Tanz LiveIt’s been ages since I’ve seen a menu featuring a carpet bagger steak.
Not since I was a kid, when it was the snobby pinnacle of British pub grub.
Now you can get one at Tanz Live, a music venue where food is as much a main event as the bands. But just like there are good and bad bands, I’m sure there are good and bad dishes to be had.
I’ve followed Tanz through three different venues, and at its later reincarnation in Randburg it serves breakfast and lunch as well as dinners, so perhaps the owners figure it can only be viable if trade is coming in constantly.
It’s an imaginative menu, and the Carpet Bagger, a 250g fillet topped with smoked oysters, crispy bacon and red wine sauce costing R140. Actually it’s R139.95, in that useless way of trying to make expensive things look cheaper.
Chicken kebabs with fresh pepper, onion, pineapple pieces and a sweet and sour sauce cost R99,95, in case you’d never pay R100. The main dishes are served with a choice of chips, rice or roast potatoes and seasonal veg.
I fancied something small to leave room for the citrus cheesecake or the hot mud pudding for chocoholics, but I didn’t make it. Although my Connoisseur’s Salad was lettuce-laden, it had enough other interesting stuff to fill me. The promised bacon was more fat than actual meat, however.
My partner’s Beef Strips Bordeau at R129.95 was supposed to come with ciabatta bread to to mop up the creamy and extremely garlicky sauce. He asked for the bread twice before it came, regrettably stale. That was a minor hindrance though, because the tender meat, lovely crisp roast potatoes, pumpkin and spinach disappeared speedily.
The stage looks out over a bar with a dancing area, while the diner-style restaurant has booths rather than free-standing tables.
There’s a kids’ menu and a play area outside, presumably because some rockers who grew up with Tanz now have nippers in tow. There was certainly a mixed crowd, with couples of all ages and oddly, a table full of children. Perhaps they were stragglers from the afternoon session where the main attraction had been a DJ aged 11.
Our waitress had adored him. “I don’t normally like kids, but this one, he’s clever at mixing it,” she said. Our waitress was a hoot, and worth the R50 admission fee all by herself.
She kept us posted when one band did a sound check them disappeared again. “They need to eat first,” she explained. Whatever happened to the idea of starving artists, I wondered.
The show was meant to begin at 8.30pm, and I found myself growing grumpy with the late start. Our meal was almost over, there was no room for dessert, and wine by the glass – a choice of basic red or white – was too dreadful to drink.
Finally one guy took to the stage with his guitar. After a couple of songs our waitress apologised. “This one puts me to sleep,” she confided.
When The Andy Fisher Band finished eating they gave us a show, and a pretty good one at that. Hendrix-inspired rock and blues, mostly self-penned rather than the usual cover versions.
But we called it a night as the next band thrashed into their third song.
I love the idea of Tanz, but sometimes I love the idea more then the reality.
Tanz Live is open from 10am till late, Tuesdays to Sundays.
Heathway Shopping Centre, Beyers Naude Drive, Johannesburg.
Tel: 011-476 4169.
www.tanzlive.co.za (Pic from Tanz Live)