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Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar
The bar upstairs from Dear Me, and the restaurant downstairs from Tjing Tjing
“Tjing Tjing,” says Ronel Smidt, general manager, lifting her glass. I echo her sentiment clinking my tumbler against hers. I’m drinking a Dawa; a medley of crushed ice, honey, lime and premium vodka—it’s officially my new favourite cocktail. And, that’s exactly what this bar is like; a place to uncover interesting and delicious things: much like the restaurant Dear Me below.
You’ll find Tjing Tjing on the third level of (an almost) 200-year-old house on Longmarket Street. And yes, it’s a rooftop bar; guaranteeing you views of the cityscape. Impressive for sure, but what’s even more so is the bar’s interior. There’s dark wood, there’s red leather, there’s gleaming copper. There are elements of whimsy, and it’s all so, well, sexy.
Time for another cocktail: this time I opt for a cucumber martini laced with gin and thyme. The overall feel of the bar is Japanese; Ronel tells me that the owner, Ilze, is a lover of the country, and was inspired by her travels. In fact, the black and white wallpaper covering the right side of the bar is a collage of photographs the couple took while over there.
“They took lots of random shots. You can see some people are even trying to get away,” laughs Ronel.
The tapas menu is drool-worthy; cheesy quesadillas, beer-battered angel fish, sticky pork skewers, and sirloin steak roll to name a few. There’s also a wood-fired oven on the balcony which, chef, Vanessa Marx has plans to roast suckling pig in (and to also use for special pizza evenings).
Music is as equally important as the food and drink are. I’m told that the owners often stay up till the early morning hours creating playlists. Luckily they have great taste, think of the likes of indie DJ Haasbroek.
It’s starting to fill up now. In trickle the creatives, the urban professionals, and the well-heeled; it’s definitely an attractive crowd. A haunt for artists, photographers, and magazine types—the area underneath the bar is called ‘the white room’, and is a space for exhibitions, events and sometimes dinner service.
The winelist reads more like Dostoyevsky than Jackie Collins; with a focus on rare, interesting wines, rather than the blatant. Case-in-point: earlier in the week I had a glass of Foundry Grenache Blanc, a find from the Voor-Paardeberg region—a bright, citrusy wine with soft mouthfeel. The wine was hand-picked by Ronel, who gets positively giddy when she talks about her wine-of-the-week.
What a place. All three floors of it. Stop what you’re doing, and come here immediately. Another ‘Tjing Tjing’ rings out as we toast our martinis.
By Malu Lambert
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We also had lunch at the Dear Me downstairs.