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon chia seeds
A dash of sea salt
A little honey, stevia, or maple syrup to sweeten
We all know that green smoothies are good for you but, unfortunately, if you’re not used to drinking them, they can taste a bit strange. That’s why this mixture of fruit and veg is just the thing to detox your body and get you hooked on the benefits of green smoothies!
1 cup spinach or kale leaves
1 cup romaine leaves
½ cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped celery
1 small pear (or ½ large), cored and chopped
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 cup water or coconut water
1 tablespoon of fresh mint
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
½ to 1 whole lemon, juiced
½ tablespoon chia seeds
¼ inch slice ginger root, peeled
pinch of cayenne
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of turmeric
The combination of ginger and orange will pick you up and have you feeling right as rain in no time. Embrace the detox, it’ll taste delicious - who would have thought that something so simple could be so good for you?
1 banana, peeled and frozen
¼ inch ginger, peeled and minced
½ cup mango slices, frozen
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
4-5 ice cubes
This summery smoothie is great for those looking to rid their bodies of toxins (especially after the holidays!). This one is perfect for anyone and everyone with a raging sweet tooth – it’s like dessert in a glass, but it’s good for you!
1½ cups water
1 cup chopped pineapple