It was always a matter of when, not if. And now Johannesburg’s restaurant-going fraternity finally have the answer: next week, on 2 May 2023, Luke Dale Roberts and his crew of talented chefs will finally unveil a permanent home for The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg.
Since opening atop Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill Precinct in 2012 The Pot Luck Club has become one of the Mother City’s most successful eateries, as famous for its award-winning menu of global tapas as its spirited service and creative cocktails.
While Johannesburg enjoyed a brief taste of The Pot Luck Club’s globally inspired plates in 2017, with a hugely successful pop-up at Maboneng’s Marabi Club, this time The Pot Luck Club is here to stay.
The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg will open in the space previously home to The Test Kitchen Carbon, in Rosebank’s prestigious Oxford Parks development.
“The Test Kitchen Carbon proved incredibly popular, but what we have learned from the success of The Shortmarket Club, also in Oxford Parks, is that in Johannesburg diners really value the opportunity of choice,” says Dale Roberts. “They want to be able to create their own dining experience, not sit through an extended tasting menu. They want to set the pace, the price and the choice of dishes. With Pot Luck, we’re only too happy to offer them that.”
Unlike the highly curated fine dining experience of TTK Carbon, The Pot Luck Club offers a more lively urban energy that’s a perfect fit for Johannesburg’s vibrant dining scene. The Pot Luck Club experience is built around a menu of tapas-style dishes, with more than 20 individual plates drawing on global flavours reinvented with Pot Luck’s signature style and flavour.
“It’s fun. It’s busy. It’s energetic,” says Dale Roberts. “From the beginning Pot Luck has been all about sharing plates and discovering new flavours. It’s about letting guests experiment and create their own dining experience. I’m really excited to give Pot Luck a permanent home in Johannesburg. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
The Pot Luck Club will retain the sense of edgy urban elegance that defined Carbon, with a soft refurbishment giving it a stamp of Pot Luck’s inimitable DNA. To deliver a dose of Pot Luck character Dale Roberts turned to artist Hannelie Coetzee, who immediately saw the lighting as an opportunity to make a subtle impact.
“Traditional rice paper lanterns would not do for either Luke or myself,” explains Coetzee. “So I commissioned forty custom-welded shapes, covered them in elegant Japanese rice paper and dug through my growing collection of creature drawings. In the end I decided on vividly coloured flying fish for that surprise element when they almost magically propel themselves out of the water. It is a celebration of the power and pure joy of nature.”
Within this eye-catching space there’s an all-star team running the new venue, with Group Executive Chef Jason Kosmas taking care of the menu and Gray Tawanda, the longest-serving manager of the Cape Town restaurant, returning to the group as manager of The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg.
“It’s wonderful to be back with The Pot Luck Club family again,” says Tawanda, who brings years of experience and his own inimitable hospitality to the role. “We can’t wait to show Johannesburg just what has made Pot Luck so popular down in Cape Town. But, of course, here we’re going to make it even better!”
The menu format will be familiar to Pot Luck fans, kicking off with a bread course and Family Favourites; a ‘Greatest Hits’ of Pot Luck classics. If you’ve ever tasted the chickpea fries with aioli and smoked ketchup, or the succulent beef fillet with silky café au lait sauce, you’ll know precisely why these plates could never be taken off the menu.
Other favourites have been given a unique twist for Johannesburg: here the beef tataki – served as a tartare in Cape Town – is plated with fresh spring onion dressing and roast garlic aioli, while in Johannesburg the line fish swims in saffron cream, with tamarind dressing and basil mint salad.
“We have taken a handful of these long-standing favourite plates from Cape Town and moved them up to Johannesburg, but we also had a great time creating entirely new dishes for this new outpost of The Pot Luck Club,” says Jason Kosmas, Group Executive Chef for Dale Roberts’ collection of restaurants.
Along with a fragrant Pad Thai lobster salad; a highlight of the new menu is the Mexican-inspired pork belly.
“This dish is just a knock-out,” enthuses Kosmas. “We serve it with a soft shell taco, ancho chilli dressing and beautiful pineapple salsa. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see fans of Cape Town Pot Luck coming up to Joburg just for this!”
Pot Luck Club Johannesburg also boasts a dedicated Cold Bar, serving everything from oysters with Vietnamese-style nuac cham dressing, to line fish ceviche dressed with the kick of a classic ‘tiger’s milk’.
Both are a perfect match for the carefully curated list of wines from boutique South African cellars, and signature Pot Luck daquiris, martinis and sake-based cocktails.
The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg launches this coming Tuesday 2, May 2023. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.
Bookings are now open! Visit www.thepotluckclubjhb.co.za or call 010 745 3999. Find it at 199 Oxford Road, Dunkeld, Randburg, Johannesburg.