The Pop Luck Club’s Joburg pop-up may be over, but Maboneng’s Marabi Club has a brand new pop-up to shout about, run by two heavy-hitting chefs.
Russell Armstrong (who worked in three different three-Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, and most recently, at EB Social Kitchen and Bar) is executive chef. He’s joined by Vusi Ndlovu as sous chef, who’s worked with the likes of Luke Dale-Roberts and David Higgs, and recently won the Africa and Middle-East regional final for the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2018. Vusi and Russel previously worked together at EB Social Kitchen and Bar. Armstrong is a very hands-on chef and Ndlovu adds his own special creative input. “He transcends my visions and elevates the dishes,” Russell beams.
The food also takes inspiration from the atmosphere of the forbidden shebeens of yesteryear, for which this part of Johannesburg was once known. Mussels are cooked in Black Label beer with aged cream and finished with dill oil. The popular KFQ starter consists of deep-fried quail legs with charred corn and miso mayo. Another of the new Armstrong-Ndlovu dishes is a vegetarian delight of rosemary and garlic roasted butternut, ricotta, pistachio, fermented pumpkin and honey.
The new pop up opened in January, and is just starting to be promoted. For those who haven’t yet experienced it, live-jazz and a valet parking service are also part of the package. The Marabi Club is tucked into the basement of Maboneng’s Hallmark House, an iconic Maboneng building designed by celebrity architect David Adjaye.
Let’s hope this winning pop-up combination will be popping up for a long time to come!