A new jazz club and fine-dining restaurant has launched in the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel building in Maboneng, Johannesburg.
Sphere Monk has taken over the two spaces that opened last year inside the revamped heritage building, Cube Tasting Kitchen and The Cosmopolitan Bar – both owned by acclaimed chef Dario De Angeli – and rebranded them into a new jazz club and restaurant concept.
The man behind the new venture is Liam Bloy, a young-gun chef who trained at Le Bouveret Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland and worked at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Didier de Courten before returning to Mzansi and working at Cube. At Sphere Monk he aims to offer a hip ambience, live music and top-notch fine-dining food in two separate offerings.
The area previously known as The Cosmopolitan Bar will now operate as the jazz lounge, kitted for live acts at least three times a week. The current menu, available from Wednesday to Sunday, includes traditional bistro dishes like grilled baby chicken with roasted veg, oxtail, springbok fillet and Malay-style prawns, but the plan is to soon offer a continually changing African-inspired tapas menu. The new menu will coincide with the installation of new furniture to complete the transformation – hopefully by early July 2017.
In the space that Cube Tasting Kitchen previously occupied, things will be a little more high-end. A five-course tasting menu will be offered from Wednesday to Saturday, with two seatings – one at 6pm and another at 8.30pm. Dishes might include an appetiser of smoked exotic mushrooms with crumbed and deep-fried truffle gnocchi, cauliflower cremeux, butternut, puff pastry and miso, and mains such as spiced yoghurt chicken with toasted coconut, curry cremeux, carrot salsa, spiced cashew-nut mousse and ginger reduction; pan-seared oryx with beetroot textures, garlic butter and jus; creamy turnip and un-oaked chardonnay risotto; and classic French ratatouille. After a palate cleaner, the tasting menu might end on a sweet of coffee marshmallow with toasted meringue, smoked chocolate cigar, bourbon mousse and scotch gel. The experience will go for R350 for five courses (R550 with wine), and the first is set for Thursday 8 June.
While most of the team of chefs trained by former proprietor Dario De Angeli remains at Sphere Monk, the chef himself has moved on and will reportedly be taking a hiatus from the restaurant industry.
The space is named for legendary jazz pianist Thelonius Monk, who was affectionately called Sphere by those close to him. The ethos can be summed up by one of his famous quotes: “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing.”