Agrilla Meet and Cocktail Bar opens at Time Square Pretoria

A play on the word meat, the restaurant conceptualised by two buddies

by Tia
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With an emphasis on friends gathering to enjoy great food, it comes as no surprise that Agrilla Meet and Cocktail Bar is a concept designed by business partners who are also buddies.

A play on the word meat, Agrilla, which opened end of April at Pretoria’s largest entertainment and hotel complex, is an upmarket South African grill house and cocktail bar offering top-quality meat from a top local butcher.  The restaurant’s unique offering creates engaging entertainment with a ‘theatre of dining’, using butcher blocks to slice a customer’s meat at their table.

“We make our own drywors and biltong, our steaks are 21-day wet-aged in-house, and we offer the best pap and sheba,” said Agrilla executive chef Justin Jonah, who ironically is a former Executive Chef for Time Square. “We are a steakhouse for adults and our menu is based upon what South Africans like to eat best – meat – with delicious dishes with sides of pap and sheba.”

With a track record of success across several Sun International properties – Agrilla owners Paul de Jager and Jon Sarris operate Trader’s at Time Square, Maltos restaurants at Wild Coast Sun and Sun City resorts, as well as the popular The Shebeen at the latter – the upmarket restaurant is sure to find favour with locals as well as visiting international guests.

The menu is influenced by the Afrikaans and Greek roots of its owners, offering dishes they enjoy such as chicken livers, trinchado and grilled halloumi. Starters include mushrooms, bruschetta rubbed with garlic and topped with black pepper cream, heirloom tomatoes and onion salsa, American-style buffalo chicken wings, tossed in a smoky barbeque sauce, and marrow bones with toast.

“Our steaks are made in the most authentic possible style to show the quality of the meat, using natural rubs, salt and pepper which do not camouflage its flavour. We cook over coals on an open flame, and use methods such as rubbing our picanha with bay leaves, which is a great way to flavour meat,” Jonah said. Steaks are rested in butter, thyme and garlic after being cooked.

Specialities include a four-and-a-half-hour slow cooked short rib, served in a red wine gravy, and a 1kg rump steak.

Chicken dishes include a flame-grilled, baby chicken marinated overnight with paprika, white wine, garlic, and peri-peri, as well as a barbecue version. There is also a chicken espetada, made with chicken thighs and grilled Portuguese-style.

The restaurant also does a mixed grill for sharing, with steak, boerewors, chicken wings and a choice of sides including twice-cooked potato wedges, buttery parmesan mashed potato, wedges, and creamed spinach.

In keeping with its patron’s requirements, Agrilla has a wide selection of whiskies and high-end cognacs. “We want people to get together and enjoy cocktails inspired by top mixologists around the world,” said Sarris. “Think old school flavours with modern influence – instead of a whisky sour, we have a blueberry sour, made with tequila, for example.” Customers can be seated at the dedicated bar area which seats 10, and interact with one of three barmen to personalise their drinks orders.

Agrilla is open Tuesday to Friday from 2pm until 11pm, and on Saturdays from noon.

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