Welcome to Week 14 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Glory, a quirky new chicken restaurant in Melville.
Glory is a restaurant I must write about.
First, Glory is in Melville, my home suburb and the best place to live in Johannesburg. I haven’t included a Melville place in my #Gauteng52 series yet, which is a travesty. Second, Glory is super quirky and quirkiness is my thing. Third, Glory is new and everyone loves a new restaurant review. Fourth, Glory’s food is delicious.
I’ve been hesitant to write this post because I’m not sure how to describe Glory. This restaurant is, for lack of a better description, kinda strange. It’s not like other restaurants, in ways that are good and bad and neither good nor bad. But mostly good.
I went to Glory twice — once for lunch on a Sunday afternoon and once for dinner on a Friday night.
Food at Glory
Glory serves exceptional food. The menu centers around chicken so if you’re a vegetarian or a big fan of red meat, you might be disappointed. But if you love chicken — local, free-range, perfectly seasoned and cooked chicken — then you will love the food at Glory. Apparently the owners have their own chicken farm and that’s where the chicken comes from.
I ate the “Full Box Fried Chicken” both times because: 1) it’s delicious; and 2) I struggled to decipher the other items on the menu (more on that later). The Full Box can be ordered for either two or four people, or a very hungry single person, and includes all the different chicken parts (wing/leg, thigh, and breast) disassembled and prepared different ways along with a selection of side dishes.
Lunch for four. The sides and sauces on the left are all delicious — rice, marinated mushrooms and cucumbers, sesame sauce and chili sauce. There are also these amazingly tasty green leaves and bao (puffy, bread-like rolls) that you can use to make mini chicken sandwiches. The thigh meat is topped with flash-fried spring onions that melt in your mouth.
The Full Box Fried Chicken is fantastic and there may be no need to order anything else. But the menu is difficult to read and that did discourage me from trying something different the second time.
The Glory Menu. It’s very cute but the font is small and it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Here’s an online version.
Glory’s cocktails are delicious. I had the Thai margarita — it exploded with lime and basil. I savoured the cocktail slowly and it lasted the entire meal.
Ambiance at Glory
Glory is a small, mostly outdoor restaurant, with a few tables inside and a semi-indoor space with wooden tables and benches. With the exception of the semi-indoor section, the tables and chairs are lawn furniture. The furniture is relatively comfortable — there are pillows for the lawn chairs — but we struggled to get our table and chair legs to sit flat on the paving stones.
The serving dishes at Glory are neon plastic, in the tradition of Asian street food. The music is Asian indie pop.
I’m starting to hate the word hipster but I have to use it anyway. Glory seems to attract a huge hipster crowd — at least it did when I was there on a Friday evening. (I think there was a hip DJ playing.) I’m pretty sure I was in the 90th percentile in age. There was a stream of disappointed young hipsters being turned away because they didn’t have bookings.
If you want to have a more quiet dinner at Glory, I recommend going on a weeknight. And make a booking.
Service at Glory
The servers at Glory have much in common with the customers: very hip, very sweet, but also kind of confused. Everyone is new and doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience, so it sometimes takes a while to get side plates and napkins and forks (if you’re not talented enough to eat slippery rice with chopsticks, as I am not). All that said, I find the confusion rather charming because the place is quirky and weird and everyone is nice.
It’s easy to eat at Glory for about R100 ($8) per person without drinks. The cocktails are pricey but worth it. I think it’s a great deal for such good food. A gratuity of 12% is included on the bill, which the nice servers will point out so you don’t double-tip them.
My final assessment: I love the food at Glory and I plan to go back again and again. I’m hoping they eventually overhaul their menu (the way it’s printed, not the food itself) and invest in some sturdier furniture and environmentally friendly serving dishes. Also I wish they’d just bring me a fork so I don’t have to feel uncool by asking for one. But even if they do none of those things, I’ll be back anyway.
Glory is at 10 7th Street, Melville (walk around the corner to 3rd Avenue to find the entrance.) Reach them at +27-82-499-7808.