Marthinus, mister DW Eleven-13

February 28th, 2011 § 0 comments

O-la-laaaa did I ever enjoy this restaurant! The highlight of my food quest in Joburg last week was dinner at Marthinus Ferreira’s restaurant DW Eleven-13. The name might sound odd but it’s actually very practical. The restaurant is at 11-13 Dunkeld West Centre. So remember the name and you’ll know where to find it.

Marthinus is young. A big man with a very light touch. DW opened mid 2010 and within six months was voted SA’s 5th best restaurant by Eat Out magazine. And the highest ranked restaurant in Joburg. His mom helped with the decor and his sister assists with the admin, but when it comes to the food it’s Marthinus all the way. He worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant in the UK, as well as at Constantia’s La Colombe. There are great chefs out there, each with his own style, and with Mr Ferreira I can simply say that I love his style. Smart and innovative, yet simple and incredibly flavourful. No superfluous tricks or frills.

Chef and owner Marthinus Ferreira

The interior is chic without being overly opulent and the service is efficient and very friendly. For more on all the nitty gritty, catch my review on SABC3’s Expresso Show tomorrow at about 6.30. For now, I’d just like to rave about the food.

I went straight to starter heaven...

I’ve had Alaskan king crab before and considering how expensive it is, I thought I wouldn’t bother again. Plus, it had been a fierce food day. DW Eleven-13 was my third restaurant in less than 10 hours, which sounds like huge fun but it can take its toll… yet once I tasted this dish my appetite was instantly restored. Now that says a lot…. Alaskan king crab on avocado mousse with a scoop of corn sorbet. The corn sorbet was a touch of genius. I’d somehow missed this detail when our waiter talked us through the menu and at first glance assumed it was a mango sorbet. Made from fresh corn, it was lovely and sweet but not as obvious asĀ  a fruit sorbet. My aversion to foam is well documented and sometimes I’m exasperated by the bizarre combinations that arrive on my plate, but this marriage was a fine example of perfectly partnered opposites.

Tuna & slaw like you haven't had it before

This dish looks so simple because it is so simple. And in my books, simple is beautiful. A refreshing main course with light, edgy flavours in perfect balance. Tuna fillet with pickled white cabbage salad and a caper vinaigrette (I’m calling it a caper vinaigrette… Marthinus might disagree).

I’m so disappointed when chefs cook with Harry Potter-like zeal, overriding the essence of the produce to create Frankenfood… So, thank you Marthinus for the way in which you respect, and celebrate, your ingredients.

I was on a mission to eat light, but my friend opted for the heartier fare. The menu is small but surprisingly diverse. So before you think DW Eleven-13 is all light and low cal… behold the beer battered prawns:

And the lamb rack with crushed minted peas (divine), potato cubes and caramelised tomato lamb jus.

We finished with a delicious Chocolate Tasting: bitter chocolate tart, chocolate soil, chocolate sorbet and pistachio nut butter… but by now my camera flash was annoying fellow diners so alas, you’ll have to go and see for yourself. Or watch SABCs Expresso Show tomorrow 1 March at about 6.30… I know… that’s so early, but at least I’ll have professionals doing my make-up!

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