Located on the Keyes Art Mile strip – a swanky district marked with boutiques, art galleries and the premium members club, Mesh – Marble is the epitome of a trendy haunt. Throw in a famous name – David Higgs, who is both proprietor and chef – a killer rib-eye and unmatched views, and you’ve got yourself a Jozi icon.
For all intents and purposes Marble is a steakhouse, but leaving it there is like saying Versace merely dabbles in luxe prints. Marble came to service a high-end steak dining penchant Joburg didn’t even know it needed. Although large in size, the ultra modern dining room with slick furnishes is fully booked day in and day out – not to grab a selfie with the city’s most celebrated chef, but rather for the extensive selection of well-aged premium cuts of meat.
Even though this is a steakhouse, complete with imported open-flame griller, chef David’s past in fine dining dictates that a meal must still be enjoyed as a sumptuous S curve of light meals to heavier and end on a sweet note, so expect an enticing spread of light Mediterranean starters to heavier more robust Argentinean-inspired grill-fare all made using local seasonal produce – and at times taking on a wholly South African twist.
‘Shellfish on a braai’ is not yet a heavily bandied about phrase outside of the West Coast, so to start one ought to have a go at the Mediterranean wood-fired octopus with red wine mole, cured lardo, crisp red onions and cucumber – a visual feast and a tender treat with a smoldering finish from the hot coals. From the Med to the Levantine region, the other must-try starter is the grilled aubergine, baba ghanoush and kimchi peanut brittle with sesame dressing – where the sesame dressing adds a piquant Asian slant to what is typically a classic Kurdish dish.
Sitting in the moody space, engulfed in heady aromas of flame grilling, is enough to whet one's appetite for the main event. The rib-eye steak with sauce foyot – a rich Béarnaise with meat glaze – smoked bone marrow, tomato chutney, grilled courgette and potato crisps remains a fan favourite, but the grilled pork belly is quickly gaining popularity. The latter served with a mustard sauce, teriyaki sweet potato, pork crumble, and apple salad with a lime, honey and ginger dressing is a rich indulgent dish. For something lighter, look no further than the vine-wrapped tuna with a brined king oyster mushroom, a king oyster braised in seaweed and capers, fermented mushroom sauce and broccoli mole.
Chef David might be a serious chef, but he’s not devoid of a sense of humor. The desserts harken back to childhood treats as well as some celebrated local flavours. There’s the ice-cream sandwich and the cheffed-up rosewater koeksister served with khulfi ice cream and a pistachio tuile.
This is the only spot where the bar and its extensive wine ‘cellars’ are as talked about as much as the kitchen. Marble’s bar is tantamount to legendary, serving up the finest cocktails, including the best negroni in Joburg; while wine lovers come here to indulge in their old favourites or to discover rare gems under the expert guidance of sommelier Wikus Human.
Spirited and professional, with a magnetic air of pride – even amongst themselves, the staff appear proud to call this place work and relate to each other with a great sense of camaraderie.
Many establishments have aimed for the elusive styling that melds chic clean lines with ornate detailing and sexy finishes – but while many have faltered, Marble flourishes. Add to this the truly magnificent views of the Jozi jungle and you may struggle to find a better appointed spot in the entire city of gold.
Showing out-of-town visitors the very best of Jozi – Marble is the ultimate high-end melting pot, where the city’s slickest come to play.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
David Higgs’s iconic Rosebank restaurant was one of 30 nominees for the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
Imagine an Argentinian grill with an incredibly modern and eccentric twist. Here you’ll find all the bells and whistles that chef David Higgs can possibly bring to the table, alongside local and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are well-balanced, tantalising the palate with subtle smoky notes on every plate.
The menu is somewhat of a journey, with flavours ranging from complex Mediterranean inspirations to light Thai infusions and Argentinian barbecue grills. The utilisation of fresh ingredients and vegetables to lighten the dishes is inspiring, and the imagination runs wild with the various combinations of spices, pastes and sauces on offer.
Starters to consider include the wood-fired asparagus served with a parmesan cream, shiitake tapenade and pickled baby leeks. The shiitake tapenade offers an umami kick to the sweet, smoky asparagus, and the parmesan cream is rich, rounding the dish off with a salty crystalline note. For the more adventurous, there’s the octopus with sweet potato and chorizo sauce, served with coal-roasted Mediterranean vegetables and gremolata. This traditional Mediterranean family favourite is delicious served hot off the coals, slightly charred and perfectly paired with the spiced, smoked paprika notes of the oily chorizo sausage. The complementary vegetables and olive oil are regionally perfect for the tender octopus and it is definitely worth a try.
For the less daring palate, try the fragrant mussels that are flamed with coconut and lemongrass and served with fennel and fennel juice. Or try the Marble bites, which are fabulous for sharing.
The Works are a highlight at Marble Restaurant, with a lot of focus and insight having gone into each and every plate. Higgs has really thought about each and every flavor combination, texture, colour and scent in the creation of these dishes. Not only are they well balanced on the palate, each is also aesthetically pleasing. The plates are simple and delicate, yet hearty and filling.
There is a large focus on meat at Marble, yet you will be pleasantly surprised to find a fabulous selection of excellent seafood, too. Try the giant prawns, which are grilled on the open flames and served with paella-style rice, pickled calamari tentacles, salsa and bisque. Or go for the sea bass tikka masala with tempura onion, tamarind, pumpkin and spinach.
For the meat eaters there’s an array of fabulous dishes, but the rib-eye steak with bean stew, bone marrow, butter emulsion and mash potato is a highlight. The pork with gorgonzola sauce, carrot and spring onion sauce, chimichurri and carrot is sublime.
For those diners with a sweet tooth, dessert is a treat. The pastry team has some lovely combinations and, although the menu is small, it is clever and enticing. There is something for everyone and the combinations are delicious. The plates are as pretty as a picture. Try the amaretto crème brûlée with dulce de leche, almond and poached apple for a real treat.
All the cheese is sourced from local farmers and is served with home-baked breads, preserves and pickles. It’s a perfect way to finish off the meal.
Marble also offers a bar and tapas menu with light eats and bites at the bar area or on the deck, with the best view in Johannesburg. On offer are items such as oysters with spicy tomato dressing and fresh horseradish, pork tortillas, and fish and chips – but not just your average offering, this is sea bass tempura with marble fries, lemon aioli and peas. Also on offer is pissaladière and plates to share.
The wine list is exceptional, with a vast selection of wines available from all over South Africa and abroad. There’s a vast selection of coveted white, red and rosé wines that are very hard to come by and a true treat to try. The bar also offers an exceptional selection of spirits, including fabulous gins and an excellent cocktail menu.
The attention to detail by the maître d’ and the staff is excellent, at times almost over the top. Your wine glass is always full and your empty plate is always quickly removed. The general service is very professional and, no matter the size of your group, the staff are excellent and well-polished, ensuring that your experience is a great one. Making a booking at Marble is also extremely efficient.
Marble is situated in Rosebank with a view to die for, and has been furnished elaborately. The décor is stylish and the attention to detail is exceptional. Nothing has been left untouched. Every little thing has been thought of and it makes every patron feel special, no matter the occasion. The establishment caters for business diners, casual luncheons as well as special occasions. The music, lighting and seating is on point. The lavish look and feel of the restaurant with the casual open-plan kitchen works well together to create a fabulous balance of theatrical energy that pleases diners, helping to engage and create energy in the dining area.
Marble Restaurant is the place to be seen in Johannesburg. Although the food is great it comes at a hefty price, so be prepared to whip out your credit card and feel the burn. It's worth every cent.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.