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    5.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Jan 1970 · Hasmita Bhana

    While there are many ways you can satisfy an appetite, visiting a fine dining restaurant is a way to do...

    While there are many ways you can satisfy an appetite, visiting a fine dining restaurant is a way to do that and much more. Gastronomy is about eating with all five senses — the fact that your meal is nourishment is only a small part of the appeal. The art and appreciation of eating good food comes into play, and the plating of a dish is as important as how the dish tastes.

    Five Hundred at the Saxon combines fine dining with an ambiance so exclusive, you’ll leave feeling like a celebrity. For years, the Saxon Hotel has been Joburg’s “it address”; whenever an international celebrity is in town, the Saxon’s discretion and opulence make it really the only lodging option for these high flyers. Staying there may be out of the question for most locals, but with the introduction of select culinary experiences, we too can have a taste of the Saxon experience.

    The five-star treatment starts from the moment you park your car; the Saxon has a BMW shuttle service for the 100m drive from the parkade to the entrance of the hotel. Reception notifies the restaurant that you’ve arrived, and the hostess greets you by name when you enter their signature restaurant, Five Hundred, headed by chef David Higgs of Rust en Vrede, a famous restaurant in Stellenbosch.

    The décor is mainly black with an Asian influence. Upon going up an elevator and arriving at the secluded restaurant lobby, most of the restaurant is hidden from vision, so it almost feels like a secret “member’s only” club. Choose to sit in the private dining room overlooking the wine cellar, or at a table overlooking the open chef’s kitchen. No matter what you decide, the restaurant seats only 30 people, guaranteeing an intimate experience.

    Diners are presented with a choice of two menus, a four-course menu priced at R650 (R1 100 with wine) and a six-course menu priced at R925 (R1 550 with wine). The latter is a set menu, while the former offers a choice of seafood, meat, or vegetarian for the first three courses, the dessert is also a choice of three options.

    Five Hundred goes above and beyond on every level, aiming to showcase the best South African produce available. Apart from serving fresh, crusty, warm bread rolls, they also offer a selection of intricately plated butters – salted, smoked, goats’ milk, and unsalted.

    An open chef’s kitchen is a tricky thing to get right; but Five Hundred manages to make the diner feel part of the cooking process without being invasive. The chef responsible for preparing your dish comes out and finishes the plating at your table, while explaining the various elements of the meal. Highlights of the menu include pressed West Coast crayfish with Hermanus seaweed, and nasturtium mayonnaise, as well as lamb shoulder braise with chillied lamb sausage, rosemary, crisp potato flower, and carrots. For dessert, expect a dish comprising different elements, like eggless chocolate mousse with apple mint ice cream, coffee meringue, and crispy garden mint. The menu is seasonal and changes every few weeks, with most herbs and veggies coming from the hotel’s on site organic rooftop vegetable garden.

    Service is extremely attentive, if you so much as lift your hand to pour some water into your glass, a waiter will appear at your side in a flash to do it for you. Adding to that are extra special touches, like some honeycomb in a box to take home with you, and petit fours instead of after dinner mints.

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