Tjing Tjing House is a multi-level Japanese-inspired eatery and bar, sitting just off the restaurant-heavy Bree Street in the City Centre in a 200 year-old heritage building.
The ground floor is home to Tjing Tjing Torii, a restaurant modelled on the ‘yokocho’ (street food alleyways) of Tokyo. The electric atmosphere doesn’t detract from the great food, which is a typically street food-inspired selection of bento, tempura, yakitori and gyoza, along with some more filling options, like ramen or rice bowls.
One floor up is Tjing Tjing Momiji, a more refined space which offers a more refined Japanese dining experience, along ‘keiseki’ (seasonal degustation-style menu) options, with great wine and sake pairings. The Momiji lounge is on the same floor – darkm, moody and sophisticated and a great place to hunker down to enjoy some great cocktails, Japanese whiskies and ‘otsumami’ bar snacks.
One floor above that is the haven of Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar, voted one of the best bars in the world in 2012 by Conde Nast Traveler. Up in the rafters, you’d expect it to be cramped and close – and it’s anything but. The wooden beams in the roof highlight the space, rather than limiting it, and a terraced section through the glass doors offers cityscape views if the low-light interior isn’t to your taste.
The bar is a lavish affair, respectfully paying tribute to the form of a Japanese shrine in bright red, contrasted by a black & white Tokyo & Kyoto-driven photo wall, opposite. Seating is sparse – this is a party bar, with great music and a sizzling atmosphere, rather than one to settle into for a long session.
The menu is true to the Japanese theme, with sake and a number of Japanese beers available – and the cocktails get the authentic treatment too. The Sake Sour pairs the dryness of rice wine with the tang of sour apple and lime, with a lift from a dash of Cointreau.
The Ginger Ninja brings the heat to a tropical punch-themed banger, and the Umami Bomb matches a honey& mushroom reduction to roasted sesame-infused bourbon for a quite otherworldly cocktail experience. The mixologists are also happy to produce more traditional, classic cocktails on request – which are equally high-impact, but you’d be missing out on the opportunity to taste some truly unique drinks from the well thought-out menu.
There are snacks here too – but not as you know them. Forget the peanuts and pretzels – otsumami includes things like tempura mushrooms, sesame broccoli and unmissable okonomiyaki fries. Their signature? The ‘Atsui Dog’ – a hot dog with milk bread, beef sausage, kimchi, kewpie mayo and hot sauce that you’ll dream about, long after you’ve left.
Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar trades Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to late on a first come, first served basis. Early group reservations can be made via email@example.com.
Don’t just visit Tjing Tjing for the cocktails – their wine list is equally wonderful. Their House Red and White are provided by Swartland duo David & Nadia – who come with serious credentials – and the rest of the list comprises an interesting selection from lesser known, though no less worthy, estates.
165 Longmarket St
Cape Town City Centre