Bones Kitchen and Bar: The Art of Casual Dining in Woodstock

Bones Kitchen and Bar: The Art of Casual Dining in Woodstock

Uncomplicated dining at its finest at this refined yet casual bistro in The Palms Centre.

Restaurateur Rudi Minnaar thought he’d retired from the hospitality industry when he sold Beluga in 2007. However, fishing and golfing weren’t (quite yet) on the cards for the self-proclaimed workaholic. It would be more than 10 years before he’d get back in the game, and rather haphazardly. He accompanied a friend to view the space for Bones Kitchen and Bar when he fell in love with it and decided he simply had to be involved in the project.

Rudi, who’s co-owned five successful restaurants in Cape Town and four in Johannesburg, has joined forces with head chefs Bella McLeod (previously The Brasserie) and Brendon November (previously La Colombe and Bistro Sixteen82) to create a masterful team that delivers exquisite cuisine and on-point service in the industrial-chic setting of The Palms Centre in Woodstock.

What to expect

The restaurant’s philosophy is simple: Value for money. Cape Town’s burgeoning fine-dining scene – with limited casual-dining options in Woodstock – prompted Rudi to open an accessible, uncomplicated and excellently executed eatery for locals.

Doing away with froths and foams and other unnecessarily fancy add-ons, the food is the focus at Bones: maximum flavour; no fanfare. Which brings us to the meaning of the restaurant’s name, which (as one might mistakenly think) has nothing to do with the menu’s varied selection of meat cuts.

As bones are the base of any stock worth its salt (and stock the base of any memorable sauce), the name Bones speaks to the essence of a good plate of food, and the bare-bones approach with which each dish is conceived.

What to eat

To start, we recommend the carpaccio. Bones’ version is taken to another level with an umami explosion of sweet and salt.

The Parmesan bonbons with mushroom ragout is a must: melted cheese encased in a deep-fried crumb (the ultimate indulgence).

Indecisive foodies will have a hard time choosing between the likes of pork belly (served with butternut and beans) and the wild mushroom risotto, which we were told is “the best dish on the menu”.

There are a surprising number of fresh seafood options, and a specials board, so Bones is not your classic steakhouse. At all.

I opted for the prawn pasta with a chilli-cream sousie (a delicately textured yet robustly flavoured sauce), unexpectedly served with angel-hair pasta that deftly soaks up every drop of the ‘sousie’ to ensure a mouthful of flavour with every bite. One of the best pasta sauces I’ve ever had.

My companion chose the glazed BBQ salmon, which I obviously tucked my fork into. The skin was as crisp and the meat cooked-to-perfection, served with a lip-smacking Asian-style BBQ sauce and vegetables.

As a self-proclaimed crème brûlée connoisseur, I had to try Bones’ rooibos version… served with an orange crumb, charred rosemary and a silky rooibos syrup drizzled on top. It’s flawless.

See the full menu.

Good to know

  • Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am
  • If you find yourself here between 4pm and 7pm, don’t miss the Pick-a-Stick charcoal grill, where you can cook your choice of chicken, pork, fish, meat, cheese, veggies or prawns over an open grill.
  • Wi-fi and plug points are available
  • Secure undercover parking is available at The Palms Centre, which is free if you leave the centre after 9pm