When you hear the words ‘steakhouse’ used in the South African context, you’d be forgiven for thinking cheap and cheerful, family style dining, but this couldn’t be further from the classic, authentic American steakhouse the way they do it in the deep South. A place where luxury abounds and white linen napkins, bottles of the finest wine and silver cutlery come standard.

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Having spent time in fine dining steakhouses in the States, I was interested to try one of the newest additions to the Ballito restaurant scene Turn & Tender. The decor is all leather and wood, reminiscent of old world luxury with a hint of Southern charm mixed in for good measure. The Turn ‘n Tender story began in 1977 when four brothers opened their first restaurant in Johannesburg. Since then they’ve become synonymous with great quality steak and meat dishes, excellent taste in wines and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

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If you’re looking for vibey and upbeat, then Turn n Tender probably wouldn’t be your number 1 choice on a Wednesday night. But if you’re more interested in a beautifully intimate and elegant dining experience then you I have no doubt you will enjoy TnT regardless of how many other people there are in the restaurant. They have an interesting and comprehensive wine selection, of which I selected the Rupert & Rothschild Classique (one of my favourites) to complement the steak I knew I would be having.

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On a whole, the service was exemplary and I was pleasantly surprised by our waitress’ knowledge of food and wine pairing, as well as recommendations for every course (which we did try on a few occasions.) For my starter, I opted for the curried prawns which was a bowl of tender shrimp swimming in a creamy sauce with just the right amount of heat, accompanied by a heap of fresh French loaf to soak up all that deliciousness at the end.

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For our mains, we were offered a selection of Turn ‘n Tender’s signature cuts of meat to choose from – a rib-eye, a fillet and a rump.

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I chose a medium-rare rib-eye drizzled with salted butter, accompanied by a big ol’ baked potato on the side (because what else would you choose when seeking an authentic steakhouse experience) I hardly made a dent on it but it was cooked to perfection and one of the most tender, most delicious steaks I’ve had in years.

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My friend chose a juicy fillet with stir fried vegetables on the side, which I just had to show you cos it looks so good!

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For dessert, I had one of my absolute favourites – a chocolate lava cake with a molten centre and vanilla ice-cream which was the sweetest way to end off a great evening.

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On a whole, I think we’ve missed this kind of high-end dining in Ballito and I truly hope more and more people will start to choose to treat themselves and their loved ones to this one of a kind experience. Their menu is extensive and I invite you to explore it for yourself, whatever your tastes.

You can find Turn ‘n Tender at the new Ballito Junction Mall, 032 586 0975.