Restaurant Review

Food's gone to pot at Jozi's Pot Luck Club pop-up

Luke Dale-Roberts' famous Cape Town restaurant has not traveled well, writes Jono Cane

19 July 2017 - 12:30 By Jono Cane
Joburg's Pot Luck Club pop-up is hosted at the trendy Marabi Club in New Doornfontein.
Joburg's Pot Luck Club pop-up is hosted at the trendy Marabi Club in New Doornfontein.
Image: Supplied

Sometimes it feels like Joburg is in a foodie famine. We have the money. We have the taste. We have the numbers. Why, we ask ourselves, are most of the great places to eat in the Cape?

So when the respected Pot Luck Club, by world famous chef Luke Dale-Roberts, does the favour of trekking some Cape Town coolness up to the escarpment it is with great excitement that the hungry greet the news of their arrival.

Hosted by the trendy new Marabi Club in New Doornfontein, this pop-up is serving a truncated and slightly adapted Pot Luck Club menu.

You can expect favourites like peri peri chicken, fish sliders and smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle cafe au lait served in beautiful earthy crockery.

The menu may essentially be the same as down south but the vibe is totally up north. The Marabi Club takes its name from the famed music of the gold mining areas of the Witwatersrand; the ''jazz era" of yesteryear is evoked in its dark, nostalgic interiors and, of course, through the music.

I know nothing about music, so I can't appraise the band that played while we ate. But they seemed good and everyone clapped after each song.

I do, however, know something about food - and I've eaten at the original Pot Luck Club so am in a position to compare. It is my sad opinion that there isn't much of a comparison.

While I far prefer the post-apocalyptic location of the Joburg CBD to Cape Town's Old Biscuit Mill, the standard of the food I ate this weekend at the pop-up was far from what I had so eagerly anticipated.

The food at the Pot Luck Club pop-up is hit and miss.
The food at the Pot Luck Club pop-up is hit and miss.
Image: Supplied

Some dishes stood out: fish crudo with granadilla tiger's milk and beef tataki, Hoisin, coriander pesto, ponzu mayo. Both of these dishes were dainty and complex.

Others less so: the fish ceviche tacos tasted stale; the artisanal bread (which in Cape Town is like a warm hug) could not have been baked by any artisanal baker that I know; the duck spring rolls tasted defrosted; and the panko-crusted octopus with Doenjang mayo reminded me of a fancy fish finger.

At the original I recall thinking that I was eating dishes that I just could not, under any circumstances, reproduce, which left me inspired and awed.

I thoroughly recommend the Marabi Club; I will be back for drinks and jazz at the bar with friends who like music.

Otherwise, if you want Pot Luck Club food, add a bit more to your already-steep bill and fly down to Cape Town for dinner.



DINING DATA

When to go: Between July 6 and end September; 6pm to 10.30pm Thursday to Saturday and Sunday noon to 3.30pm.

Who to take: Someone rich.

What not to do: Panic and order too many dishes.

What to drink: An Old Fashioned.

You'll see: Johannesburg’s trendy elite

How much do you need: R550 a head without wine

Address: 47 Sivewright Ave, New Doornfontein, 010-591-2872. Visit themarabiclub.com

This article was originally published in The Times.

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