A taste of Belgium in Barberton

02 July 2015 by Katy Johnson

A Belgian Restaurant in Barberton might not be what you initially expect to find in this quaint Gold Rush town. But like the best hidden treasures, once you have found it you will never forget it!

A Belgian Restaurant in Barberton might not be what you initially expect to find in this quaint Gold Rush town. But like the best hidden treasures, once you have found it you will never forget it!

Owned by Belgium born Josephine and Danielle, Josephine’s restaurant is quickly becoming a major player in Mpumalanga’s fine dining circles. The menu is a fusion of Belgian classics including steak tartare, waffles, Belgian beef stew, vol-au-vents, and chocolate mousse. Along with global dishes that includes a number of South African favourites like Bobotie and Durban lamb curry. They are also renowned for the wide selection of Belgian beers that provide the perfect refreshment for the sweltering Lowveld summers and their love of Belgium hero Tin Tin who adorns the walls.

The pairs previous restaurant in Belgium ‘Klein Begin’ was a favourite for celebrities, politicians and the ‘who’s-who’ of Belgium society, as their guest book reveals. So what made a celebrated chef, and a front of house manager used to mingling with the stars, want to relocate to Barberton?

The answer is an unusual twist of fate. Border issues in Swaziland meant they could no longer get to Kruger National Park before gate closing time. ”When we got to Barberton it was pitch black, luckily we found the one guest house with its lights on and an open room. We quickly learnt we were too late to get a meal from the only restaurant in town and went to sleep tired and hungry”, Danielle says in such a way you are surprised they decided to stay. “But then” Josephine continues, “We woke up to the most spectacular views imaginable, in a place that was charming, quaint and beautiful. We fell in love with Barberton instantly and stayed another night, then another and another. In the end we never got to Kruger, we knew this is where we wanted to be.”

So taken by Barberton, and its need for another restaurant, they bought the building where Josephine’s is now located in 2009. It took 4 years to get all the correct paperwork and refurbishments done, but on the 1st of November 2013 Josephine’s opened its doors for the very first time and pair haven’t looked back. 

Beside the food which is spectacular, there is something uniquely wonderful about Josephine’s that you need to experience in order to understand. The restaurant may have only been open for just over a year, but it feels as much a part of the town as the Mountains that surround it. It is clear Josephine and Danielle are proud of the heritage that surrounds them, which is showcased in the beautiful murals painted all around the restaurant. In turn the Barberton Community has shown their appreciation with a beautiful poem that hangs in pride of place at the restaurant.

Josephine’s is a jewel in the crown of the Genesis Route and provides one of the best culinary experiences in the Lowveld.

To find out more visit their website: www.restaurantjosephines.co.za Or contact Danielle or Josephine on: +27 (0)13 712 3543 |restaurantjosephines@hotmail.com



For our Mpumalanga on YOUR plate recipe Josephine is sharing the recipe for her steak tartare.


200-250g of good quality rump steak

3 slices of onion

1 egg yolk

2 pinches of freshly ground salt

2 pinches of white pepper

1tsp of English mustard

1tsp of mayonnaise (homemade is the best)

Few drops of Worcester sauce

Few drops of Tabasco

Capers, gherkins, opinion, cucumber and carrot to garnish.

The key is to remove all the fat from the steak along with any gristle and to cut the meat so finely it appears have been ground (but do not mince the meat, you need to chop it with a knife).

1.    Cut the rump steak into tiny chunks (less than 5mm)

2.    Finely chop the onion and add it to the steak.

3.    Add the yolk of one egg.

4.    Add the salt and pepper, tsp of mustard, tsp of mayonnaise, Worcester sauce and Tabasco.

5.    Stir together and leave in the fridge for the seasoning to infuse the meat.

6.    Prepare the salad garnish; alternatively you can pair with chips.

7.    Decorate the plate with a small amount of balsamic vinegar.

8.    Plate the tartare using a ring mould and enjoy!