Villa Simonne Restaurant

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16 West Street Lower Houghton, Johannesburg 2198, South Africa


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4.0 rating based on 1 rating
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  1. Expert Review

    4.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Sep 2014 · Dana Sanchez

    There are 11 possible places to dine at the luxury Villa Simonne guest house in Houghton, but there's just one catch -- you'll...

    There are 11 possible places to dine at the luxury Villa Simonne guest house in Houghton, but there’s just one catch — you’ll have to be booked as a guest to enjoy the fabulous food there.

    I could have eaten on one of two private balconies off my suite, or in the gardens that are home to three giant tortoises named Speedy, Dotty and Elsa; or by the pool, or in the boma, or the library, to name a few.

    The owner, who converted his private home into a guest lodging, suggested I eat at the Gatsby nightclub. Lucky for me, my generous host joined me at the table, and entertained me with stories while I waited for my meal.

    There was dizzying choice of things to look at in the Gatsby nightclub including a collection of old cameras on one wall; a cellar filled with wine bottles; a giant fleur-de-lis and a painting of Joan of Arc. People have added to the decor — “they bring me things,” the owner told me — like a cash register encrusted with antique South African half-cent coins.

    Nothing matches at Villa Simonne and that’s the point. Nestor Kelaiditis built the guest house in memory of his wife, and as he told me how the place evolved, I could feel her presence.

    Luckily, Nestor and I share a love of salty food. My first course was a delectable Russian salad — creamy, decadent, and garnished with anchovies. The main course was oxtail — tender and off-the-bone — with zucchini (in South Africa they are called baby marrow); rice, broccoli and carrots.

    At Nestor’s suggestion, I tried the Jan Fiskaal merlot made by the MAN Vintners of Paarl. I love that my wine was named after a local bird — a common shrike. The fiscal shrike is a welcome sight in vineyards, Nestor told me. It’s a small bird with black-and-white coloring, a “chee-chee-chee” call, and a fierce reputation for driving away pests.

    For dessert, I had the tartuffo. All the food was exquisitely presented under Nestor’s watchful eye.

    It’s worth checking in to this hotel just for the food. This place made a lasting impression on me.


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