Erwin's is an institution! It served its first meal in 1978 and the restaurant, currently in Parkmore, is still run by the same proprietors since inception.
Most diners are of the more senior generation, but with age comes wisdom - the wisdom to know that classical cooking is timeless. Swiss and French classics, prepared with love and quality ingredients, make this a truly unique Johannesburg restaurant. In these modern times, where just about everything is given a reboot, Erwin’s is a welcome relief. It's food heaven and its longevity within the sometimes fickle Northern suburbs cements this status.
For me, the highlight of any visit to Erwin’s must be the Crepes ala Loraine. Where else do you still experience the chef flambé table side?
Its epic watching owner and Chef Judith, with a well-rehearsed hand, prepare this dessert and it’s a pleasure to eat it! Flames leaping toward the high ceiling create a warm glow. The fragrant aroma of orange and liqueur heating up, adds to the sense of excitement and anticipation. That is exactly how the crepes are prepared (a special order). There’s an interesting story about how this dish got its name, ask Judith about it. To borrow from modern terminology, it’s LIT - this is one of the most perfectly executed desserts I have eaten. The crepes are soft and melt in your mouth, while the ice cream gives an extra bit of indulgence. You simply have not lived until you have sampled this dish!
Apart from desserts - the dishes available are varied but always classic. Prawn cocktail, snails, pate, fish, fillet, shellfish, stews and more.
On our last visit we enjoyed Zuericher Geschnetzeltes: silky smooth sauce which includes some wine, tender veal strips and mushrooms. It’s rich and comforting served with crispy roesti (grated and friend potato) to soak up the divine gravy. The tenderness of the meat, together with that kick of meatiness from the mushrooms – I could have licked my plate. With the cold that’s associated with the Alpine region, I can understand why this dish was created, its filling and warming. I love this dish so much, that even a hint of cold or a blanket of cloud over Joburg makes me head to Erwin’s.
My dinner companions opted for the prawns and cordon bleu. The prawns were the size of baby crayfish, their firm, fleshy, slightly sweet meat was well cooked. They were served with rice and 2 aromatic sauces (chilli and garlic butter). The cordon bleu, was fried to golden, crispy perfection. I am salivating just writing this. All mains are served with vegetables for the table – I must confess to not eating any of the other veggies, except the spinach, which is out of this world YUM! A 2013 Meinert Merlot, with its berry, herb-ish taste and smooth finish added to our dining experience.
The restaurant has recently undergone a face-lift and is more modern. Think bold, warm red teamed with an elegant grey.
But the fireplace, linen, curtains and fresh flowers give it a very comfortable, homely feel - just the place to be when the chill sets in and the sun has set.
The service is mostly prompt and professional. The two serving staff have been with the establishment for a number of years. Apart from their knowledge of the menu, they have a great sense of humour.
Erwin’s also does a Sunday buffet lunch, which I haven’t yet tried, but it’s been well recommended.
I could rabbit on and on about the food and service at Erwin’s but it’s time to experience it for yourself!
For more details:
Address: 11th Street, Parkmore Mews, Sandton, 2146
Phone: 011 783 5579