Our reigning chef of the year, David Higgs, is a man of contradictions. He left the Western Cape winelands, where he’d worked his way to the top of the culinary pyramid at Rust en Vrede (which won the triple whammy of Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Service Excellence Award in 2010), to move to the centre of Africa’s busiest city. He leads the pack at bold, urban Five Hundred at The Saxon, but he’s found some peace (and, possibly, peas) in the garden he coaxed into life on the roof. His menus echo his emotions, passions and inspiration, but he remains modest and reserved in person. To make more sense of the man during his downtime, (and get some cracking good suggestions of where to go to eat) we asked David to share his favourite restaurants with us.
My favourite place for…
Col’Cacchio has always been good to me. When I’m in the Cape, I go to Burrata. (It helps knowing the owner…)
I had a great burger at Smokehouse on Juta Street the other day. I love pickles on a burger.
Again, Yamato in Illovo. Sushi needs to be cold and fresh. Yamato always gets it right.
Oh, there are many parking-lot dining spots in Jozi, so if you’re into cars you’ll be fine! Elsewhere, I enjoy Tiger Reef in Swakop; I could sit there all day. It’s the wild West Coast of Namibia – enough said.
I’ve stopped getting takeaways. They always happen late at night and we all know what’s open late at night… But, thankfully, Andiccio 24 is across the road from me and so is a 24-hour Woolies.
My Nespresso machine does a great job, but I love the coffee at Father Coffee.
In my office; my team preps it as I walk in. It’s always the same: scrambled eggs, fresh tomato and three rashers, streaky!
It would have to be with Claudia at salvationcafe on 44 Stanley. She’s an old school friend who does an amazing job.
I really enjoyed The Leopard the other night. Lovely food and happy service, but it’s still intimate. It was cool, and the company helped…
I always choose The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français with Margot. It’s a huge treat. Stay over and make sure you have drinks in the bar before and after dinner. Margot is very strict, though, so don’t be late. There are always lovely surprises on the menu.
Umm, I steal from work. Just kidding – I usually go to Dunkeld Fruiterers and Flowers or just pick from the gardens at home.
No more carbs for David! When I do slip up, it’s with the brioche French toast at Knead. I haven’t found my spot in Jozi yet.
I always pop into Norman Goodfellows and chat to the bubbly Carrie Adams.
Well, I dial 6347 and say, ‘Hi, Minette’. She’s my pastry chef. (Minette Smith also made one of the desserts at the 2013 Eat Out Restaurant Awards.) But she’s heading to Belle’s Patisserie this month, so I’ll have to call them from now on.
Market on Main. There’s a great diversity in Maboneng Precinct, not only regarding food, but there are great exhibitions and rooftop spaces too. It’s a great escape for Sundays.