The publicists were hard at work in the months preceding and following the opening of Marble Restaurant. There was not a single week that passed without a review in magazines, newspapers or by fellow bloggers. Getting a table in the early months became about waiting lists. What?!@# This is not Cape Town!!
So I waited until the noise had quieted down and finally went with friends for a birthday dinner. My first impression? Loved the decor, the place is absolutely gorgeous. It’s airy, well-lit, recessed lights in bulkheads which create ambiance without the glare of lights, great music and that open kitchen where you can watch the chef and his team at work. In other words, everything was great. Except for the food.
I was disappointed. Perhaps I had built it up, fed by the media frenzy to the opening. It was good enough. But was it worth the hype? After that dinner, I was not convinced. Then a month later I went again with a friend for lunch. And whether it was because I had tampered my expectations somewhat, or was just looking for an okay place to eat, I came away with a better experience.
One of their signature starters is the blackened octopus, with chorizo and olive salsa verde. Unfortunately, it was chewy – not quite how anybody likes their octopus. The second time around I tried the filet with bone marrow, café de Paris butter, pumpkin crumble and smoked field mushroom sauce. It was wonderful. My lunch date that day had raving reviews about her meal.
Verdict: It’s good, expensive food, but not quite deserving of the hype. There are far better restaurants in Joburg. What it does have is that exciting vibe about it. Great for drinks at their exquisite bar, which has great views, and bartenders who seem committed to their craft. A virgin cocktail – with a strict instruction that I wished to be surprised, took almost ten minutes to make. It was a pleasure just to sit there and watch it be prepared.
Marble Restaurant, Trumpet on Keyes, Cnr. Keyes & Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank