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Joburg’s newest meat paradise, The Butchery by Marble – reviewed

Although the brainchild of David Higgs and Gary Kyriacou of Marble upstairs, The Butchery by Marble is firmly chef Andy Robinson’s domain. His résumé extends to Oxfordshire and even The Saxon in Joburg, but it shows in the food that this is where he truly belongs. Andy sets an example for other butchers, providing an experience with meat unlike any other.

Expect stellar charcuterie. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Serves: Charcuterie and fromagerie
Best for: A chic lunch with buddies
Cost: The Deluxe charcuterie and cheese platter is R180 and serves 2
Star Ratings: Food and Wine 5, Service 3, Ambience 5

Food

Though the items available change often, the menu’s format is intentionally simple. The choice is between different meat and cheese platters, which arrive on elegantly tiered cake stands. The charcuterie items vary, but the platters always include generous portions of three kinds of meat arranged in fine folds. You could get salami with hazelnut, tarragon and Chenin Blanc, plus another local dark salami with pinotage and fennel. The Iberian ham – from the famed, acorn-fed, wild boars – is also utterly delicious.

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The cheese platters are equally special, also varying from time to time, but almost always local and fantastic. It’s not surprising, considering the superb standard and variety of excellent South African raw milk cheeses, like a rich Langbaken Karoo Crumble, which tastes like something between a Parmesan and a fine cheddar. There’s also a Gansvlei Farm cumin gouda and a perfectly ripe brie from Dalewood. A combination Deluxe Platter features a fabulous mix of all the meats and cheeses, with heavenly bread from the oven upstairs. Accompaniments could be a cubed dry-preserved quince dish, the most delicious sweet kumquat and a bowl of glorious olive oil.

There is also always something on the ‘Butcher’s Block’. It could be a mighty Italian-style sandwich of cured meats made for big paws and jaws. You’ll finish every bite of the chewy, fresh ciabatta and the last of the salami on the stand.

There is no dessert (unless you make your way up to Marble for one), but the finest biscotti that accompany the coffees almost make up for it.

The butchery counter offers a whole range of delights. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Drinks

The frequently changing wine list features some rare wines, with every other one available by the glass. The offered MCCs would also pair perfectly with this fare. They have beers of the day and soft drink offerings are mostly San Pellegrino. The coffees are outright superb and there’s also a selection of teas.

Love the steaks served at Marble? Pick up a similarly excellent cut from the butchery. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Service

Booking via telephone could be smoother, but the experience while at the restaurant is better. Though some helpful information regarding the different meats and cheeses is overlooked, the service is fun, friendly and an all-in-all enjoyable interaction.

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Ambience

This spot, with its décor by Irene Kyriacou, could easily be seen as a meat boutique. The meat cuts are displayed in an array of sparkling cabinets and each table features exquisite IVV hand-blown glasses and nice, long linen napkins gathered into rings. The plates all look like individual pieces of the same fine ceramic project.

And…

Select from the wide range of beef, lamb, chicken, game, pork and charcuterie for something to take home. The beef cheeks and quails are irresistible and chef Andy is there for more advice. Homeware and kitchen accessories can also be purchased at The Butchery by Marble.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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