Restaurant Review

NCW is Jozi's latest fine dining destination

The tasting menus at Chef Ence Willemse's new Melville eatery are all about elevating simple, seasonal ingredients

23 November 2017 - 00:00 By Catherine Black
NCW makes sure to serve food that is beautifully presented to whet your appetite.
NCW makes sure to serve food that is beautifully presented to whet your appetite.
Image: Supplied

After a three-year hiatus from the food industry, chef Ence Willemse has returned to the game with his new venture NCW, a contemporary restaurant and private art/lounge space in a newly renovated house on the edge of Melville.

With an impressive CV that includes time at Roots restaurant at the Cradle of Humankind’s Forum Homini hotel and Overture in Stellenbosch, this is Ence’s first solo venture.

The eponymous NCW is housed in a renovated Edwardian building that gives it rustic charm with a sense of history, while the stylish mid-century furniture and contemporary art collection adorning the interior keep it fresh and modern.

From the grand piano and wine cellar in the parquet-floored entrance hall, NCW is broken up into three broad areas: the restaurant space seating 30 people, an inter-leading lounge area that includes two private dining rooms, and an enclosed patio that’s perfect for alfresco dining on warm Joburg nights.

These different spaces make NCW versatile enough to be a high-end restaurant as well as a relaxed venue for private events, parties, corporate functions and pop-up groups.

NCW is furnished with stylish mid-century furniture and contemporary art.
NCW is furnished with stylish mid-century furniture and contemporary art.
Image: Supplied

During the week, the restaurant serves a set tasting menu that focuses on elevating simple, seasonal ingredients. Think a starter of butternut and peas featuring pea puree, butternut ice cream and bacon.

A good wine list completes the experience (as of writing, the wine pairing menu is soon to be launched).

On weekends, things are less formal, with feast-to-table lunches served outdoors on the patio, weather permitting.

As the new kid on the block, NCW’s key ingredients are delicious food, an interesting space and a relaxed ambience that’s sophisticated at the same time.

Whether you visit for dinner, a cocktail party, an exhibition or a corporate event, spending an evening at NCW is like being in a quirky yet tranquil Joburg home.


This article is adapted from one originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za


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