Choose between a four-course menu or the six-course degustation menu at Marthinus Ferreira's Joburg gem. Both change seasonally and offer small tasting plates from the chef, with or without beverage pairings and as vegetarian options.
The performance begins with chicken liver mille-feuille bites, an amuse-bouche of a sous-vide hen’s egg, infused with truffle and served with velvety green pea purée.
On the four-course menu, options include seared tuna sashimi served with oyster coulis, citrus and fennel, or bresaola, vegetable pickles, slaphakskeentjies and dukkha. The Daybreaker sirloin with smoked bone marrow sported exciting flavours.
Highlights include confit quail with pickled onions and the Mauritian sea bass. Both are delightful with explosive flavour. They’re well-prepared, presented and balanced.
When it comes to the sweets, the pastry chef has been adventurous, combining sweet and savoury combinations with vegetables, fruits and herbs. The desserts look fabulous.
An excellent selection of wines suitable for all budgets and palates. There are many unusual wines available too, which have been carefully selected by the chef and the sommelier to tantalise the palate of the more outgoing diner. The waitrons are extremely well-educated about wine and are able to assist with the perfect selection for your meal if you’re not doing the pairing. You can ask questions about the different wines and be informed as much or as little as you’d like. A non-alcoholic pairing is also available, as are cocktails and beers.
The establishment is well-fitted and elegant, with much effort and thought going into the fittings, making the space extremely comfortable. There is a lot of leather, wood and heavy fabric, allowing for excellent acoustics and warmth. A working, visible wine cellar is a lovely centerpiece to the restaurant and creates a lovely focal point.
From start to finish the service is wonderful. It is a pleasure to book a table, change a booking and be accommodated at DW Eleven-13.
The semi-open main kitchen and the pastry kitchen in the new section of the restaurant creates a great ambience for patrons wanting to experience a little bit of food theatre.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.
Marthinus Ferreira continues to delight patrons with a symphony of morsels celebrating molecular gastronomy with classical undertones.
The choice between the à la carte menu and the five-course degustation menu is an easy one: spoil yourself and indulge. The degustation menu is a sumptuous culinary journey. Simply put, it’s a sensory spectacle.
The journey begins with an exquisitely presented selection of breads and butters atop a delectable dukkah, fine radish slices and sesame tuiles – all handmade and deliciously moreish. This is followed by a selection of amuse-bouches that continue in the same vein: decadent, precise and positively enchanting. The crispy chicken skin with seaweed and kimchi is life changing.
Time for the main event. (It should be noted that those with smaller appetites need not fear; the portion size is well thought out and perfectly accurate to ensure you enjoy, rather than regret, every last bite.)
A standout is the polenta with cauliflower espuma, sultanas, pine nuts, kale and brown butter – a perfect example of Marthinus’s ability to take modest ingredients and transform them into dishes that are outlandishly good. The depth of savoury notes brought through by the cauliflower, browned butter and pine nuts is wonderfully juxtaposed against the sweet sultanas and surprisingly velvety polenta.
Another highlight is the confit-duck cannelloni, comprising smoked duck wrapped in a light pasta and finished with a langoustine, tarragon velouté, onion crumb and pickled shimeji. It’s such a rich and sinful piece of magic, one of those dishes that you feel you could eat all over again.
Just as much attention is paid to the sweet components of the menu as to the savoury. Every element is painstakingly hand-crafted, and Marthinus’s famous ice creams remain an absolute drawcard. The honey-and-thyme ice cream with poppy-seed sponge, white chocolate and lemon curd is a sensation.
The wine list is well priced and innovative, with lesser-known wine farms celebrated. You can choose to enjoy the degustation menu with wine pairings or non-alcoholic pairings, or you can choose the perfect bottle with the help of the exceptionally well-versed general manager and sommelier, Mario Monteiro. The wine pairings are strikingly on point, and the presentation and explanation of each wine and its accompanying dish brings meaning and appreciation to the experience. At R400 per person, the wine pairing is an expensive choice, but the wines included are serious. The servings of wine are small, but quality, not quantity, is the idea here.
The finite attention to detail is remarkable. The waitrons and management have an acute understanding of how to gauge each table’s needs, giving the individual attention you require in a seamless and understated manner. Having said that, you will not feel mollycoddled or upsold; they’re not showy about giving fantastic service. You get the impression that it gives everyone great pleasure to do so.
A great deal of time, effort and money has gone into the creation of this space. Being located in a small but extremely busy shopping centre with a parking lot as the exterior is not ideal, so they have incorporated soft blinds that veil the lot, whilst still allowing for some natural light. The lighting itself is integral to bringing warmth to the space, and the play between masculine leather chairs, soft wooden tables, modern details and chic finishings really brings the space to life.
Don’t forget about DW’s little sister, The Grazing Room, right next door. With outstanding wines by the glass, lip-smackingly good tapas and a relaxed, upmarket atmosphere, it’s the perfect post-work, post-meeting, any-excuse-will-do eatery.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.