Many of you read my previous post about the interesting experiences I’ve had recently on Tinder and other dating apps, and my plan to start a business helping people improve their dating app profiles. In conjunction with that I’m starting a series of posts about my top recommendations for Jozi dates. First up: Urbanologi.

I have mentioned Urbanologi briefly on this blog but never devoted a full post to it, which is inexcusable because it’s one of my favorite high-end restaurants in Joburg. In fact it might be my very favorite.

Inside Urbanologi restaurant
Inside Urbanologi.
Urbanologi interior
This restaurant has the best decor in town.

And Urbanologi is definitely my number one Jozi date night recommendation for people who are adventurous — in both the places they go and the food they eat. Urbanologi is downtown, which always feels like a bit of an adventure (although the location in Joburg’s 1 Fox Precinct is totally safe), the restaurant’s decor is the perfect combination of edgy and classy, and the food is innovative, beautifully presented, and insanely flavorful. Urbanologi is also vegetarian-friendly.

And did I mention the drinks? Urbanologi shares its space with Mad Giant Brewery, which makes some of the best craft beer in the city, and also offers a great selection of wine.

Urbanologi invited me to check out their new Project 150 menu, developed by chef Jack Coetzee, which sources all of its ingredients (except spices) from farms within a 150-kilometer (93-mile) radius of the restaurant. The menu actually lists the local farms where each dish comes from.

I love this idea but I wondered if the menu would feel limited, or simply less yummy, as a result. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Dinner at Urbanologi

I went to dinner with my bestie Ruth because sometimes dinner with a friend is the best kind of date night.

The back of Ruth’s head.

This dinner was a press invite so we received a selection of several dishes on the menu: the beetroot-cured trout sashimi, the tempura shimeji mushrooms with smoked garlic relish, the grilled asparagus, the shiitake mielie “Pop Tart”, the lamb belly, the roasted carrots, the guava mimosa, and the poached fig.

Here are a few pictures.

[Side note: I shot all these photos with my new Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera and 35-millimeter f1.8 lens — thanks Canon South Africa. I’m still getting used to all the camera’s new features but I love having a smaller, less obtrusive camera with a flip-out screen to carry around with me to restaurants.]

Mushroom tempura and trout sashimi from Urbanologi
First course: Mushroom tempura and trout sashimi.
Shitake pop tart from Urbanologi
The shiitake Pop Tart, which tasted nothing at all like the Pop Tarts I ate as a child.
Lamb belly from Urbanologi
The lamb belly, which I had all to myself because Ruth is a vegetarian. It was served on a roti, over harissa paste, and topped with pickled red peppers. This was so freaking delicious — there is absolutely no question that local, sustainable meat tastes better than other meat — and my mouth is watering right now as I write this caption.
Guava mimosa dessert from Urbanologi
Guava mimosa for dessert.

My favorite dishes of the evening were the tempura mushrooms with garlic relish, the trout sashimi (I’m so glad Urbanologi found local fish farms to source from even though Joburg is nowhere near any bodies of water), and the lamb belly. I had a great glass of Chenin Blanc with my meal (I forgot to ask the name of the farm), and Ruth enjoyed Mad Giant’s new cannabis ale.

This dinner was damn near perfect. Go there with your next date — you’re likely to get lucky afterward.

Urbanologi is at 1 Fox Street in Ferreirasdorp. Note dinner service doesn’t start until 7 p.m.

My meal at Urbanologi was complimentary, and I received my new camera and lens with assistance from Canon South Africa. Opinions expressed are mine.

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