Sel et Poivre

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Reviewed by Hennie Fisher

Most dishes are rooted in the French cuisine, but with a modern African feel. Given this qualification, starters like salmon and grapefruit tartare with pine nuts; foie gras terrine with fig compote; a clafouti with cocktail tomatoes and goat's cheese; and grilled lamb kebabs with tabouleh make sense. Main courses include dishes such as roasted kabeljou with crispy coppa; sliced pork fillet with quince; and line fish and ginger cassolette. Desserts may include treat like a Parisian flan; dark chocolate moelleux (molten chocolate cake) with berries; a nectarine tarte tatin; or a fresh seasonal fruit tartare.

A beautifully compiled wine list. A section of special reds precedes in impressive list of Champagnes and MCCs. South African varietals are afforded their own section, and each entry lists the vintage and origin of the wine.

The advantage of a restaurant in a hotel is that its doors are always open. This smart, contemporary flagship restaurant of Coco Reinarhz (he also owns Le Petit Sel and Le Sel at The Cradle) appears to employ mostly men of Afro-Franco origin, which contributes a sassiness befitting a restaurant in a city as cosmopolitan as Johannesburg.

The restaurant is simply but tastefully decorated and looks the part of a hotel dining room, but they also have a lovely seating area outside under shady trees. It's a case of simple and unfussy elegance.

The menu is compiled by a true professional, with traditional sections of starters, mains and desserts. But, as would be expected from a man with his finger on the pulse of new developments, provision is also made for healthy meals, light meals and comfort food. The comfort food section includes lovely possibilities such as potato rösti with smoked salmon, beef fillet with flambéed mushroom sauce, and beef tartare with French fries and Béarnaise sauce.

(July 2014)

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