Shop 7, Parktown Quarter, 3rd Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg. Tel: 011 447 5828. foundrycafe.co.za. Mains R95-170. 500ml South African draught craft beer R36-45
The Parkhurst/Parktown area is fast becoming the beer hub of Jo’burg and Foundry is well-placed to be a stop on a mini beer safari (though the fact that we didn’t bother leaving to try out any other places is probably a good indicator of Foundry’s prowess). It’s a lively spot with a great vibe and a street-side terrace that’s protected from the elements in winter.
The Foundry (or is it just ‘Foundry’?) has one of those menus I kind of hate. Not because it’s not good – quite the opposite. It’s that menu where you fancy four or five things and worry that the one you didn’t choose might have been the right option. Luckily I wasn’t the one at the table with food envy (order the maple bacon and blue cheese pizza – it’s wonderful). Others at our table got the springbok (large, very tasty and a perfect winter warmer), the burger (juicy, awesome chips, not as good as the springbok or pizza) and the mushroom ravioli (rich). The tapas snackies we started off with also impressed – try the crispy squid heads if you’re not so hungry or the sundried tomato flatbread for the best bang for your buck. The chicken wings were good but massive (I like those little, manageable ones – not so messy) – get the ribs instead.
We were a total pain in the arse table of beer geeks, each time ordering one bottle of beer and four wine glasses to divvy it out in. But the servers took it all in their stride, somehow finding room on the table for everything. The beer knowledge was fairly good – there was a mystery brew on tap – Frankie Four Fingers. It’s their house beer but of course there is no brewery on site. Without hesitation our server knew it was from Agar’s Brewery and brought us all a taster (not bad, touch of diacetyl if you’re interested). Elsewhere we had a few mix-ups (a round of amber weiss instead of the harvest lager we’d ordered) but generally I was impressed with the beer knowledge.
The first thing you see as your walk through (The) Foundry’s doors is a glassed-off section lined with shelves of beer. It’s an impressive range and an instant indicator that you’re in the right spot if you’re a beer fan. The draught selection is decent if not spectacular – a dozen taps offering ales and lagers, both local and imported, though nothing for the IBU-chasers. In bottles there’s a handful of IPAs plus close to 30 other beers. A couple of years ago, many of Jozi’s top beer spots seemed to showcase mostly Cape brews, so it’s great to see a solid selection of local beers alongside imports from the Cape (Devil’s Peak, CBC, Boston) and further afield (La Chouffe, BrewDog). I particularly liked the menu, with beers categorised under style headings – lager, weiss, dark lager and the like.
With a great variety of tasty food and a similarly good variety of beer, The Foundry gets the Brewmistress’s stamp of approval. There were a couple of beer service hiccups, but largely my beloved beverage was getting its due respect. Fun atmosphere, friendly staff – but I did feel weird the next day. You know – kind of headachey and like I could do with another three or four hours of sleep…