- Accepts credit cards
- Booking required
- Serves food
Restaurant is the final eatery to open at Villa 47, the three-storey restaurant complex located on Bree Street, which already houses Italian-themed Locanda and tapas-themed Stuzzico. Restaurant head chef, Clayton Bell, has been tasked with developing what the group calls a ‘boutique fusion dining experience’ for this space. We went to try it out.
The bamboo-smoked bread with truffle butter starts the meal off on a high note. The bread is dark grey, smoky and fresh. It’s almost too beautiful to eat. The truffle butter adds a magnificent smear of umami richness. A couple of days later, I am still wanting more.
The bread is followed by an amuse-bouche – which will change regularly. Ours is titled, “The Perfect Egg” – and perfect it is. It’s cooked sous-vide at 66 °C and coated with a saffron dressing and pistachio praline. The whole thing is creamy, rich with a salty crunch of praline. Quite simply heavenly.
The starters options are largely seafood-based. We opt for the balsamic-cured salmon (R120) and chargrilled octopus arm (R130). The salmon is flakey and tasty, with less than a hint of balsamic flavour. A smokey tomato relish, cucumber gel and sriracha pearls finish off the dish. The sriracha is a subtle addition – I would have liked just a touch more flavour.
The chargrilled octopus arm (R130) is finished on the fire and served with olive oil and fresh lime. It’s slightly chewy and we find ourselves wanting a little bit more dressing.
For mains, we choose the duck breast (R210) and kudu loin (R190). Both portions are substantial. The duck breast is served at the chef’s recommendation of medium rare, with a side of Japanese apple-and-ginger dipping sauce. It’s tasty, but slightly lacking in flavour. The kudu loin meanwhile, is perfection. Served with apricots, garam masala and three types of sweet potato, it’s the dish you never knew you were missing. The three types of sweet potato are pureed, diced and thinly sliced and, together with the sweetness of the apricots, balance the spice of the garam masala beautifully.
Alternative main options include miso black cod (R530) and prime cut Wagyu beef (R450). Lightly smoked tofu (R190) is the only vegetarian main option.
Dessert is a showstopper. The shichimi chocolate fondant (R70) oozes molten chocolate. Tiny dollops of chocolate gel are loaded with shichimi (Japanese 7 spice) which transforms the rich dish. The saffron sushi rice pudding (R75) has magnificent presentation – the best of the evening – with long arms of Italian meringue jutting across the plate. A burnt white chocolate macaron and lime curd complete the dish.
The wine list is concise but interesting. The sommelier is incredibly knowledgeable and shares lovely tidbits about the respective farms and their unique growing methods.
There is only one glass option per cultivar, averaging at R80 for white and R110 for red. The glasses are large and beautiful and somewhat make up for the hefty price tag.
The service is the highlight of the evening. Our waiter was informative, enthusiastic and well-versed in the food, cooking techniques and wine. In addition, the sommelier and manager are ever-present, but never overbearing.
The food appears to come quickly, but on leaving we realise we’ve been dining for over 2 1/2 hours. A sure sign of a relaxed, enjoyable evening.
Every so often, I catch the eye of the African masks that adorn the walls. These are slightly reminiscent of a high-end hotel restaurant, but the rest of the space is simple and chic. High ceilings with wooden beams, mid-century-style furniture and a superb view of the open kitchen give a lovely sense of space and activity. The crockery and, in particular, cutlery deserves a mention: I find myself coveting every piece that gets placed in front of me.
Not ready to head home? Pop into Stuzzico, whose bar becomes quite vibey later on.
Eat Out reviewers dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read the full editorial policy here.