Tasting menu at DW11-13

I always say that when it comes to fine dining, we’re really restricted in Jozi. A lot of the 5 star hotels try to produce gourmet menus, but the food really isn’t up to scratch. The only fine dining restaurants I’d recommend are the ones on my restaurant directory

DW11-13 is the only spot on that list that I haven’t reviewed on this blog yet. I think that’s because I’ve always gone with other people, and it’s a bit awks to whip out an SLR and take pics. I reviewed it for the Sunday Indy a while ago, and I’m finally getting down to covering it here. 

Upon walking into the restaurant, you have to stand up a little straighter and neaten up your hair- because you just get the feeling that the place is really fancy and all the other diners are going to look at you funny if you’re scruffy. I guess that’s just a long way of explaining that it’s pretentious. But with pretentiousness comes style and class- both of which this restaurant exudes. 

The chef and owner, Marthinus Ferreira, has worked at award winning restaurants like the Fat Duck in the UK and La Colombe in Cape Town. This year, they’ve introduced a tasting menu, which is an 8 course meal priced at R500 or R750 with wine pairings. 

In my review of Five Hundred at the Saxon, I said that South African fine dining is very different to European fine dining. Here, chefs seem to focus on making the dish as intricate as possible, combining as many elements as they can possibly fit on a plate. It’s not a bad thing, but you need to be aware that some pairings are going to be very “out there”. For example, our starter was Cured Loch Duart Scottish Salmon, with rye soil, pickled cucumber, beetroot sorbet and vanilla and lemon cream. Now I like eating tikka chicken from the Fordsburg market just as much as I appreciate fine dining- both have their places in my foodie heart. Fine dining isn’t going to hit the spot and fill you, but it will give you a new appreciation for food and awaken senses on your palate you didn’t know you had.

The next course was a sweet potato creme brulee with sweet potato chutney, shaved black truffle and crispy sweet potato chips. This was a bit of a weird course- I’m so used to cracking the caramel coating with my spoon and finding a creamy custard dessert, not sweet potato! 

I loved my main- butter roasted hake with charred long stem broccoli, tom yum veloute, tempura mussels and coriander salad. This was definitely a new take on fish for me, I enjoyed the Asian twist. 

Dessert was two courses, allowing us to experience both savoury and sweet variations. First we had fresh brie with apricot mousse, rum stewed fruit, brie shards, toasted cashew nut soil, prune pudding and a sourdough cloud, paired with a 2012 Fairview Le Beryl Blanc- interesting to note that that the cheese and wine came from the same farm. 

Dessert number two was apple pannacotta with baked custard, roasted rhubarb, ginger granite, apple sorbet and ginger soil. 

If you’re not keen on having your meal choices made for you- their a la carte menu is also pretty good. Try the tuna tataki with smoked tuna tartar, wasabi spheres, orange and soy reduction, cucumber spaghetti, sliced radish and sago crisps, R110, or the spinach stuffed slow roasted chicken roulade with broccoli puree, porcini soil and sauteed mushrooms, R120. The triple cooked chips, R35, come highly recommended as a side dish.

Prepare to set aside 2.5- 3 hours for the tasting menu, although during the meal your waiter will ask you if you’re happy with the pace of the courses and speed things up if necessary. 

Whenever anyone asks me for a restaurant recommendation for a special occasion, this is definitely way up there on my list. They also have a private room- great for groups.

Visit www.dw11-13.co.za for deets. 

DW11-13 Contact Details:
Address: Dunkeld West Shopping Centre, corner Jan Smuts and Bompas, Dunkeld West. 
Tel: 011 341 0663
Open for lunch Tue- Sun and dinner Tue – Sat 

x H