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Venue
 

Eat, Northcliff

Classic Cuisine in Fine Dining Surroundings
Tel: 011 476 3749
Address: 14th Avenue, L'Corro Centre, Northcliff, Johannesburg

Responsible for great eateries in various parts of Johannesburg over the years, Philippe Wagenführer has established a strong reputation as a talented chef and restaurateur. Hennie Fisher sits down to dinner at Eat, Philippe's latest venture in Northcliff.

Food

The food at Eat is rooted in the classics, but with a punch of modern edginess. It's in the style of high-end European dining, but with a sense of ease. Homemade bread arrives warm from the oven, served with little bowls of herb oil, balsamic, butter and home-smoked salt; and the amuse bouche features salmon, peas and greens.

The first course of forest pigeon terrine is accompanied by a punchy quenelle of harissa rather than the more usual fruity complement. This is followed by a delicious prawn and rice vermicelli salad with peanuts, julienne veg and gentle Thai flavours, while the main course is a generous fillet du boeuf forestière on a perfectly cooked rösti, with beautifully trimmed and cooked asparagus, and a magic sauce evoking the forest with mushrooms, smoked pork and tomato concassé nestled in a deep rich jus. Our meal ended on the perfect note: a simple, spicy poached plum with delicious, homemade hazelnut ice cream.

Other classic starters given a modern spin on the à la carte menu include a pressed game terrine with beetroot chutney and a freshwater prawn avocado Ritz with Marie-Rose sauce, while mains include a supreme of Scottish salmon with saffron potatoes, wilted rocket, baba ganoush and anis beurre blanc, and a wild mushroom risotto with rocket, pine nuts, roasted tomatoes and parmesan. The gourmet beef burger, which is not tucked away on a separate kiddies' menu, but features proudly between the duck breast and New York strip steak, is distinguished by garlic aïoli, mild cheddar, bacon, avocado and fries.

From Thursday to Saturday evenings Eat serves a four-course dégustation menu, including wine, for R450 per person.

Drinks

We are served four own-label wines, carefully selected to complement the flavours in each dish. Philippe has over the years established great partnerships with various wineries, and is able to offer high-end wines at affordable prices. Whether it's a rosé from the Swartland or an organic 2013 sauvignon blanc from Elgin – showing such depth and dimension that it is easy to mistake it for a French white – the wines are top quality at very affordable prices. Plans are underway to change the current bar, situated squarely in the middle of the restaurant, into a walk-in cellar for a much wider selection of wines.

Service

Chef Wagenführer has always had the ability to spot, nurture and eventually allow young talent to spread their own wings, mentoring and training several restaurant managers, sommeliers, wine stewards and waiters over the years. He is generous with his time and dedication, and has a passion for improving service standards in our industry. Even though service at Eat may currently be described as adequate, it should soon reach that level where guests feel pampered and spoiled from start to finish.

Ambience

The overall look is pale grey, modern and somewhat masculine, with the only concessions to décor one massive photo print of blood-red litchis and a two large modern canvasses. The tables are set with good white linen, and cutlery, crockery and glassware speak of refinement and attention to detail. A lovely outside area is hugely popular with locals, and the flow between outside and in makes for an elegant, semi-casual restaurant that just happens to serve top-quality, high-end cuisine.

And…

Responsible for great eateries in various parts of Johannesburg over the years, Philippe Wagenführer has established a strong reputation as a talented chef and restaurateur. In a time when dining out is more about running a business than spending time in front of the kitchen range, it's refreshing to sit down to a meal prepared by the master himself. Philippe's latest venture – and this time it's only him; no distractions or partnerships – is housed in a large space tucked into a corner of a smallish centre in Northcliff, where he's already directing an array of planned expansions that will include a cheese shop, butchery and bakery that will overlook the alfresco dining area.


 


 

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