The National in Parktown North, owned by the ever-innovative Chef James Diack and headed up by Chef Marc Proenca, has launched a new bar snacks menu. Designed to be eaten with sundowners, afternoon drinks or a cocktail (or two), the new menu will be amplifying The National’s speakeasy vibe.

“A speakeasy is a prohibition bar and a drinking club, and we want to get more of that going,” explains Marc. “We’re not mixologists, but we can offer great wine, craft beer and spirits prepared in a quirky way and served alongside some great flavours.”

Dishes on the menu include potato skins with a smoked garlic aioli and onion dust; deep-fried mac ‘n cheese with smoked cheddar; fiery chorizo bitterballen served with homemade tomato jam and chilli oil; and spicy jalapeno poppers in a tempura batter and stuffed with ricotta, jalapeno, lime and coriander.

Marc joined the team in 2017, and enjoys the fast pace and constantly-changing seasonal menu that the restaurant requires. Chef James Diack, the owner of The National, Coobs, Il Contadino and the soon-to-be-relaunched The Federal, sources all of the restaurants’ ingredients from his family farm in Magaliesburg. Marc says he finds it amazing to know exactly where the produce he’s working with is coming from.

“I love the concept, and the challenge, of head-to-tail and using the whole ingredient or plant, instead of throwing some portions away,” he explains.

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