I just love Linden. I know I’m not alone in that – it wouldn’t be Jozi’s foodie capital right now if I was – but it’s not just the restaurants that get to me. There’s still something quaint and old-fashioned about the suburb, and you can see it in the mix of shops: from hipster havens to the kind of dress shops that probably don’t have a single client under the age of fifty.
All of that aside, you can’t actually separate Linden from its restaurant scene, especially since some of Johannesburg’s most exciting food is being cooked up in Linden kitchens. Van Der Linde is definitely a case in point: the taste combinations dreamed up by Amori Burger aren’t just delicious. They’re exciting and different, too.
I think that the burrata and grapes is probably the best demonstration of this. I have to admit that I couldn’t stop myself from having just one more bite, and then just one more, and one more after that…The burrata was just so moreish, especially when its salty creaminess combined with the sweetness of the grapes and creamy confit garlic.I also tried the fillet on the bone, served with a red pepper aioli. It was a bit of an odd choice for me, because I’m not actually a fan of red pepper – but this was absolutely superb. The fillet was perfectly cooked, and the aioli’s flavours complemented it perfectly.
The dessert menu has some traditional choices, like crème brulee, but I would go for the marigold mousse. Yes, the concept is a little offbeat, but it’s such a refreshing change from the usual chocolate or caramel puddings: the taste is slightly floral and very summery – seriously, you have to give it a try. The poached stone fruit with basil is another great option. What I loved most about these desserts is that although they satisfy that need for something sweet at the end of the meal, they have a spectrum of flavours in each bite rather than tasting overwhelmingly sugary; plus, you don’t leave the table feeling as though you’re about to burst through your jeans.Van Der Linde’s decore also deserves a mention. It is absolutely beautiful – you could wander around the different niches, finding something new to look at, for quite a while. What’s more, there’s a different nook for every occasion. Business lunch? Head to the main area. Special occasion? There’s a private dining room perfect for any celebration. Coffee and cake? You’ll battle to choose between the drool-worthy cakes. First date? They’ve got you covered.
Certain to become a Linden classic, this is definitely one to add to your restaurant bucket list.