Friday, November 15th, 2019
Reviewed by Seth Shezi
It feels like just yesterday that maverick chef Arno Janse van Rensburg left The Kitchen at Maison (a 2016 Eat Out Top 10 restaurant) to bring his boundary-pushing cooking closer to food-loving city-dwellers. Shy of two years since its opening, Janse & Co is now a bona fide heavyweight restaurant in the highly competitive upmarket restaurant scene.
No dish, no matter how few ingredients or how simple it sounds, is ever quite simple when it comes to Arno and his team. The prix fixe menu comes in options of three to seven courses.
The wisest thing is to opt for the seven-course option and alternate options with your dining partner – that way you leave having sampled 14 of the sumptuous dishes. Chef Janse van Rensburg is no stranger to progressive food development, having always built his menu around seasonality and an unconventional exploration of rare ingredients, which earned him his maverick status. Dishes such as the trout, plum, grape and verjuice; the raw beef, onion and black garlic; and the leek, beurre noisette, smoked almond and crème fraîche are exemplary plates of what masterful modern cooking ought to be – uncomplicated but not boring; intelligent but not showy or unnecessary.
Another standout is the raw venison with sriracha aïoli, pangrattato and tatsoi. You’ll notice that their raw meats are stellar, and the restaurant also dries and cures its own charcuterie cuts. The renosterbos goat’s cheese with pumpkin and sesame may be an odd flavour profile to end on for dessert – and there are also more traditional sweet options – but the culinary curious should definitely try this dessert.
A sharply edited wine list of high-end to small scale producers, plus plenty of locally made spirits. But it’s the in-house made cocktails, kombuchas and kvass that will kick off your dining experience.
Waiters are utterly professional, thoroughly well-versed and evidently proud of the cuisine they are serving.
Upon entering Janse & Co, one is struck by the bright floral mural behind a giant coronation dining table – the loudest detail of the décor. Besides the orange cushions in the outside patio, the rest of the space is bold and as minimalist as the chef's style of plating. From the walls to the tables and chairs – all are matte black in the most minimally sumptuous way possible.
Showing off intelligent cooking to industry insiders.
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