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WORDS: EMILY SHAW IMAGES: SUPPLIED

There’s little wonder why Coobs is a firm favourite with its Parkhurst neighbourhood – a fabulous, relaxed sidewalk setting, unpretentious decor and one of the best wine lists in town all help. But every old faithful deserves a makeover now and again and in celebration of 2020, Coobs has done just that.

Before anyone panics, Coobs’s fare is still almost 90% sustainable, sourced from family-owned farm Brightside and supports only small local winemakers (try the Restless River Chardonnay from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley).

Upon arrival you’ll be treated to a welcome drink of prosecco which is deliciously light and dry. If bubbles aren’t for you, you have the option of two incredibly well-priced cocktails from the mixology bar made famous by James Diack’s other establishment Douglas + Hale. Tucked away next to the outdoor dining section, a liquor wizard puts together the most delicious and unusual combinations of flavours – you won’t find a regular old daquiri here.

When you’re ready to order starters, it’s recommended you and your guest each order something different and share, the casual atmosphere really allows a lot of tasting and lingering over each course.

Try the chilli and lime calamari – while the tubes and heads are the hero, the delicate salad beneath the protein was no garnish – well considered crisp and fresh. For bird lovers there’s the Korean-style chicken, again accompanied by fragrant corn salad and a generous helping of four large wings.

The menu is still as varied as it used to be and most palates will be covered – from the well-rounded starters from which you could build your own tapas meal, to light options for lunch and the serious main courses. The pasta selection is particularly good with combinations like Toulouse sausage and asparagus, wild boar ragu and pockets stuffed with short rib. The portions are good but not overwhelming – if you had a starter or are wanting dessert you’ll definitely leave with a doggy bag. From beginning to end the word that matches the experience has to be fresh – nothing about the food, wine, service or ambience felt forced or heavy.

Coobs is intimate enough to be romantic, but without the awkward cheesiness that a lot of high-end bistros can come along with, so it’s an excellent first date spot. It has also retained a relaxed atmosphere, and would be a great option for both a reunion or for client entertainment.

The real winner here, however, has to be the service. Polite and helpful without being intrusive, friendly and knowledgeable without being familiar, and fast and efficient. The secret recipe for a restaurant experience that lasts has to be a balance of all the above – excellent food and wine, heart in how it serves the community and planet, authentic and comfortable environment, and superb hosts. Coobs has been delivering all of it in spades over the years and now with its new menu, is showing no signs of stopping.

In your hood: Parkhurst
Coobs | 011 447 0710 | Facebook: @CoobsParkhurst