Bring out your inner mad scientist: experiment with unique spirits + meat cuts
Char’d Grill: A bucket-list steakhouse experience for all foodies (vegetarians too)
Not your ordinary steakhouse: Rare cuts of meat, brandy tastings + a deli
Last updated: 20 December 2022
Science fiction meets retro-futuristic technology at this Hermanus eatery. For its edgy steampunk veneer, Char’d Grill & Wine Bar is a surprisingly refined steakhouse, with a rare selection of meat cuts, served with some curious side dishes and polished with decadent rum or brandy tastings. It presents a sophisticated yet exciting experience that you wouldn’t find at any ordinary steakhouse.
Char’d Grill is located on a quiet street, just around the corner from the sea. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
STEP INTO A MAD SCIENTIST'S LAIR
The decor is inspired by steampunk, a retro-futuristic subgenre of science fiction that incorporates designs inspired by 19th-century industrial, steam-powered machinery. In keeping with the Victorian science fantasy theme, you’ll see gear cog mirrors, steam pipes and brass thermometers mounted on the walls. Waitrons wear bowler hats with goggles and handmade leather aprons, while the staff shows off an old 1920s telephone that actually still works (jaws dropped in our young team when we used it).
There’s also “No phone” boxes at every booth (place your phone in there). Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
The chandeliers are made from a bunch of light bulbs clumped together, one of which is loadshedding-friendly and stays lit when the power goes out. There’s also an intricate contraption next to the bar that’s used to provide scents and tasters of numerous gins to customers. Owner Petri Hendriksz has put much thought into designing a sensory experience that stimulates sight, sound, taste, smell and touch with the gin atomiser.
Guests then choose their four favourite gins to have as a tasting. Image: Lara van Zyl
CHOOSE A RARE CUT OF MEAT
Char’d Grill’s dry-ageing glass room, filled from floor to ceiling with artisanal cuts of meat, is a spectacular display and a reflection of the thought that goes into preparing each cut. Beyond your well-known cuts like the sirloin or rump, Char’d boasts cuts that we’ve never heard of before – skirt, hanger, denver – each rated on the menu according to tenderness and flavour. These are often-overlooked pieces with a unique flavour profile that can’t be found at conventional grocery stores or restaurants.
The menu also describes where each cut comes from. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
It truly is a whole performance when choosing your cut. When you’re ready to place your order, a waitron comes to the table with a tray full of traditional dry-aged beef cuts as well as the lesser-known cuts and walks you through the size and flavour profile of each cut.
OR GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try both a traditional and unconventional cut, the meat appreciation platter is for you. It contains the chef's selection of dry and wet-aged beef (including one of the lesser known cuts), along with bone marrow, garlic rolls and fries and is perfect to share for 2 to 3 people, or you could take it all for yourself.
You can order more sides and other dishes along with the meat appreciation platter. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
ORDER OTHER LOCAL FAVOURITES
Besides the famous steaks, Char’d is beloved for its creative and mouth-watering side dishes. Local favourites include the mac-and-cheese balls and roasted bone marrow and snails washed down with Jack Daniels.
A true winner is the pulled pork mac-and-cheese, stoked with smokey flavour and creamy goodness. Our team’s top pick is the Caveman Rib, a rich piece marinated for 24 hours with 10/10 tenderness. See more of our favourite meals and things from Char’d.
You can choose which cut you want from the tray. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
The must-try, trendy burgers are the Cheese Fondue (topped with fries, beef trimmings and cheese sauce), the Cyril, named after President Cyril Ramaphosa (topped with cheesy jalapeno popper and sweet oriental syrup), and the Skud Jou Brisket (topped with pulled smoked brisket and blue cheese).
Sides are ordered separately. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
VEGETARIANS LOVE IT TOO
A steakhouse may not be the first choice for vegetarians and vegans, but Char’d Grill is the exception. The Fungi burger with mushroom and blackbean patty are house favourites, along with comfort foods like the sticky smokey corn ribs and the cheesy jalapeno poppers. If you’re not feeling the options on the menu, you can order from the sister restaurant Pear Tree and they will bring your dish to you.
The mac and cheese is also a popular vegetarian dish. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
TASTE RUM, BRANDY OR TEQUILA
Continuing the sensational tasting journey, Char’d also offers 3 curious tasting trays – Cape Brandy, Karoo Mezcal (tequila) and Afrikanis rum – all proudly South African labels. Each tray is accompanied by three glasses. Our team particularly enjoyed the Afrikanis Spiced Rum, which was described as “Christmas in a bottle” and has notes of caramelised pineapple and cinnamon.
All these labels are for sale in the deli shop. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
BONUS: BUY FROM THE DELI
Not only can you enjoy the rare meats and local labels at the restaurant, you can buy and make your own at home. The Butcher’s Deli is complete with read-packed cuts for you to braai at home and all the labels from the tasting trays. You can also purchase the leather aprons, handmade and one-of-a-kind knives and wine holders.
The deli shop is open during Char’d Grill business hours. Image: Char’d Grill & Wine Bar
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
Char’d Grill is open: Monday to Friday, 12pm - 9pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10.30am - 9pm
Find it: Shop 4 (by Tsonga), Village Square, Hermanus, Western Cape
Contact on: 028 312 1986, Instagram: @chardhermanus
By Lara van Zyl
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