Grei(t) expectations for The Saxon’s new fine-dining restaurant
With chef Candice Philip at the helm, Joburg gourmets can look forward to enjoying a wonderfully inventive six-course menu when they dine at Grei
Having trained as a chef for 13 years under David Higgs as well as with Luke Dale-Roberts, and with one of her dishes nominated for the 2016 Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa, chef Candice Philip has put the hard work into perfecting her craft.
That investment is paying off as she now heads up Grei, The Saxon’s new fine-dining restaurant that replaces Luke Dale-Roberts X The Saxon.
Located in the same upstairs space, the new restaurant’s interior has been completely redesigned, but the open-plan kitchen remains, giving you the same behind-the-scenes glimpse of the team bringing the menu to life.
As its name suggests, Grei’s interior colour palette consists of various muted grey tones, giving it a sophisticated feel while providing a neutral backdrop for the vibrant colours presented on the plate.
Every dish on the six-course menu incorporates Philip's skill and passion for herbaceous flavours, unusual pairings and her signature style of intricate plating – a strong feature during her years working with Luke.
Throughout the meal, guests are taken on a journey of artfully curated textures, colours and flavours.
“The order of the dishes moves from lighter starters to richer mains and sweet desserts,” says Philip. “Each dish has its own textures – crunchy, soft, hard and crispy – and when combined with the herbs, it evolves into an even more unique experience.”
Some of the herbs naturally lend themselves to lighter dishes and styles that really pop in the muted space, such as the verbena with the king crab and broad beans or the pops of bright green lovage and orange pumpkin with lamb. The vegetarian mushroom, ulva and Malabar spinach course is a highlight, with every sip of the earthy broth bursting with flavour.
The Beemster cheese, ginger and lavender course is the perfect bridge before the final course: a hard choice between the fruity guava, beetroot and hibiscus creation, or the Ashanti 67% dark chocolate mousse with smoked whisky and charcoal undertones.
Following the lead of Philip's unique taste combinations, the sommelier’s wine pairings aim to offer the best local and international wines without focusing exclusively on one or the other. The result is a comprehensive, yet unusual, overview of the wines in The Saxon’s cellars.
“I’m excited to bring my own long-held vision to life,” says Philip about her new venture. “The response has been so positive. When you’re doing something quite different from before, you’re always a bit unsure, but we’ve been fully booked so far and people are loving our new offering.”
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za