Chef James Diack’s new restaurant Douglas + Hale will be launching today in Parktown North, taking over the space that his previous restaurant The National occupied for three years. The speakeasy has been given a facelift and has transformed into a food and wine bar.

“I’m always keeping myself busy, and I am really excited about this new concept for the Johannesburg restaurant scene,” says Chef James Diack.  “I have always had a passion for wine and cocktails – having originally studied viticulture in Stellenbosch.”

The name pays homage to Diack’s grandfathers – Douglas Diack and Mathew Hale. They’re also James and his brother Nick’s second names.

“Douglas + Hale will serve an incredible range of fine wines – by the bottle, but mostly by the glass all in Riedel Glassware,” says James. “We’ll also have some absurdly good cocktails made by our in-house mixologist.”

For the food, James is keeping it simple and he’ll keep some of The National’s favourite dishes. “It’s a small, simple eating menu that will keep you interested through the evening,” he explains. The rustic and relaxed atmosphere is set to become a location-must for after work cocktails, pre-meal drinks, or a final night cap.