Spread far and wide

2011-01-07 14:12

Gerhard Maritzen was a young man full of ideas who had to make a life-changing choice.

He wanted to leave Europe and settle in a new country to start afresh, and his choice was either South Africa or Australia.

Lovers of good food can be grateful that Maritzen decided to settle in Johannesburg because over the last few decades he has owned and run some of the city’s top eating establishments.

He has been in South Africa for 43 years now and shows no sign of letting up.

A man who certainly knows his way around the kitchen, and has quite a few neat recipes up his sleeve, Maritzen is an easy-going personality and a recognisable name on the Johannesburg culinary scene.

We first met when he ran Gerhard’s in Doornfontein, near the old Alhambra Theatre, in the 1990s, which specialised in rich German and Austrian delicacies.

The atmospheric restaurant was situated in an old house, with its myriad rooms, and afforded guests a great deal of privacy as they tucked into their rich German sausages and Eisbein.

Maritzen then surfaced again in Hurlingham, north of Joburg, where he opened Gerhard’s 2 in 1, a restaurant which served both European and Indian cuisine.

Three years ago this intrepid restaurateur moved his establishment lock, stock and barrel to the busy Jan Smuts Avenue where he set up shop under the name Parker’s Grill.

It’s a smaller and more intimate location and, thank heavens, the menu has remained largely intact.

He still serves a healthy variety of European and Indian cuisine at reasonable prices and the service, as has been my experience in the past, is still excellent.

Martizen and his business partner, Ghulam Murtaza, are usually at hand to deal with every whim of their guests and very few dishes leave the kitchen without their seal of approval.

There is much to appreciate for someone with a healthy appetite.

Apart from such European offerings as Eisbein with sauerkraut, mixed sausage platters, kassler rib and oxtail, there are enticing starters such as half-dozen snails saturated in cheesy garlic and butter sauce, grilled calamari, springbok capaccio and mussels. Or try the thick green pea soup with pork.

Looking across at the specials, scrawled on a giant blackboard, you can also choose such delicacies as grilled Canadian salmon, warthog shank with paprika sauce and red cabbage and osso bucco.

Or try Martizen’s famous pork belly with red cabbage and mash, the roast venison, or the smoked turkey and pork sausage.

The extensive menu also offers pizza and pasta dishes as well as a section of popular Indian creations such as chicken korma, breyani and various other fish, poultry and meat combinations.

I tucked into a chicken schnitzel with chips and it melted in my mouth.

On the dessert side tempting items include the chacha pudding which comprises layers of peppermint crisp biscuit, caramel and whipped cream.

Apfelstrudel with cream or ice cream will also hit the spot.

Martizen’s best comfort foods are stews, curries and casserole, and a nice cheese fondue, but eat these in healthy portions.

For those who enjoy fine wines Parker’s Grill has an extensive wine list with local and imported cultivars.

» Parker’s Grill is situated at 128 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood.
0?011?788?7614 / 9237

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