Calling all wine-lovers: popular Joburg eatery Thomas Maxwell Bistro now has its very own private wine tasting and dining spot. Called Maxwell’s Wine Library, the venue opened in October 2015 in a space behind the restaurant that used to house a bakery.
While the concept of a wine library appeals to us immensely, it seems you won’t be able to ‘borrow’ the wines – but rather taste and dine in the cellar. The space also boasts its own kitchen.
The wine list, recently the winner of a Diner’s Club Diamond Award, is a distinctive one, chosen by owner Thomas Barker. Thomas makes a point of choosing and ordering the wines himself, meeting wine makers personally and gaining direct knowledge of the wine farms. (Thelema even produced a special edition of its Black Rabbit Chardonnay especially for the restaurant, which will be followed by a red this month.)
Thomas also attended the Cape Winemakers Guild auction to acquire some of the most exclusive limited-edition wines in the country. Interesting French bottles such as Pauillac Private Reserve from Bordeaux and William Fèvre Premier Cru from Chablis make an appearance, and wine is served in Riedel glassware – always a good sign!
Because of his hand-on approach to the cellar, Thomas will recommend wines to add another dimension to the culinary experience. Food will take its cue from Thomas Maxwell Bistro, offering diners a taste of French and New York-style fare, including mussels in a luscious, creamy sauce or rabbit risotto with lemon and garam masala.
The cosy new wine library can cater for business or celebration dinners of up to 30 guests, and canapé or cocktail functions for 50 guests, and is also available for smaller bookings.