Aurum is set to be the new golden child of Joburg's fine-dining scene
Found in the tallest building in Africa, The Leonardo, this restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine with a touch of local flair and an impressive wine list
It's been all fanfare and excitement in the lead-up to the unveiling of the latest addition to Sandton's dining scene: Aurum restaurant in Africa's newest, tallest skyscraper, The Leonardo.
Aptly named Aurum, meaning "gold" in Latin, it is impressive. Billowing clouds of gold cut through arches that protrude from the roof, and through which you can glimpse the cosy wine library at the top of a spiral staircase.
Stately touches of gold complement hues of blue, green and orange from the décor and natural elements of leather and wood reflected in the vast glass panels overlooking the pool terrace.
The restaurant is the brainchild of chef and culinary consultant Paulo Santo, who is the managing director of Aurum.
For him, the restaurant represents luxury, but not in an intimidating or pretentious manner. "Just as gold is timeless in its appeal, we too wish to exist beyond time as a successful, renowned business serving a cosmopolitan African city," says Santo.
The kitchen is headed up by Santo's former colleagues at Cube Tasting Kitchen, Darren O'Donovan - who will be taking the charge as head chef - and Lisa de Beer, sous chef and sommelier.
The menu has been inspired by O'Donovan and De Beer's travels around Europe and is a personal reflection of the types of food they enjoy: contemporary European cuisine with a touch of local flair, as is evidenced in many of the ingredients used being sourced locally.
The selection of dishes diners were treated to were cooked perfectly and served with some beautiful elements.
Wild field mushrooms in a soft-shell taco with black summer truffle were passed around as canapés alongside delectable apple meringues with goat's cheese, onion seeds and black salt.
Signature dishes include the cured springbok carpaccio with apricot, preserved orange, spiced Malay crumble and whole-grain mustard mayo: a starter with an incredible depth of flavour.
The Afternoon Tea is a dessert inspired by the tradition of Ouma rusks with flavours of rooibos, buttermilk and Clemengold.
The wine list boasts 99 of the finest local and global wines. The selection in the wine library features special vintages, limited releases and unique options for the adventurous palate.
• The Aurum is situated in The Leonardo, Level 7 75 Maude Street, Sandown. Call 076-471-1489 to make a booking.